Strech marks removal
Striae or the strech marks are easily recognisable pink or whitish, shriveled lines on certain parts of our body. The surface layer of the skin is unchanged while in deeper layers, collagen and elastin that give our skin firmness and elasticity, have become thin and torn. These are the permanently torn fibers of collagen and elastine.
In the beginning, striae are reddish, because in the transparent torn tissue the blood vessels can be seen, and in time the blood vessels contract and the striae become whitish and loose in volume.
How do striae occur?
- They often occur during pregnancy on the chest and the stomach. The reason is mostly hormonal, since during pregnancy hormones have a role to soften the collagen in order for the tissue to stretch more easily during child labor.
- Some women have a weaker collagen than the others, and so some women get striae during pregnancy and some do not.
- Bodybuilders often have striae since they are taking steroids.
- Adolescents get striae when they grow due to increased production of growth hormones and intense skin stretching.
- Large oscillations in weight cause a great hormonal disbalance and influence the tearing of the tissue.
How to prevent the striae from appearing?
There is no way. None of the creams and lotions on the market are proven as efficient. Striae are a permanent condition but after they appear they go through a period of skin remodeling which spontaneously reduces them to a permanent level. Creams with coconut oil are the most prescribed in the world, and they may be worth trying for prevention.
What treatments are available for striae?
Laser treatments are commonly recommended while striae are fresh. Unfortunately it is not known to what degree the newly formed striae would contract, and they definitely would. These treatments are really expensive and they don’t produce reciprocal effect. Fraxel is a laser that removes 1 mm of the skin and leaves 1mm intact, creating tissue abrasion in that way, and on the other hand the heat energy stimulates the production of collagen and elastine. The laser effect in this case is completely equal as in using chemical peeling, only that the acid stimulates collagen and elastine chemically, just as its removes the surface layer of the skin by changing its Ph value.
Mesotherapy can have an effect on the collagen and elastine thickening during the mechanical skin damage by the needle. The needle is placed along the whitish line of the striae. In the skin recovery process the sting activates the natural processes that increase the level of the new collagen and elastine. There is a lot of debate on how effective is the active substance used in mesotherapy. Newer cosmetic mixtures use hyaluronic acid, tretinoin, growth factors. More about mesotherapy read here.
Dermaroller therapy to remove strech marks has a similar effect as the mesotherapy.
Surgical method for removing strech marks is adequate only if the skin is damaged to the extent that it creates an excess of tissue that hangs.
Carboxytherapy is a method that significantly contributes to the increase of collagen and estrogen in the skin, which reduces the diameter of the torn fibers in the whitish lines of the striae.
The therapy consists of injecting medical carbon dioxide in the skin and in every single line of striae. Carbon dioxide places information in the organism that the skin is left without oxygen, in the next 3 hours and even up to 7 days, depending on the amount of gas injected. The oxygen that the body brings to the treated place enables the formation of new blood vessels and tissue regeneration. An extraordinary effect is achieved when the striae are fresh and still red in color, which enables up to 70% of improvement in the looks of striae. The results from the treatment are visible after the first treatment already but it is necessary to do a series of 8 treatments in order to give the skin enough time to form an adequate circulation and new cells on the treated places.
What to expect from the striae treatment?
If you expect progress in the appearance and quality of the skin where the striae are located, you won’t be disappointed by the treatments.
Unfortunately, today there is a lot of information about successfulness of the striae treatment and achievement of their complete concealment. These claims are incorrect. For now, only techniques that fix the looks of striae to some extent are mastered.
Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist