Stretch marks appear when the collagen under the skin tears due to rapid growth. From growth spurts to weight gain to pregnancy, stretch marks are caused by many reasons.
According to the estimates provided by Journal of Investigative Dermatology up to 80% of people are faced with stretch marks. Although they’re very common and completely healthy, many people feel self-conscious about their appearance when they have visible stretch marks. Luckily, there are ways to reduce their visibility and gain more confidence in your body.
1. Advanced Cosmetic Treatments
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Although certain home remedies can lighten the appearance of stretch marks, professional cosmetic treatments are much more effective, so we will discuss them first. In order to drastically reduce the visibility of stretch marks, you should consult a cosmetologist or cosmetic surgeon.
Some of the most effective procedures are radiofrequency skin resurfacing, a dermal filler injection, and platelet-rich plasma therapy. Don’t be intimidated by the names of these cosmetic treatments. The majority of them are non-invasive, pain-free procedures that can be completed in under a couple of hours.
Dr. Olga Bachilo, an experienced plastic surgeon from Houston TX, explains in detail on her official website the process of each procedure and results that patients get afterwards. Here is a breakdown of the main points for each treatment:
Radiofrequency Skin Resurfacing
Radiofrequency skin resurfacing is a non-invasive treatment that rejuvenates your skin by reducing wrinkles, lines, and surface imperfections. The treatment involves activating your body’s healing response by inserting small pins into the skin. Your body’s response is to produce more collagen which forms new, flawless skin tissue.
Skin resurfacing reduces stretch marks, but it also improves the overall texture and tone of your skin by lightening age spots and acne scars while softening wrinkles and lines. The treatment is painless and takes about 20 to 45 minutes. You can resume your regular skin care routine after 24 hours of treatment.
Dermal Filler Injection
A dermal filler injection is a treatment where a special dermal formula is injected into the skin. The injection promotes the natural production of collagen, a substance that creates firm, elastic skin. The injection works to plump up skin cells creating supple skin on the face and body.
Not only does the treatment reduce stretch marks, it also improves skin elasticity so future stretch marks don’t occur. The injection also fills wrinkles, creases, and fine lines caused by stress and skin aging.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy uses cutting edge research to create a regenerative treatment for damaged skin. During this treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma from your own blood is injected into your skin. PRP contains stem cells that promote the production of collagen and the creation of smoother skin while reducing the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles.
A small amount of blood is drawn and PRP is isolated from the sample. The PRP is then injected into specific areas. Some tenderness is common, but there is no down time required. You can expect subtle improvements immediately with drastic changes after a few days.
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The right diet can play a big role in lightening stretch marks and reducing their overall appearance. The key is eating food that promotes healthy, elastic skin by boosting your body’s natural ability to create collagen.
“Collagen-promoting foods include zinc-rich turkey and brazil nuts as well as foods with healthy fats such as salmon, avocado, sardines, and eggs,” — says Lana Kislyuk, the chef with more than a decade of experience and founder of Astral Catering — “balance these heavier foods with an abundance of legumes and fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Staying well hydrated is just as important as eating the right foods. Cut back on coffee and alcohol, opting instead for water and herbal teas. Hydrated cells make your skin look plump and supple, and work to help fade stretch marks.
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Exfoliation is when dry, dead skin cells are removed using an abrasive scrub, tool, or chemicals. Exfoliation can minimize the appearance of stretch marks by removing the older top layer to reveal undamaged skin underneath. The newer skin also better absorbs collagen-building moisturizers and serums.
Exfoliation can be done using a tool, scrub, or chemical peel. Pumice stones, dry bushes, and loofahs can all be used on their own to exfoliate the skin. Some people also choose to use abrasive scrubs using ingredients like coffee grounds, brown sugar, and crushed walnut shells. Chemical peels are also a popular way to exfoliate. Chemical scrubs use hydroxy acids and retinol to peel away old damaged skin and reveal young rejuvenated skin.
4. Retinoid Cream
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Another effective treatment for stretch marks is the use of retinoid creams. Retinol creams are medicinal creams derived from vitamin A. They are prescribed by dermatologists to help minimize skin aging, treat acne, and soothe damage caused by overexposure to the sun.
Retinoids help treat stretch marks by rebuilding collagen and strengthening your skin. The creams are especially effective when applied to stretch marks that are no more than a few months old. Retinoids can only be used after discussing treatment options with your doctor as they can have possible side effects when used by women who are pregnant or nursing.
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Moisturizers with vitamin A and E oils can have a similar effect as retinoids when applied to exfoliated skin. Moisturizers help to hydrate your skin, plump up skin cells, and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Not only can moisturizers be used to treat stretch marks, they can also help prevent them. By hydrating and increasing the moisture in your skin, moisturizers help keep your skin elastic and less prone to damage from tearing. Cocoa butter or shea butter act as the perfect base for moisturizers while avocado peptides, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone promote collagen production and better skin elasticity. Avoid synthetic fragrances by choosing creams that use natural essential oils as their fragrances.