Stretch marks, also known as striae distensae, are streaky discolorations that occur when your skin’s subjected to stress that either contracts or stretches it very quickly. Stretch marks can develop when you’re pregnant, have a growth spurt, or gain or lose weight rapidly.
About 90% of pregnant women develop stretch marks, usually along the abdomen. Approximately 70% of tween and teen girls and 40% of adolescent males develop stretch marks, too.
People of any race, gender, and age can develop stretch marks. However, they tend to be more visible on pale skin, and occur most often in adolescent or adult females. You’re more likely to develop stretch marks if you have excessive adrenal cortical activity.
Dr. Stephen O’Connell and our dedicated team at Serenity Rejuvenation Center treat stretch marks in our Bellevue, Washington, office. Here, Dr. O’Connell explains how we diminish the appearance of stretch marks, and offers concrete advice on how to prevent their recurrence.
Stretch marks are a sign that your skin was traumatized and healed imperfectly, just as with any type of scar. In this case, the skin was stretched past its elastic capacity. Stretch marks aren’t always a product of fat gain — even building muscle quickly can cause them.
You’re more likely to develop stretch marks if they run in your family. Both Cushing’s disease and Marfan syndrome increase your susceptibility to stretch marks. Also, using topical corticosteroids for a prolonged time can create stretch marks on your skin.
Most stretch marks fade in color over time and become less noticeable. However, they may not fade completely and you may be distressed by their appearance in the meantime. Most home remedies work imperfectly, and only have an effect on newer stretch marks.
You can try using over-the-counter stretch mark remedies on fresh stretch marks. Be sure to massage the lotion or cream in well, as the massaging can help increase efficacy. Be warned, however, that it typically takes weeks of daily applications before you see results.
Ingredients which appear to be helpful for new stretch marks include tretinoin, retinol, and hyaluronic acid (HA). Tretinoin and retinol are retinoids that help your skin turn over cells more quickly, increasing its health. Hyaluronic acid plumps up the skin with moisture, making scars less noticeable.
As with all scars, stretch marks are a sign of damaged skin. The collagen and elastin fibers that keep your skin strong and pliable are torn and disconnected. The remedy, then, is to strengthen the damaged skin with new collagen and elastin.
We recommend Cynosure’s Potenza™ radiofrequency (RF) microneedling for stretch marks, scars, and many other types of skin damage, including aging skin. Potenza is a revolutionary new type of RF microneedling device that allows deeper penetration into the skin’s layers for maximal results.
In addition to creating deeper wound channels than previous types of microneedling devices, Potenza also pushes air downward into the channels, forcing nourishing topical serums deep into the skin. It’s also the first microneedling system that combines monopolar and bipolar RF energy at up to 2MHz frequencies in a single device.
The tiny, insulated needles break up the disordered collagen and elastin and stimulate the production of new proteins. The heat from the RF energy induces tissue coagulation. Just one treatment may be enough to fade new stretch marks. If your stretch marks are older, however, you may need a series of treatments.
Life happens, and so does pregnancy, muscle building, and weight gain. The better you treat your skin, however, the better able it is to withstand the pressures of stretching.
Even though massaging your skin with oils doesn’t seem to prevent stretch marks, using HA-containing remedies might. Another ingredient that may make skin more flexible is the herb centella.
Also be sure to avoid the sun’s damaging rays. Anything that breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin, as UVA and UVB rays do, makes it more susceptible to stretch marks.
Are you ready to fade your stretch marks and improve the health of your skin with Potenza? Call our team today at 425-644-5560 for a stretch marks treatment, or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment any time.