Stretch Mark Removal
Stretch marks or Striae Distensae are a particular type of skin scarring. They occur as a result of dermal damage and excessive skin stretching. This happens after repetitive stretching and stress is placed on the skin.
Affecting individuals across all genders and races, stretch marks can cause significant psychological distress and negatively impact self-esteem.
Although there are various treatment for stretch marks, there is no single modality that will effectively treat stretch marks to date. Stretch mark removal treatment options include:
- Topical medication
- Chemical peels
- Pulsed Dye Lasers
- Fractional Ablative laser
- Fractional Pico-second laser
- Fractional Micro-needle RF
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are a fairly common skin condition. It affects areas that undergo repetitive stretching. Stretch marks result in scarring at the dermal level, and atrophy (loss of skin cells) at the epidermal level. Although it does not result in any medical problems, stretch marks cause much distress to those affected by it.
Some groups are more susceptible to stretch marks more than others. During pregnancy, common areas affected include the abdomen and breast, whereas male bodybuilders commonly get stretch marks on their shoulders. Adolescents who experience rapid growth during puberty may develop stretch marks at the thighs and backs. Overuse of some topical medications e.g. steroids may also result in striae distensae.
Stretch marks may first start to appear pink in colour, then turn reddish (Striae Rubra) and finally overtime it lightens (Striae Alba). Striae rubra become apparent for about 4 months, while straie alba may start to appear for many months to years later.
Stretch Marks Removal Treatments
Stretch marks removal treatment takes into account the following:
- Type of Striae Distensae e.g. striae rubra or striae alba
- Skin Phototype. Individuals with darker skin colour should select treatments that are safer.
- Pre-existing skin condition
- Affected area involved
Despite the various treatment options available, the treatment of stretch marks remain a challenge. A customised treatment approach that takes into consideration your stretch mark subtype, your skin type and goals in mind are integral in planning the best stretch marks removal treatment for you.
Early Stretch Marks Removal (Striae Rubra) Treatment
For early stretch marks, prescription retinoids based creams can be given to improve the skin surface cell turnover rate.
Pulsed Dye Lasers uses a specific wavelength can target the redness of early stretch marks and stimulate collagen growth and repair. The 585-595nm vascular laser wavelength is specific for the haemoglobin that is responsible for giving the reddish appearance in striae rubra.
Mild redness and bruising can be expected after your laser treatment. This usually subsides in about 5-8 days. Repeated treatments of laser stretch marks removal tend to give better results.
Mature Stretch Marks Removal (Striae Alba) Treatment
The goal here is to rebuild collagen and elastin in the dermal layer of the skin. There are various ablative and non-ablative laser and energy-based devices treatment that can do this.
Having performed thousands of fractional treatments in individuals of all skin types, Dr Ng believes that fractional devices has the advantage of shorter downtimes, higher safety profile and lesser risks of side effects.
Over time, new collagen is formed, skin is strengthened and skin texture improves. Typically 4-6 treatment sessions will give the best results. Treatment procedure is comfortable, safe for all skin types and is associated with little downtime.
A consultation and a medical examination of your skin is the first step to help determine the right treatment for you.
A consultation helps us understand your concerns, and with your goals in mind, to choose the most suitable treatment for your particular skin type and condition. Any contraindications, treatment concerns and potential side effects will be discussed during the visit.
After your treatment, collagen and elastin stimulation, re-organization and remodelling occurs. This natural healing process occurs over a period of 6 months and beyond.
Expect some redness and mild swelling that subsides within 5-7 days. You are advised to use gentle moisturizers and avoid direct intense sun exposure for at least 2 weeks after your stretch mark treatment.
Fractional treatments are associated with faster healing and shorter downtimes. Moreover, fractional treatments are safer in individuals with darker skin type, reducing the chance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
In general, at least 4-6 treatment sessions are needed. The time interval between your treatment sessions are 4-6 week apart. The total number of treatment sessions would depend on the severity of your stretch marks, the response to treatment and your skin condition.
The price per session depends on the extent of area to be treated. Fractional Pico-second laser is from ~ $650 per session, multi-session treatment programmes are available.
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