Treatment: Good in the early stages, the later the treatment time may be longer
Recovery: Difficult to go back as before, prevention is important.
Stretch marks appear after increasing a sudden height or weight on all over the body. Stretch marks aren't painful or harmful, so it is not necessary to be treated, but some people don't like the way they make their skin look.
What is ‘Stretch Marks’?
Stretch marks, also called ‘Expanded Striatum’, are lesions that appear when the skin suddenly swells due to pulling force from the sides or up and down, but it cannot withstand it and is torn. The epidermis is opened, and the dermis layer is visible. When it is torn from both sides, it takes the form of a vertical band, and when it is torn up and down, it takes the form of a horizontal band.
What caused Stretch marks?
The most common cause of stretch marks is rapid growing tall or gaining weight during the growing season or pregnancy. ‘Cushing’s Syndrome’, in which adrenocortical hormone is excessively increased and damaged the collagen and elastin fibers of the skin, is also one of the main causes of stretch marks.
Form of Stretch marks
Stretch marks are easy to understand when you consider the process of red scars that gradually heal and become white scars. In the early stage of the scar, the skin in just damaged and inflamed, and the dermis is swollen, and blood vessels are dilated, giving it a red color. Then the redness gradually disappears, and it changes to white and becomes bumpy. As time goes by, the skin loses its elasticity and sometimes turn into a wrinkled shape.
Stretch marks treatment methods
1. Laser treatment
The most effective way to treat stretch mark. Fractional lasers are mainly used, which use the principle of replacing damaged skin cells with normal cells by accelerating regeneration by making macroscopic wounds on the area.
2. Plasma treatment
Plasma flames can make microscopic holes in the skin surface to induce skin regeneration.
3. Needle RF treatment
Needle RF treatment causes collagen remodeling by generating high-frequency heat after penetrating a fine needle into the skin.
4. Vascular laser for the beginning stage
The beginning stage, red stretch marks usually are not deep, using vascular laser to remove redness, the condition improves well.
5. Growth factors: PDRN
PDRN such as various growth factors can promote the skin regeneration effects.
6. Tretinoin ointment
Tretinoin ointment, a vitamin A derivative ingredient, may be prescribed. It can also be used on acne scars to improve collagen regeneration.
Peeling is also helpful for improving stretch marks. Dr. Hyuna Kim, owner of Mokdong DongAn Clinic, said, “There are various of treatment methods like laser, plasma, needle RF, growth factors, ointments, peeling, etc. If you are afraid of laser treatment, only ointment can be used for the treatment, but the ointment only serves as an auxiliary method, it cannot be an alternative laser treatment.”
Stretch marks treatment duration
Dr. Kim points out the important factor of the treatment is the time when you have stretch marks. If you treat stretch marks in early stage, you can get better result. However, if you start your treatment when your stretch marks are white, it may increase the duration of treatment. You should get treatment as early as possible and select a treatment method considering whether it interferes with your daily life and the number of visits.
Dr. Kim said “The mechanism of laser is the role to hurts the skin, and the actual regeneration is from inside the skin reaction. This means that the interval or frequency of treatment is more important than the type of laser. You need to constantly stimulate the stretch marks with laser about once a month so your skin can keep making collagen.”
Prevention of Stretch marks
Most of patients expect stretch marks to clear up after treatment as if they never existed. But it cannot be because the epidermis does not regenerate. Therefore, it is the best to prevent stretch marks as much as possible before they occur.
Dr. Kim advised “If you don’t want stretch marks, you should have to manage it on a regular basis, so that you don’t gain weight. It is also good way to implement a diet to relieve stretch marks. Zinc and vitamin C help promote collagen regeneration, which is good for preventing stretch marks.” and “The most important thing is exercise. When the skin loses elasticity, it cannot withstand the tension. Therefore, if you exercise and improve skin elasticity, the chance of occurring stretch marks decrease. Another good way is to apply moisturizer, oil, or stretch marks cream on a regular basis, especially during pregnancy.”