Stretch marks are skin streaks or scars that develop due to degeneration of the skin from overstretching. This can occur during pregnancy, puberty, weight gain and exercise and may develop on your waist, hips, thighs, breasts and arms. Stretch marks vary in color depending on the color of your skin. They are usually red or purple initially then gradually fade to a pale silvery color. Although stretch marks are not dangerous, they can be unpleasant and disfiguring causing anxiety and affecting your quality of life.
New and innovative treatments for stretch marks include mesotherapy, laser therapy, chemical peels and platelet rich plasma.
Mesotherapy involves the injection of specific medication into the middle layer of skin (mesoderm) where fat and connective tissue is present. The injection consists of special medications, vitamins and plant extracts that destroy fat cells preventing the skin from over stretching and encouraging new skin growth. Mesotherapy works best on new or developing stretch marks. The injections are painlessly delivered with a special device called a meso-gun which uses a very fine needle. Eight to ten sessions are recommended depending on the extent of your stretch marks.
Laser therapy is another effective treatment for stretch marks. It involves the administration of short pulses of light of a particular wavelength and frequency that stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, necessary proteins for skin repair. Two types of lasers are effective against stretch marks. The pulsed dye laser helps with new stretch marks while fractional lasers are useful against old silvery ones. Fractional lasers create tiny holes in the skin encouraging new skin formation. You may experience slight discomfort during the procedure followed by some redness and swelling afterwards which is normal and short lived. A few sessions may be necessary for noticeable improvement.
Chemical peels can also improve the appearance of stretch marks. This therapy involves the careful application of certain acidic chemicals that cause the outer layer of dead and damaged skin to peel off exposing the healthier skin below. Besides stretch marks, it can also improve fine lines, wrinkles and other scars. Repeat sessions spread out over a few months may be necessary for ideal results. Chemical peels are a potent form of treatment and usually require a slightly longer recovery period.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy or PRP is an emerging treatment in health care to rejuvenate your skin by stimulating collagen, the main component of connective tissue. It has shown promising results when treating stretch marks, fine lines and wrinkles. PRP is processed from one’s own blood and administered to the areas to be treated under anesthesia. It is injected into the tissue as well as applied topically. Two to three monthly sessions are required for ideal results.