Up to 90% of women will have some degree of stretch marks. They can occur during rapid weight fluctuations, a growth spurt in childhood or during pregnancy. They’re technically a type of scar that forms when elastin fibres are torn. So the question is, what’s the most effective treatment for stretch marks?
Sometimes, stretch marks fade over time and become unnoticeable. There are also many creams, oils and body butters on the market which promise to banish stretch marks within a few weeks. However, a recent study published by the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology showed that an application of cocoa butter or other body lotions doesn’t reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Don’t lose hope, there are treatments available that can effectively diminish the appearance of stretch marks. At Rejuvenation Clinics of Australia, we offer two procedures which are effective in reducing stretch marks and these are RF Needling and a combination of Fractional CO2 laser and Thermage.
Laser therapy works by using wavelengths of light to stimulate collagen growth, elastin and melanin in the skin. There has been clinical research into laser therapy and in particular, the Fractional CO2 laser and it has clearly been shown to provide a safe and effective reduction for both early onset and white stretch marks.
It is the least invasive and most popular form of laser therapy for stretch marks. It uses the ‘fractional’ laser technique, that is, the target areas are treated with individual laser pulses that help repair and deliver an even-toned complexion. The risk of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) using the Fractional CO2 laser is low and there are very few side effects. This works well with older white stretch marks.
From there, Thermage is used as it goes deep into the supporting sub-dermal layers. This is important because the deeper layers of the skin lose their structure over time due to the stretching and weakness of the collagen and elastin matrix. Thermage can help regenerate and rebuild your natural collagen matrix by using non-invasive radiofrequency energy.
Laser Scar Repair
A newer yet equally effective method for treating stretch marks is with Pico Scar Repair. The laser modalities discussed above use light and heat energy, the Pico laser uses fractional mechanical energy (that is, vibrational energy), so it is safer for some skin types.
The vibrational energy delivered to the skin during treatment gently breaks down scar tissue and stimulates collagen remodelling with no side effects or downtime, save for some mild post-treatment redness. It is an excellent option for textural concerns and darker stretch marks.
RF Needling is a great option for those who aren’t keen on laser therapy. More commonly used to treat wrinkles and acne, it’s also used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Hundreds of tiny needle punctures are made in the skin, which in turn stimulate collagen remodelling. The RF Needling equipment we use at Rejuvenation Clinics of Australia enables us to control the exact depth of the needles for a safe and effective treatment. The equipment also enables us to deliver radiofrequency energy to the skin to stimulate regeneration of the collagen fibres which may have stretched and torn when the stretch marks formed.
Which treatment works best for stretch marks?
RF Needling is a deeper treatment (the microneedles can go right to the sub-dermal layers of the skin) whereas the Fractional CO2 Laser only penetrates into the dermal layers of the skin. That being said, the Fractional CO2 Laser can be a more powerful treatment. You’ll often require 6-10 RF Needling Treatments to get the same results as just 3 Fractional CO2 Laser treatments.
Pico Scar Repair is a slightly gentler laser treatment, so you may need a longer course of treatments, but it is more suitable for certain skin types than the Fractional CO2 Laser.
The recommended treatment may also depend on how your stretch marks are presented, whether they’re darker, lighter, raised or depressed. We recommend coming in for a consultation with one of our expert Clinicians or experienced Doctors to discuss treatment options and which one might be right for you. One thing remains constant across all stretch marks; the sooner you treat them, the better your treatment outcomes are likely to be.