Many of us have experienced stretch marks throughout our lives. These annoying lines on our skin can cause embarrassment for some, while others relegate that stretch marks are their new normal. However, microneedling treatments can make stretch marks disappear forever. Read on to learn what stretch marks and microneedling are, how microneedling treatments can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and other benefits microneedling provides.
What are Stretch Marks?Stretch marks (also known as striae) are indented scars that can appear nearly anywhere on the body. Although they most often affect pregnant women, women who’ve never been pregnant, men and children can also develop stretch marks as well. Stretch marks are caused by skin stretching. Stretch marks are in no way dangerous to your health; however, many people do not like how they look and want to get rid of them almost as soon as they appear.
Why do my stretch marks look like this?It’s also important to note that no two sets of stretch marks will look the same, nor will they affect the same areas. Stretch marks vary widely in color and severity. Some people may get widespread stretch marks around their entire torso, while others may get a few on their arms and chest. The main thing to remember with stretch marks is that they can impact someone at any life phase.
What Treatments Can I Use for Stretch Marks?When discussing stretch marks, we receive many questions about treatment options for the condition. From creams and lotions to surgery, we’ll look at the available options for stretch mark treatment.
Will stretch marks go away on their own?The most common question we get when discussing stretch marks is, “Will they go away on their own?” The answer is no. Stretch marks are a scar, meaning scar tissue will be present even if the stretch marks fade. This can lead to changes in the skin that you can feel even if the marks aren’t that noticeable. When someone has a large number of stretch marks on the body, this can lead to a dimpled, bumpy appearance and feel. Because of this, many people choose to treat stretch marks.
Treatment OptionsThere are hundreds of treatment options for stretch marks, all with varying levels of success. Some of the most common treatments people use include: Lotions From Vitamin E to coconut oil, lotions and creams with natural ingredients are usually the first steps people take when looking to treat their stretch marks. Unfortunately, these treatments do not work for most people to reduce their stretch marks. Instead, most of these products feature fat-based moisturizers which help to soften the skin. This leads to the skin feeling better while the massaging action may make the scar tissue less tough. However, none of these are going to fade or prevent stretch marks like people claim. Laser Therapy Laser therapy uses highly concentrated beams of light to improve the skin. This leads to improved texture, tone and appearance—just the thing most of our patients are hoping to improve! Laser therapy can drastically improve the appearance of stretch marks; however, it can also lead to pigmentation issues for some people with darker skin tones and treatments can be invasive. Retinoid Cream Retinoid creams are another treatment that actually does work. These creams use retinol which has been clinically proven to help the appearance of stretch marks by increasing collagen production. However, the issues with retinoid creams are that they can take months to show results, leading to many people feeling dissatisfied with them. Essential Oils With the rise of MLM essential oil brands, we have seen a lot of people trying to use essential oils to treat their stretch marks. Just like lotions, some essential oils may help soften the scar tissue thanks to the massaging action; however, none of them will stimulate collagen production, which is what you need to get rid of stretch marks. Furthermore, pure essential oils can severely irritate the skin, leading to costly treatment options and even hospital visits depending on where they were used. Surgery Surgery is the most invasive option on our list, but it does work for those who also need skin removal. However, surgery is not a viable option for many who want to get rid of their stretch marks, either because they have no need for skin removal or because it is monetarily without of reach. With all these available treatment options, it’s easy to see why people are confused about what to choose when it comes to stretch mark removal. Many simply do not work, while others may not deliver the needed results. However, there is a treatment that works for all as intended when looking to remove stretch marks: microneedling. Some people can see the nearly complete removal of their stretch marks with one microneedling treatment, so let’s get into it.
What is Microneedling?Microneedling is considered a “minimally invasive” procedure, meaning you will have minimal downtime. Your medical professional will use a thin needle to make tiny holes throughout the top layer of the skin. This damages the skin’s barrier (trust us, it’s what you want) which stimulates the healing process. What’s that mean for your skin? More collagen and elastin production—the proteins that keep your skin firm and smooth.
Is Microneedling like Microdermabrasion?A lot of people confuse microneedling with microdermabrasion. It’s easy to make that mistake, especially when both contain “micro.” In reality, though, the procedures are quite different. Microdermabrasion is like putting a piece of sandpaper on the skin. Sloughing off the first layer and revealing the soft, new skin underneath. With stretch marks, the soft skin is much deeper in the epidermis. Microneedling goes deeper into the skin to reach this soft skin which is why it’s the treatment of choice for people who want to remove scar tissue—including stretch marks.
How Can Microneedling Help with Stretch Marks?Microneedling regarding stretch marks is an established treatment option for medical professionals around the world simply because it works so well for people of all complexions. Lasers and heat therapy are also popular options; however, women with darker complexions are prone to skin discoloration. With microneedling, there is no chance of hyperpigmentation in the skin because the skin is not getting subjected to elemental factors. Instead, the skin is forced to regenerate on its own, meaning your body heals its own stretch marks naturally. Microneedling simply gives it the push it needs to start the healing process. The study of microneedling for stretch marks dates back several years, but one of the first long term studies showing the procedure's benefits took place between 2010-2015 in Brazil. Patients were given three treatments over an eight-week period, with most feeling “very satisfied” or “satisfied” even years after their treatment was completed. Researchers did not use an assortment of procedures or medications on these patients. Instead, they were treated with microneedling and a topical ascorbic acid 30 minutes before treatment. In skin biopsies performed on some patients after the procedure, the skin was shown to have nearly no indentations, meaning the stretch marks were gone or nearly gone.
What Other Benefits Does Microneedling Offer?In addition to treating stretch marks, there are an assortment of other benefits associated with microneedling, including:
Great ResultsThe biggest benefit to microneedling is the great results you can expect with the treatment. Are Stretch marks disappearing in three treatments? That’s unheard of for most people! However, microneedling isn’t limited to stretch mark treatment. It can also help those with rosacea, acne, sun damage and improve the effectiveness of topical products. When you receive a microneedling treatment for stretch marks, you may also combat other skin issues with the same treatment.
Minimal DowntimeSome procedures can take up to a week to recover from. This means you need to put your life on hold. However, microneedling does not require a large amount of downtime. Instead, most patients are back to their everyday lives in about 24 hours. As far as pain, microneedling feels like a mild sunburn, but this feeling goes away for most people in 24-48 hours.
Safe for All ComplexionsWe’ve gone over this above, but it bears repeating here: there are not many treatment options that work well for women of color. Pigmentation issues from lasers and heat treatments can cause further embarrassment. Microneedling does not cause hyperpigmentation nor does it damage the skin like some other treatments.
Few Side EffectsSide effects of microneedling are few and far between. Some people may experience:
- Skin flaking