Stretch Marks

Stretch Mark Treatment

We probably all have stretch marks somewhere on our body.  Most of the time, stretch marks occur during a rapid growth spurt during puberty or as a result of rapid weight gain or loss. Women sometimes develop stretch marks as a result of pregnancy and weight fluctuations.  If you have stretch marks, there are now some non-surgical treatments that you may find beneficial.  Stretch marks are called striae distensae by physicians as they are typically due to a stretching of the skin that results in damage to the dermis.  Depending on the collagen content of the skin, the rate at which the skin expands, and the depth of tissue damage; stretch marks can be transient or permanent.  In our Santa Monica office, we see patients with bright red stretch marks that are fairly recent or white stretch marks with noticeable damage to the deep dermis. 
 

Defining Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are first seen as tears in the skin.  Initially, when stretch marks first form, they may appear bright red or purple in color with a change in the texture of the skin.  These stretch marks evolve with time, ultimately becoming lighter in color, or sometimes darker in color with associated hyperpigmentation. The most common reasons to develop stretch marks includes weight gain, rapid growth spurts during puberty, pregnancy, and ingestion of steroids or prednisone.  When you look at a stretch mark on the skin, you will often notice that the skin appears indented, with a shiny appearance to the skin along the stretch mark. This textural change often signifies permanent damage to the dermis of the skin. 

Q: Can Stretch Marks be Treated? 
A: Most people think that stretch marks are not treatable, mainly because in the past there were few available treatment options for stretch marks.  For decades, plastic surgeon would often recommend a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty if a patient had severe stretch marks on the lower abdomen.  With the advent of new fractional lasers such as the Fractional CO2 laser available at the Santa Monica Vein Center and the office of Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian, options are now available. 

Q: Can Ematrix be used for stretch marks? 
A: For those patients who desire a fractional treatment but are opposed to laser resurfacing, the Ematrix is an excellent option for stretch marks. Ematrix uses bipolar fractional RF to target the deep dermis and stimulate collagen production. The benefits of Ematrix over laser resurfacing is the decrease in downtime and skin recovery. 

Q: How does Plato's Dark Scar Corrector help with stretch marks? 
A: Plato's Medicinals Dark Scar Corrector utilizes a combination of non-HQ skin lighteners to lighten darkly discolored stretch marks on the skin. Some stretch marks have a surrounding area of pigmentation that results from PIH.  Using Plato's Dark Scar Corrector can help improve surface pigment seen with hyperpigmented stretch marks. The Plato's Dark Scar Corrector can also be used alongside laser treatments to minimize laser-associated pigmentation. 
 
Stretch mark treatments available at Kare Plastic Surgery and Skin Health Clinic can provide you with options for cosmetic improvement of striae on the abdomen, flanks, hips, and thighs.  The Fractional CO2 laser provides optimal laser energy to tighten stretch marks and improve surface texture. Fractional CO2 laser can be used alone, in combination with Ematrix fractional RF, and chemical peels to help improve stretch marks. Mild stretch marks can also be improved with topical treatments including retinoids (Replenish CX), Melarase creams, and Plato's Scar Serum. 

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