Stretch marks can be unsightly and unpleasant and in some cases, they can also be itchy and cause irritation. If your stretch marks are affecting your confidence or comfort, a stretch marks treatment could be the solution for you.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are a type of scar that appears on the skin when the body has changed shape rapidly. They are long, wiry lines, stripes or streaks, which are a different texture to your healthy skin. They can be pink, red, brown, black, grey or purple.
Over time, this colour usually brightens and fades, though many stretch marks never disappear completely. They are extremely common and harmless, though they can feel itchy or sore, and many people do not like the way they look.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused by rapid and sudden changes in the size and shape of your body. When your body grows at a normal, steady pace, the connective tissue in the middle layer of your skin (known as the dermis) stretches gradually over a long time, and no scars will appear. However, when the body grows or shrinks rapidly, the connective tissue stretches quickly and suddenly and is tugged beyond the limits of its elasticity.
As a result, the dermis can tear, which leads to the formation of stretch marks. This sudden change in the size and shape of your body can occur when you gain or lose weight too quickly. However, the appearance of stretch marks on your skin does not necessarily mean that you are overweight; pregnant people, adolescents who are rapidly growing, those with a family history of stretch marks, and people who use corticosteroid creams and pills may also develop stretch marks.
Additionally, people with high levels of cortisone in their systems are more prone to having stretch marks. Cortisone is a hormone that is produced by your adrenal glands and which manages inflammation in the body. However, when it appears at high levels, cortisone can make your skin lose its elasticity, which leads to the formation of stretch marks.
Where Do Stretch Marks Usually Appear?
Stretch marks can appear on any region of the body, however, they are most commonly found on the stomach, chest, arms, legs, hips, back or buttocks. They can usually be found on and surrounding the pregnancy bump during and after pregnancy, where the skin has rapidly grown to accommodate the baby.
Tixel is an advanced and award-winning treatment for the rejuvenation and tightening of worn-out skin. The stretch marks treatment clears away scars (as well as other skin imperfections, such as wrinkles or sagginess) via the use of Thermo-Mechanical Ablation Technology. This means that the treatment uses heat energy to erase stretch marks and other lines and marks to revitalise and brighten the skin. The procedure is named after the apparatus which is used, called the Tixel device.
This is a small, portable instrument with a titanium tip. Heat energy is transferred to the skin by gently pressing the tip against its surface, which breaks down the cells on the outer layer of the skin, thereby removing the stretch marks that exist on that layer. The skin then heals naturally, as a clear, healthy layer of skin grows in the place of the old one.
Microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment used to treat stretch marks and other scars, such as acne scarring. During the procedure, microneedles are used to create tiny holes in the outermost layer of the skin (called the epidermis) in the region where the stretch marks are.
This activates your body’s natural healing response, as your body will begin to produce more collagen and elastin (two hormones that improve the elasticity, tightness and health of your skin) in order to heal the tiny wounds on the surface of your skin. In doing so, the excess collagen and elastin will also start to heal the wounds in the connective tissue in the dermis, which will remove your stretch marks and create a new layer of clear, bright and healthy skin.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy clears away stretch marks by activating the body’s natural ability to heal and repair itself. Plasma is the liquid component of your blood, whilst platelets are the part of your blood that serve to support cell growth and help your blood to clot when it needs to heal a wound. In other words, platelets naturally encourage healing.
During PRP, a blood sample is taken from a patient and placed into a centrifuge, where it is spun around, which causes the different components of the blood to separate out from one another. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected back into the patient, where it begins prompting the body to heal the scars and stretch marks that line the skin.
At Aventus Clinic, we offer three treatments for the removal of stretch marks: Tixel, Microneedling Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy. You can read all about these three procedures above. If you are unsure which stretch marks treatment is right for you, one of our specialists can offer you advice and guidance during a pre-treatment consultation.
It is not always possible to prevent the formation of stretch marks. However, the best way to do so is to lose weight safely and healthily. You can do this by exercising regularly and eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. Eat food that is as unprocessed as possible, and which includes lots of vegetables of various colours. Including Vitamin C in your diet will also help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles, as this plays a key role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of your skin.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges and tangerines, as well as peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants and broccoli, are all good sources of Vitamin C. Finally, it is important to drink lots of water, as this helps your skin to retain its moisture and softness, and stretch marks are far less likely to form on healthy, hydrated skin than dry, thirsty skin.
Yes, men can get stretch marks. This can occur when men rapidly gain or lose weight, or when weight training causes rapid muscle growth. Adolescent men can develop stretch marks during puberty when they experience growth spurts, whilst men who regularly use corticosteroid lotions are also more likely to get stretch marks.
All of our treatments for the removal of stretch marks are effective. In fact, patients who choose our microneedling treatment generally expect to see immediate results, whilst those who select Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy will see the effect of the procedure after 2-3 sessions. Those who choose the Tixel treatment will see results after a few weeks have passed following their third or fourth treatment, and this look will last for years.
Patients who opt for the Tixel or Microneedling treatments to remove their stretch marks will experience redness at the treatment site for up to 48 hours following the procedure. However, this will fade after that period of time has passed. Microneedling may also cause some swelling or tenderness at the treatment site, but this will also disappear within 48 hours. Finally, patients may experience redness, swelling, soreness or bruising at the injection site following PRP, but this will subside after 1 or 2 days following the treatment.
The number of stretch mark treatments that you require will depend on the size and number of your scars, and one of our specialists will discuss this with you during your consultation. Generally speaking, patients who opt for a Tixel Treatment will require 3-4 separate Tixel treatments, whilst patients who select microneedling will need 1-6 sessions, and patients undergoing PRP will require 3-6 sessions.