Stretch Marks: Prevention and Elimination
How to Prevent and Eliminate Stretch Marks
Though stretch marks are no cause for alarm, they can be a serious impediment to your lifestyle, making it difficult for you go to the beach or a pool party, for example. If stretch marks have been bothering you for some time, now is the time to get treatment. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options that can help minimize them.
Stretch marks are a very common form of skin scarring, resulting from various causes such as pregnancy, puberty, and even muscle gain from bodybuilding. (Overall, pregnancy is the most common cause, especially during the last trimester.) These conditions may cause the dermis to stretch beyond its capacity.
The fibers in the dermis break, impeding collagen production and leaving visible scars. While some stretch marks disappear (or become less visible) on their own, in certain cases stretch marks will require treatment to remove them.
Some of the places where stretch marks occur include the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, and thighs. Nearly any place where high stress or rapid expansion occurs is subject to stretch marks.
Other factors may increase the risk for stretch marks:
- Genetics: for example, the daughter of a woman who experienced stretch marks following pregnancy is more likely to have stretch marks, as well. Females are also more prone to stretch marks in general.
- Breast enlargement surgery.
- Long-term use of oral or topical corticosteroids.
- People with darker skin due to ethnicity are less likely to have stress marks.
Topical and Basic Options
Generally, creams, lotions, and diet and exercise are recommended for stretch mark treatment. Unfortunately, they are not the best options for older people or those with well-developed stretch mark scars. In such cases, more involved treatment options are better.
Laser Stretch Mark Removal
With a stretch mark removal procedure, an excimer laser removes thin layers of skin around the stretch marks. Rather than burn or cut the affected area as with many other lasers, an excimer laser uses a high-powered ultraviolet light to disrupt molecular bonds in skin tissue, beginning a process known as tissue ablation.
Once the procedure is completed, the area will heal quickly and new layers of healthy skin form. The stretch marks will be gone, leaving you with a new layer of healthy skin. Every person’s stretch marks will respond differently to treatment. Particularly stubborn cases may need up to 10 treatments to completely remove stretch marks.
Recovery normally lasts only a few days, or up to a few weeks in certain cases. The area will be red and tender as the new skin begins to grow over the treated area. Sometimes, blistering and symptoms associated with a burn will be present temporarily.
Laser treatment is one of the most effective and safest treatment options. The excimer is handled by an expert with a precise hand, meaning there is a small chance for injury. It is also less invasive and less costly than other body sculpting procedures like tummy tucks.
A surgical stretch mark removal is the most reliable option to completely get rid of stretch marks: lasers and topical options may only fade or lessen them.
Currently, the only area of the body where stretch marks may be surgically removed is the stomach area. Known as an abdominoplasty, or more commonly as a “tummy tuck,” this procedure tightens the abdominal muscles, and removes any excess skin in the mid or lower abdominal region. The excess skin will be discarded along with the stretch marks. Candidates for this procedure are limited to patients in good health, who do not smoke, and have an excessive amount of skin around the stomach.
Have an Expert Take Care of Your Stretch Marks
If you are ready to take action against your stretch marks, you need a reliable, trustworthy surgeon to take care of you. A renowned plastic surgeon with impressive credentials, Dr. Gabriel Chiu is also renowned for his candid advice and sincere, warm approach with all of his patients.
But don’t take our word for it: Dr. Chiu’s patients have shown their appreciation for his care by giving him the Patients’ choice award for eight years in a row, from 2008 – 2015. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Chiu today to decide which treatment option will be right for you.