Though one should stand by the mantra of loving one’s body unconditionally, stretch marks is a whole different thing. Dermatologically known as striae, stretch marks are nothing but scarred skin. Around 80% of women have these unsightly streaks on their bodies and those who have them wish that they wouldn’t. Reason being, though stretch marks diminish over a period of time, they do not disappear completely.
Have you too got stretch marks and are not fond of them? Is there a way out? What is the best treatment for stretch marks?
There are many creams or home remedies that people swear by. But medically, following treatment methods have shown promise and among these we will find the best stretch mark treatment.
Prescription Retinoid Creams
Prescription retinoid creams are also known as topical tretinoin. Tretinoin is another form of Vitamin A and helps rebuild collagen in skin. Most popular among these creams are Retin-A, Renova and Avita. These creams are proven to be effective in fading stretch marks that are just a few months old and are still red or pink in color.
Prescription retinoid is not effective in treating aged stretch marks. Also, topical tretinoin has been categorized by FDA as a known teratogen. In animal studies it is known to cause malformation in fetuses. There are not enough studies yet on its safety on humans during pregnancy. Therefore, using these creams is a strict no-no for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment
A recent study in the Dermatologic Surgery medical journal showed that pulsed dye laser treatment combined with radio frequency gave very good results in stretch mark treatment. In this laser treatment, energy from laser is absorbed by blood vessels lying underneath stretch marks. This leads to collapsing of these blood vessels and thus fading of stretch marks. Pulsed dye laser treatment pains very less, just like a pinch. The procedure is most effective on fresh stretch marks which are still red or pink in appearance.
Pulsed dye laser treatment cannot help in fading aged stretch marks. Also, use of this procedure has shown to increase pigmentation with repeated treatments in darker-skinned patients.
Non Ablative Fractional Laser Resurfacing
Non ablative fractional laser resurfacing is the newest approach to treating stretch marks. In this treatment, only a fraction of a stretch mark is worked on at a time. This fraction of scar is zapped by laser, leading to microscopic wounds. Body responds to these wounds by producing new collagen and epithelium in these areas leading to visible improvement in stretch marks. The procedure lasts for 3-5 sessions.
Fractional laser procedure comes with a few minor side effects which may last a few days. These include temporary redness, itching and swelling.
Common known as tummy tuck, abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure used for removing stretch marks from lower abdomen area. The excess skin and fat below the navel area are simply ‘cut’ and removed.
Tummy tuck carries a number of associated risks and can even leave scarring.
Microdermabrasion involves blowing crystal onto the skin using a hand-held device. These crystals scrub skin’s surface gently removing its topmost layer and polishing the newly exposed layer. A vacuum tube is used to clean up treated skin. As the topmost skin layer is removed, within a few days it is replaced by new and more elastic skin.
Recommended Best Treatment – Fractional Laser Resurfacing
Best stretch mark treatment is the one which can take care of all four of these factors – age of stretch marks, convenience of treatment, cost and proven results. On all of these accounts, fractional laser resurfacing treatment gives best results. This laser treatment is equally effective on old and new stretch marks. It can work on any part of the body, be it stomach, hips, arms, breasts or legs.