Stretch Marks or Striae

Stretch marks are a form of scarring on the skin with a silvery-white hue (when they are new they can appear pink, red or a purple colour). They are caused by tearing of the dermis and over time can diminish but not disappear completely.

Stretch marks are the result of the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth (common in puberty) or weight gain (e.g. pregnancy) that overcomes the dermis' elasticity. Although stretch marks are generally associated with pregnancy and obesity, they can also develop during rapid muscle growth. They first appear as reddish or purple lines, but tend to gradually fade to a lighter colour. The affected areas appear empty and soft to the touch.

Stretch marks occur in the dermis, the resilient middle layer that helps the skin retain its shape. No stretch marks will form as long as there is strong support within the dermis. Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, but are most likely to appear in places where larger amounts of fat are stored. Most common places are the abdomen (especially near the belly-button), breasts, upper arms, underarms, thighs (both inner and outer), hips, and buttocks. They pose no health risk in and of themselves, and do not compromise the body's ability to function normally and repair itself.

Stretch marks located in the most inconvenient locations can ruin your best efforts at looking good. They can dramatically affect how you feel about yourself and your appearance; especially at summertime when you head for the beach.

In Office therapies:

Stretch marks have always been a problem to treat as no single treatment modality has seemed to be a success.

We are pleased to announce the success of a miracle treatment called Carboxytherapy. Medical grade Carbon Dioxide is introduced into the dermis (where the stretch marks are located) via a small needle. The body interprets this as an oxygen deficit and responds by increasing blood flow to the area. This in turn stimulates an increase in certain growth factors that encourage the production of new blood vessels which provides a surge of oxygen and nutrients to the treated area and improves circulation with increased oxygen concentration and long term collagen stimulation leading to a strengthened dermis, a very necessary component for healthy, stretch mark resistant skin. After 6 treatments, the appearance of stretch marks is markedly improved. Very severe cases may need additional treatment. Carboxytherapy is more effective on newer stretch marks which are still red. These are treated once a week (or every 2 weeks) for a minimum of six sessions. Older stretch marks need six to eight treatments at 3 to 4 weekly intervals. Carboxytherapy is an excellent treatment for stretch marks post pregnancy as there are no side effects and the patient can continue breast feeding safely.

Home therapies:

At Body Renewal we offer traditional topical home therapies such as:

  • Dr Duve Activating Cellulite Gel. Although marketed as a cellulite treatment, Dr Duve gel is extremely active and encourages increased blood circulation as well as encouraging skin tightening.

Additional therapies for Stretch marks at Body Renewal include:

  • Laser Genesis which has been clinically proven to produce collagen.
  • Dermaroller Skin needling which is equivalent if not superior to Fraxel (fractionated) laser treatments.
  • Dermapen skin needling
  • Mesotherapy of Dermaheal growth factors.

As each patient's case is different; we will tailor a treatment program specifically for you and your circumstances. A highly professional team led by a medical doctor assesses every patient and an appropriate combination treatment, together with long a term maintenance program is recommended. The new concept today is to start with Carboxytherapy treatments early so as to improve and strengthen the collagen support structures of the dermis. The effects of Carboxytherapy treatments are accumulative.

Body Renewal Tip:

Carboxytherapy can also be used for stretch marks on the breasts with an added benefit of modest breast lifting as the newly produced collagen remodels and tightens 3 months down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Stretchmarks post pregnancy is very common and something we see often at our clinics. We have several treatments available to reduce these stretchmarks. The newer they are, the better. So purple ones should be fairly easy to treat. It is when they go white or silvery that it gets more challenging. Treatment would include Carboxytherapy, Laser Genesis and Skin Needling , all focused on stimulating new collagen in the area. A course of treatments, between 6-8, are needed to achieve the desired results, and can be done twice a month. I would recommend a consultation with one of our Skin Renewal Doctors, so that they can analyse the area and make their recommendations.

The best treatment for stretchmarks are combination therapy that stimulates the collagen in that area. Results are achieved when stretchmarks are still new and a pink/purple colour. Once they have turned white we can improve them but might never be able to remove them completely. A combination of laser treatments with skin needling will be the best option. With regards to the acne it is important to put her on a skin care range for acne and a zinc supplement for healing as well as a supplement that will reduce internal inflammation. It is important for her to not ‘pick’ at her skin. A diet where she cuts out inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar will also assist in preventing acne.

Lets start with the stretch marks. Unfortunately this is something many of our patients struggle with. Stretch marks essentially are tars in the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin. So nothing that you apply topically will make a difference. Using something like olive oils etc, will help prevent more from forming, but the damage in the deeper layers have been done. The PRP and micro needling treatments are definitely a very good treatment option, BUT you have to remember that collagen (the protein that now needs to fix the problem) take 3 to 6 months to be produced, also 1 session will hardly be enough to produce sufficient amounts of collagen. So, my advice would be to continue with treatments (minimum of 4-6 treatments) and wait at least 3-6 months to see results. Due to your dark skin type, beautiful as it is, is does produce lots of melanin (pigment), so every little trauma , be that a breakout, scrape of scab, your body will try and repair itself and the best way it knows how is to produce more melanin. Unfortunately nothing will make you body stop producing melanin, BUT we can put you on pigment inhibiting ingredients to reduce the speed and quality being produced. Skin block is of cause the nr 1 treatment for dark patches and pigmentation as the skin get traumatised by unprotected sun exposure (this in turn creating more melanin). I would recommend Heliocare 360 range. This sunblock does not only protect you from UVA and UVB but also visible light and infra-red light. this can be used daily and is available at all Skin Renewal branches as well as the Skin Renewal online skin shop. When is comes to lightening of the entire body... there is now real way this can be done. The colour of our skin is our genetics and we cannot change that. We can however do Vit C and Glutathoin Iv's to brighten the complexion and give you a lighten/softened skin tone. 

Marks left on the skin after an acne breakout is commonly known as PIH, Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. These pigmentation spots form due to the inflammatory response that occurred in the area. The good news is that these marks are quite easy to treat as this pigment normally lies superficially in the skin. There are 3 steps to treating these spots ; 1. Daily use of an SPF 50, unprotected sun exposure will induce more pigment to form and the spot may become darker. We recommend Heliocare 360, this SPF will not only protect your skin from UVA and UVB, but also from visible and infra-red light. 2. We need to speed up your cellular turnover rate, to get the pigment out. This can be done by the use of exfoliating ingredients such as Retinol or AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). 3. We need to ensure that the pigment cells don’t produce any more pigment. This is done by the use of pigment suppressing ingredients. So, in a nut shell we need to Protect, Exfoliate and Suppress.

The Neostrata Enlighten range will suit your skin, not only is the main ingredients in this range pigment suppressors, but is also contains AHA’s and Retinol to speed up the cellular turnover. I would also recommend that you visit a Skin Renewal branch, one of our Medical professionals can do a thorough skin analysis and also make their recommendation with regards to homecare products as well as in clinic treatments, such as chemical peel, laser therapy as well as skin needling.

 

As for the stretchmarks, when our bodies go through sudden weight gain or weight loss, our dermis (the deeper layer of our skin) tear and this shows as stretchmarks on the skin. We need to increase collagen production in the area to rebuild the dermis again. Carboxy therapy is an excellent treatment option for this as it encourages collagen induction in the area. Carboxy can be combined with Laser genesis to improve the appearance of the skin in the area. Skin Needling is also a good option to stimulate new collagen production by releasing certain growth factors and encouraging our bodies own wound healing response. It is important to note that multiple sessions may be needed to get the desired result. I would recommend that you visit one of the Skin Renewal branches to have a thorough consultation, from there we can customize a treatment plan for your needs and budget.

 

Stretch marks are a form of scarring on the skin with a silvery-white hue. They are caused by tearing of the dermis and over time can diminish but not disappear completely. Stretch marks are the result of the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth (common in puberty) or weight gain (e.g. pregnancy) that overcomes the dermis’ elasticity. Although stretch marks are generally associated with pregnancy and obesity, they can also develop during rapid muscle growth. They first appear as reddish or purple lines, but tend to gradually fade to a lighter colour. The affected areas appear empty and soft to the touch.

Carboxytherapy, is a novel way of treating stretch marks. Heated medical Carbon Dioxide is introduced into the dermis via a small needle. The body interprets this as an oxygen deficit and responds by increasing blood flow to the area. An increase in certain growth factors encourages production of new blood vessels which provides a surge of oxygen and nutrients to the treated area and improves circulation with increased oxygen concentration and long term collagen stimulation leading to a strengthened dermis, a very necessary component of healthy, stretch-mark-resistant skin. After 4 to 6 treatments, the appearance of stretch marks is markedly improved. Carboxytherapy is more effective on newer stretch marks which are still red. These are treated once a week for two to four weeks. Older stretch marks need six to eight treatments at 3 to 4 weekly intervals. Carboxytherapy is an excellent treatment for stretchmarks post pregnancy as there are no side effects and the patient can continue breast feeding safely.

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