With dramatic weight gain, pregnancy and growth spurts, it is typical that the tearing of the dermis (the middle layer of skin) occurs. Abnormal collagen formation resulting from medication can also cause tearing. This affects the top layer of skin and results in the formation of stretch marks. Also known as striae, stretch marks can measure several centimetres long. They first appear as red or purple lines that may be indented. They may also have a different texture from the surrounding unaffected skin and be itchy. As time passes, these lines typically fade to a pale white so that they are less noticeable. However, they can still be visible because they do become paler than the surrounding skin.
Stretch marks are common in areas that tend to expand, either by fat or muscle. These include the breasts, abdomen, upper thighs and buttocks as well as the upper arms/shoulders.
There are treatments available, particularly with lasers, which can help improve stretch marks, however, no treatment can yet make a stretch mark go all the way back to looking like totally normal skin. We can reduce red stretch marks, diminish white marks, improve the texture and make them look better, even in some cases so that you can't see them very easily, but stretch marks are still an area where we improve the problem but don't remove it. There are no 'perfect' treatments for stretch marks. A series of treatment sessions are usually needed to obtain the best results.
At Illuminesse, we combine laser treatments with microdermabrasion, chemical peels and Rx products for the best possible results.
Stretch marks that are recent, or pink, purple, red, or brown in color are the easiest to treat and have the highest success rate. Older, more mature stretch marks that have turned silver or white in color can be difficult to remove, but laser surgery can still reduce their appearance.
Darker skin colours are not good candidates for this particular laser treatment, as skin discolouration can occur. For darker skin, we recommend microdermabrasion and chemical peel treatments, along with Rx products to improve the appearance of stetchmarks.