Stretch marks, also known as “Striae” or “Striae distensae”, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.. They begin as reddish or purple lesions, which can appear anywhere on the body, but are most likely to appear in places where larger amounts of fat are stored; the most common places are the abdomen (especially near the naval), breasts, upper arms, underarms, back, thighs (both inner and outer), hips, and buttocks. Over time, they tend to lose pigmentation.
They pose no health risk in and of themselves, and do not compromise the body’s ability to function normally and repair itself, however, they are often considered a cosmetic nuisance. Young women are generally affected the most and often seek treatment for them from a dermatologist and following pregnancy.
- Being female
- Having a personal or family history of stretch marks
- Being pregnant, especially for younger women
- Being overweight or obese
- Rapidly gaining or losing weight
- Using corticosteroid medication/steroid creams
- Undergoing breast enlargement surgery
- Having Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan syndrome or certain other genetic disorders
- Have a family member with stretch marks
Although it may not always be possible to prevent stretch marks since there is no high quality evidence that topical oils and creams can prevent them, the best way to reduce your chance of getting them is by maintaining a healthy weight.
During pregnancy you’ll gain weight over a relatively brief period. Work with your doctor to avoid rapidly gaining too much by eating well and exercising regularly. Aim for slow and gradual weight gain during pregnancy.
This not only minimises stretch marks but also is healthy for you and your baby.
HOW WE CAN HELP
No treatment can make stretch marks disappear completely, however, we at Savant can help reduce the appearance of them.
- Self-tanner: Tanning will not get rid of stretch marks as they don’t tan, therefore they will become more noticeable. While tanning can make stretch marks more noticeable, a self-tanner can camouflage stretch marks — both early and mature ones. A self-tanner cannot get of rid of stretch marks. Call us to book your tanning session.
- Retinoid (often called tretinoin) creams, derived from Vitamin A, or hyaluronic acid – these may help if used on new stretch marks, but you should not use retinoid creams if you’re pregnant. Consult with our Savant specialists on which products are right for you.
- Microdermabrasion involves polishing the skin with tiny crystals to reveal new skin that’s under the more elastic stretch marks. Microdermabrasion can improve the appearance of older stretch marks by removing a fine layer of skin.
- Chemical peels that remove the top layers of your skin to remove dead and damaged cells and boost new skin growth.
- Radiofrequency uses radio wave energy to create heat and trigger your body to make collagen. One small study found this treatment is safe and can improve stretch marks, but scientists need to do more research.
- Ultrasound works a lot like radiofrequency treatments. The procedure sends sound waves deep into your skin to heat and tighten and jumpstart collagen production.
- Light and laser therapies – A variety of light and laser therapies are available to help stimulate the growth of collagen or elastin in your skin. Your doctor can help you determine which technique is appropriate for you.
- Topical products that contain Cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, vitamin E oil, and other moisturising ingredients; These natural creams can make your skin feel softer, but it isn’t clear if they help or prevent stretch marks. Please consult your Savant specialist to find out which products are best for your concern.
We recommend having a consultation prior to the treatment, where our highly experienced Savant Specialists will assess the areas you wish to treat and generate a bespoke treatment plan for you.
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