What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks, also known as striae distensae or striae atrophicus, are scars caused by tears in the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers.
Hormonal changes, genetics, growth spurts, pregnancy, weight gain, and weight loss can all cause stretch marks. Generally speaking, stretch marks first appear on skin in the form of raised lines with a red, pink, or purplish color.
Stretch marks usually lose their color in six to twelve months, changing from red to white.
Stretch marks should be treated as soon as they appear, when laser procedures are much more effective. Red stretch marks are easier to remove with laser treatments than old scars or stretch marks that have already turned white.
Doctors in Lazeo centers encourage patients to seek laser treatment for stretch marks as soon as they begin to form. Lazeo centers offer expert aesthetic laser treatments. With nearly one decade of experience in aesthetic medicine treatments, Lazeo gives you the best of what laser technology has to offer.
What causes stretch marks to form?
- Rapid weight gain
- Rapid growth or stretching
- Use of oral steroids
- Ethnic origin – fair skin is more prone to developing stretch marks than dark skin.
How do they form?
Mechanical tension in rapidly expanding areas cracks the fibers in the dermis.
Stretch marks form in the dermis, the skin layer that contains conjunctive tissue. A stretch mark is a type of scar, forming when skin is stretched too quickly. This breaks up collagen and elastin, which makes skin more prone to breakage. As the skin heals, the color fades and leaves a white or beige line that replaces the previously red scar.
Stretch marks can appear on any area of the body.
Factors influencing stretch mark formation:
In most cases, stretch marks appear due to hormones that inhibit fibroblast synthesis. Fibroblasts are the cells that produce collagen and elastin, which are required to maintain elasticity when skin is growing rapidly.
When collagen and elastin synthesis decline, skin is weaker. When stretched, its fibers break apart.
Preventive measures during pregnancy
75% to 90% of women develop stretch marks to varying degrees during pregnancy. They generally appear during the sixth and seventh months, in the third trimester, when the skin is subjected to heavy stretching. Various oils, creams, and lotions are recommended to prevent stretch marks. However, the formation and texture of stretch marks are also influenced by genetic and hormonal factors.
What do stretch marks look like?
Initially, stretch marks look like red bands, stripes, or lines. They generally form when skin stretches quickly.
With time, stretch marks eventually look like white, linear scars, which replace the parallel red lines. At this later stage, stretch marks look like long, depressed scars with a different texture from that of normal skin.
Where do stretch marks generally form on the skin?
- The arms
- The hips
- The thighs
- Sides of the body
- Lower back
The various treatments to remove stretch marks
Stretch marks don’t cause any discomfort. They are, however, sometimes considered unattractive.
Treatment with retinoids and alphahydroxy acids only has a localized effect. Cosmetic and professional means that provide an exclusively localized effect cannot, unfortunately, fade away stretch marks that have already formed.
Surgical ablation can be performed, which involves removing excess skin as well as the skin areas affected by stretch marks.
For patients who do not want to undergo surgery and are looking for smooth skin, laser treatments are the most effective solution against stretch marks. In Lazeo centers, we offer stretch mark fading procedures that rely on extremely powerful lasers.
Fading stretch marks with the Fraxel Dual laser
The Fraxel Dual 1550/1927 laser opens up new possibilities for fading stretch marks, scars, and any major skin imperfection. This is a fractional laser with two wavelengths that allow for dual action. It’s been developed to rejuvenate skin and correct imperfections.
The main difference between the Fraxel Dual laser and previous Fraxel lasers is that the dual laser introduces a new 1927nm wavelength. That means that skin is affected by two lasers in a single treatment: the 1550nm laser wave treats the skin’s deep layers, which are difficult to access through most other methods, while the 1927nm wave rejuvenates the epidermis.
Using both lasers in a single treatment rejuvenates all skin layers. Many skin flaws can be corrected as a result, including red stretch marks and scars.
Today, Dual Fraxel is considered the most effective treatment for stretch marks, scars, and skin rejuvenation. The laser creates thousands of microscopic channels inside the skin, while the skin surrounding them remains intact. The body’s reaction to this is a sudden healing process that stimulates the synthesis of new collagen and new skin cells.
Are you looking for more information about this treatment? Make an appointment at one of our Lazeo centers today, anywhere in France!