What It is
Stretch marks are extremely common and are the result of the sudden stretching of the skin that causes the skin to lose its elasticity over a short period of time. Stretch marks appear as long, narrow stripes and lines on the skin and although they can develop on anyone, they are more common in women than men. Stretch marks occur in the dermis layer of the skin, which is one of the deepest levels of the skin and helps the skin retain its shape.
There are two different types of stretch marks that appear as either red or white. Newer stretch marks are usually red or purple in colour, while older stretch marks look white or silver-toned. Newer stretch marks appear red or purple due to the exposure of blood vessels through the teared dermis. Older stretch marks have a white or silver-toned appearance due to the contraction of blood vessels over time and the underlying pale subcutaneous fat that becomes exposed. You may notice that stretch marks feel different than the surrounding skin, and may feel depressed or indented.
Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, but mostly occur in the abdomen, breasts, arms, back and thighs. They tend to occur when the skin cannot return to its normal shape after a period of intense growth and change, which can occur for a variety of reasons including pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, and puberty. Stretch marks may gradually reduce in appearance over time, although this can often take years. Stretch marks do not pose any serious health threats or long-term risks, but they are often a large cosmetic concern that can affect one’s self-image and confidence.
How It’s Treated
Fractional Laser – This laser procedure is effective if you are looking to reduce the appearance of older, paler stretch marks. It is currently one of the only FDA approved device for the removal of scars and stretch marks.
PDL 595 Laser – Pulsed dye lasers are one of the best options for the treatment of newer, young stretch marks that are red in appearance. For best results, this treatment should be started as early as possible. It is safe, effective, and has minimal risks involved during treatment.
Microdermabrasion – This treatment is effective when treating newer stretch marks that appear red or purple in colour.
Microneedling and Platelet Rich Plasma – This combination of treatments are effective for minimizing the appearance of stretch marks by working to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which will result in newer, thicker, and smoother skin.