Stretch marks are among the most frequent and unwanted pregnancy remnants. Even if you did remember about proper care during pregnancy and massaged your skin with specialist creams, stretch marks may still appear. After all, the skin is not an armour with unlimited elasticity, but undergoes exceptional challenges during pregnancy. It is this process that constitutes the primary reason of stretch mark development. These appear as a result of excessive stretching of the skin, followed by rupture of collagen fibres responsible for the compact tissue structure.
Stretch marks appear in 50-90% of pregnant women, usually on the belly, breasts, thighs and buttocks. Their development begins in the 24th-27th week of pregnancy. Stretch marks are linear skin changes, several centimetres long and 1-10 millimetres wide. Newly developed stretch marks are from red to purple in colour, and may be accompanied with such symptoms as itching and burning sensation.
After a few months, stretch marks change to body-like colour, along with occurrence of skin atrophy within their limits. Not only is development of those changes caused by stretching of the skin, but increased level of hormones is another important contributor to stretch mark development. Moreover, it was observed that such factors as:
- the woman's young age
- high weight of the baby
- long period of pregnancy
also contribute to appearance and intensification of these changes within the skin. Stretch marks are not an illness, but merely a cosmetic defect. Yet, to many women they are the source of complexes and may cause reduced self-evaluation.
Luckily, though, stretch marks are not irreversible changes. Contemporary aesthetic medicine is already able to effectively counteract stretch marks.
Still, one must remember that the only option available during the breastfeeding period are cosmetic treatments:
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The treatment stimulates production of collagen and elastin, stimulates natural growth of new tissue (the skin is continuously renewed, which is greatly accelerated by the treatment). Deeper microdermabrasion makes scars and stretch marks more shallow. Microscopically observed histological changes concern not only the epidermis (thickening), but also the dermis layer (improved microcirculation of blood and flow of lymph, accelerated removal of toxins from deeper skin layers).
The treatment performed with DERMAPEN® is much more comfortable, with the precision of the device incomparable with traditional methods used in mesotherapy treatments, which allows doctors and patients worldwide enjoy therapy results without undesirable side effects.
Creams with retinoid content
Retinoids – derivatives of vitamin A, ingredients of creams and medicines whose effect involves increased production of collagen and improved skin elasticity. To be applied onto newly created, still red stretch marks. The substances stimulate collagen production, which hinders development of new changes and reduces intensity of already developed ones.
However, these products must not be used during pregnancy, as they are harmful to the foetus. During consultation, the dermatologist will suggest most suitable cosmetics.
Regeneris (platelet rich plasma)
Stretch marks are very difficult to remove once they become porcelain white, but when they are relatively fresh – pink or red – it is worthwhile to undertake the therapy with platelet rich plasma. Its role is to stimulate the skin to undertake more intensive regeneration and reconstruction of its structure. Active thrombocytes contained in the plasma produce a skin factor important to cell regeneration, which, among others, stimulates multiplication and maturing of epidermis cells, stimulates extracellular matrix synthesis, activates microcirculation, stimulates DN synthesis and induces fibroblasts to produce collagen. All that leads to stretch mark reduction.
The treatment is relatively quick and simple, it provides new and structurally better tissue. However, best results are obtained by combining this method with laser therapy.
Without any doubt, one of the most effective tools of today’s aesthetic medicine is the family of fractional lasers. These devices cause numerous micro-damages in the treated skin, which in the discussed case concerns stretch marks. This causes development of a controlled inflammation and, in consequence, migration of collagen rich cells! The method is amazingly effective (in comparison with numerous other methods available on the market), while being exceptionally safe.
The method consists in extraction of fat tissues and stem cells from the belly, lower trunk, hip or thigh area and, after special processing, their implantation into the target area, that is the stretch marks. The special Adivive system, involving sterile and closed extraction of fat and its centrifuging in a syringe with a special filter, produces high quality fat tissue. Next to fat cells, the preparation obtained in this way contains numerous stem cells responsible for reconstruction of the tissue. The method allows quick filling of atrophic stretch marks and their reconstruction. This smoothens the skin surface and gives the stretch marks the colour of surrounding skin, thus making them invisible.
Consultation and medical compilation – Michał Rożalski, M.D.