Skin stretched by rapid expansion due to pregnancy, weight gain, or extreme weight loss can result in a form of scarring called stretch marks, or “striae distensae”. Stretch marks generally form as reddish or purplish in color, and then fade to glossy silver or white hue. Stretch marks occur in the dermis. Stretch marks can form anywhere on the body, but mostly occur where larger amounts of fat form, such as the abdominal area, hips, breasts, upper arms, underarms, thighs (both inner and outer), hips, and buttocks. or lower back.
There are several types of procedures used to treat or fade stretch marks, including but not limited to the following:
* “Tummy tuck” – a surgical procedure where the skin below the navel is removed – this area of skin is where stretch marks frequently occur. This procedure is ideal for patients who had had dramatic weight loss and need removal of excess folds of skin.
* Dermabrasion – a procedure in where the outer layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) is scraped away using a hand-piece with an abrasive attachment. (Dermabrasion should not be confused with microdermabrasion, which is a gentler, less aggressive exfoliating treatment.)
* Fractional laser resurfacing – works by treating microscopic sections of the skin. During each treatment, the laser treats only small sections of the striae or stretch mark. Complete laser coverage is achieved over the course of several treatments. This leaves undamaged skin around each treated area to act as a barrier and a reservoir for rapid healing. Fractional Laser resurfacing leaves no open wounds, so there is no downtime for the patient. The body responds to each treatment by producing new collagen and epithelium.
* Relume Repigmentation Phototherapy – is a procedure used to treat stretch marks. Relume Repigmentation Phototherapy focuses concentrated ultraviolet-B (UVB) light onto the treatment area without exposure to the healthy surrounding tissue. The UVB light stimulates the production of melanin and melanocytes, so that the skin tone of the stretch marks blends in with the surrounding area.
* Lotions and Creams – various lotions and creams have had some success in prevention and reduction of stretch marks. Studies have shown that the daily application of lotions or creams containing Gotu Kola extract, vitamin E, and collagen hydrolysates can significantly reduce the chance of stretch mark formation. Presciption retinoids , such as retinaldehyde, tretinoin or isotretinoin, are used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Over-the-counter creams containing darutoside and registril – have been shown in independent clinical trials to be effective on stretchmarks resulting from all causes.