What you need to know about Stretch Mark Removal
Stretch marks are colored lines or bands that usually appear on the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, and breasts. It develops when your skin shrinks or stretches quickly, such as after a rapid weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or rapid muscle growth after weight training. They are essentially tears on the skin. However, they are not an indication of a health issue and do not require medical treatment. If you do not like the appearance of stretch marks on your skin, you can undergo some procedures to make it less noticeable.
There are several procedures available. These include:
Your doctor may recommend you undergo more than one procedure to get the best results.
What does the Procedure Involve?
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to renew skin tone and texture. During the procedure, a special applicator is used to spray on tiny exfoliating crystals onto the affected area. These crystals are then gently removed using a wand-like device. While the crystals are removed, they take dead skin from the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) with them. This procedure is most effective for white stretch marks.
Also known as collagen induction therapy, targets the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) where stretchmark form. This procedure triggers collagen production by poking tiny needles into your skin. Increased collagen production can make your skin tone and texture more even, reducing stretch marks. Your doctor will move the tiny needles evenly across your skin to ensure that the new skin will be even as well.
With laser therapy, lasers are applied directly into your skin. They penetrate your skin and triggers regeneration, stimulating the tissues in your stretch marks to heal faster. Laser therapy also stimulates melanin production on the area of your stretch mark and activates pigment cells. As a result, your stretch marks will blend in with your normal skin tone.
Certain cosmetic surgeries, such as thigh lift, tummy tuck, and other similar procedures, remove excess skin and tighten the remaining skin. While these procedures are not actually designed to remove stretch marks, the removal of excess skin from the body can lead to the loss of the stretch marks. If the procedure does not involve removing excess skin, then cosmetic surgery may not be an option. So make sure to discuss it with your surgeon first.
How Long Should I Stay in the Area?
After microdermabrasion, micro-needling, and laser therapy, you should expect to stay in the area for 2 to 3 days. In some cases, your doctor may even allow you to leave the country on the same day. For cosmetic surgery, it is advisable that you stay for about 7 days to let your body recover and to attend follow-up checkups.
What’s the Recovery Time?
The recovery time varies, depending on the type of procedure you undergo. Microdermabrasion requires little to no downtime and you can go back to your daily activities immediately. With micro-needling and laser therapy, it may take around 2 to 5 days until you can resume your normal routine. After cosmetic surgery, you generally need to wait for 2 to 3 weeks until you can go back to work, but strenuous activities should be avoided for around 6 to 8 weeks.
What About Aftercare?
The aftercare will be different for each procedure. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions that you need to follow. It is important that you follow everything to avoid complications and to get the best results. Here are some general things you should do:
After microdermabrasion, keep your skin hydrated and protect your skin with sunscreen.
After micro-needling, make sure to avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen when you have to go outside and do not put ice on your face.
After laser therapy, you should clean the area regularly with water, use ice packs to reduce swelling, apply ointments (such as petroleum jelly), and avoid picking any scabs.
After cosmetic surgery, eat a healthy diet and stay away from alcohol. You may also need to do some light exercises to keep your blood flowing.
Your doctor may prescribe topical and/or oral medications following your stretch mark removal. Make sure to take/apply them as prescribed.
What’s the Success Rate?
Stretch mark removal procedures are safe and effective. Micro-needling has been found to be very effective for darker skin. Microdermabrasion, micro-needling, and laser therapy, you may need more than one treatment session to get your desired results. Also, you need to remember that these treatments will only fade your stretch marks, not removing them completely.
There are some side effects and risks that these procedures carry, such as redness, swelling, bleeding, bruising, peeling, and infection.
Are there Alternatives to Stretch Mark Removal?
If your stretch marks are less than a few months old, you may use retinoid cream as an alternative to the procedures mentioned above. Retinoid cream that you apply to your skin can help make your stretch marks look more like your normal skin.
What Should You Expect Before and After the Procedure
Before stretch mark removal, you have stretch marks in your body that bother you or make you feel unconfident. After the procedure, these stretch marks should be less noticeable. This can be a huge confidence boost for a lot of people.
For an in-depth analysis of a Stretch Mark Removal Procedure, watch this short video.
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