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Stretch Marks

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Stretch Marks_Beautifi

About Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, also known as striae, are a common skin condition that occurs when the skin is rapidly stretched or shrunk. Stretch marks are very common, and most often appear during or after pregnancy, or after sudden or rapid changes in weight. These marks may appear anywhere but are commonly found on the abdomen, thighs, hips, breasts, and buttocks. Stretch marks are not harmful but may be cosmetically bothersome for individuals. Cosmetic treatments such as skin needling, chemical peels, and other treatments, can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Commonly asked questions about Stretch Marks

1. What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are a type of scar that develops when the skin is abruptly stretched or shrinks quickly. The sudden stretch of skin beyond its elastic limit causes the collagen and elastin, supporting the skin, to rupture. This treating results in the formation of stretch marks. Stretch marks typically show up as bands of lines running across the skin and have a different colour & texture than the surrounding skin. They are harmless but can be unpleasing to one’s eye. Treatments can help to make stretch marks less noticeable.

2. What causes stretch marks?

Stretch marks are caused by rapid stretching of the skin due to hormonal changes, genetics, and rapid weight gain. When the skin is stretched quickly, such as during pregnancy, the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) can tear, leading to the formation of stretch marks. Some individuals may be more prone to developing stretch marks due to genetics.

3. Am I a good candidate for stretch mark treatment?

Individuals who have stretch marks that are visually unappealing and negatively influence their self-esteem & quality of life are good candidates for stretch mark treatment. Treatments for stretch marks may also be suitable if any of the following factors apply:

  • Have stretch marks that are visible and emotionally bothersome.
  • Have not been able to improve stretch marks with topical treatments such as creams or lotions.
  • Are in good overall health.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Are willing to commit to a treatment plan.

4. What are the different types of treatments for stretch marks?

Skin Needling – Skin needling, also known as microneedling or collagen induction therapy, is a cosmetic treatment that involves making tiny punctures in the skin using a hand-held device. The body treats these punctures as wounds, stimulating the production of elastin and collagen. Both elastin and collagen are vital in attaining more youthful looking skin, improving the texture and appearance of stretch marks.

Chemical Peels – Chemical peels is a skin resurfacing procedure. A chemical solution will be applied to the affected area of skin to exfoliate and remove the outermost layers of dead skin cells. This process stimulates the deeper skin cells to produce collagen and elastin, improving the appearance of stretch marks by stimulating the growth of new, healthy skin cells.

Laser Therapy – Laser therapy is an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of stretch marks, particularly new stretch marks that have a reddish or purple colour. A laser device emits short pulses of high-energy light onto the affected area and the light is absorbed by the skin’s pigments. The laser targets and heats up the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, stimulating the body’s natural response. This process leads the production of new, healthy skin cells.

Microdermabrasion – Microdermabrasion results in smoother, more even toned skin by using a hand-held device to exfoliate the skin’s outermost layer of dead skin cells. The skin is exfoliated by tiny crystals sprayed from the special device. The device then vacuums away the crystals and dead skin cells, reducing the appearance of stretch marks. This treatment may require multiple sessions to achieve desired results.

5. How long does stretch mark treatments take to perform?

The duration of stretch mark treatments varies on several factors such as the type of treatment being performed, the size and location of the treated area, and the unique circumstances per individual. Typically, treatments can take between 15 to 60 minutes per session, with multiple sessions required.

6. What is recovery like after stretch mark treatment?

The recovery time for stretch marks will vary on the type of treatment being performed, and the individuals skin type & experiences. It is critical that you follow the instructions given to you by your healthcare provider.

7. How long do results last?

The longevity of stretch mark treatment will vary depending on the type of treatment, and the individuals skin type and response to treatment. Other factors such as sun exposure, smoking, and overall skin health effect the longevity of results. To achieve optimal results, multiple treatments or maintenance treatments may be necessary to see a significant improvement in stretch marks. Estimated lengths of the different types of cosmetic treatments for stretch marks are the following:

  • Microneedling: Results may last up to six months or longer.
  • Chemical peels: Results may last up to several months.
  • Laser therapy: Results may last up to a year or more.
  • Microdermabrasion: Results may last a few months.

8. What are the risks of stretch mark treatments?

While risks are relatively rare, as with any cosmetic procedure, the removal of stretch marks have potential risks. Side effects and risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Skin irritation
  • Scarring
  • Skin discoloration
  • Infection
  • Worsening of stretch marks

9. How much does stretch mark treatment cost in Canada?

The cost of treating stretch marks varies based on the severity of the condition, the type of treatment, the size of the area treated, geographic location, and the surgeon & their experience. In Canada, the cost of stretch mark treatments begins at $200 and can go up to $1,000 or more per session.