What Causes Stretch Marks and How Can I Get Rid of Them?
Nearly 80% of people have stretch marks so if you are a human, it is likely that you are familiar with them. Despite the fact that the vast majority of the population has stretch marks, it doesn’t stop people from searching for ways to get rid of them. On average, Google sees 49,500 monthly searches for the phrase, “How to get rid of stretch marks?”
So while they are certainly not something to be ashamed of or something you should have to feel the need to get rid of, we do want to educate you on the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. There are no at-home products or in-office treatments that will get rid of stretch marks with 100% effectiveness. We do, however, offer a few procedures that will significantly reduce their appearance.
What are stretch marks?
A stretch mark is a type of scarring that develops when the skin stretches or shrinks rapidly. The abrupt change causes the elastin and collagen that supports the skin to rupture, and as the skin heals, stretch marks appear. Stretch marks are most likely to develop during these times:
- Puberty, and the resulting growth spurts
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Weight training and rapid muscle growth
Upon first appearance, stretch marks tend to be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on the color of your skin. Early on, they may feel slightly raised and can be itchy although this typically fades over time as the color fades and the narrow bands sink beneath the skin. If you run your finger over a mature stretch mark, you will most likely feel only a slight dip.
Laser therapy for stretch mark removal
During this procedure, concentrated rays of light are directed at the areas with stretch marks, stimulating the growth of new tissue, encouraging healing, and smoothing the scars. Stretch marks are easier to treat when they are newer (a red or pink color will indicate this) because it signals that there are working blood vessels in the skin which allow for quicker and more complete healing following a laser treatment. If stretch marks are older, they are typically harder to treat because of their lack of blood vessels, which indicates less collagen production.
There are two types of laser treatments used to treat stretch marks: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers remove the outer layer of skin, revealing newer, smoother skin underneath. They also trigger the production of collagen, helping to smooth the raised scars of stretch marks. Non-ablative lasers are gentler and don’t remove the top layer of skin. Instead, they stimulate collagen and elastin production, which helps the scars to heal and fade.
Unfortunately, laser treatments are not recommended for use on darker-skinned clients interested in removing stretch marks. Laser treatments on darker skin tones often result in hyperpigmentation or dark spots on the skin.
If you are interested in consulting with our skincare specialists, contact us today!