New Treatments to Soften Stretch Marks
Striae appear when there is a rupture of the fibers responsible for the elasticity of the skin, the collagen fibers. With a shape of three helices contorted on the same axis, they are found in the second layer of the skin, the dermis.
These fibers can rupture for several reasons: sudden weight gain, either due to pregnancy or " concertina effect"; during the puberty phase, in accelerated growth or; because of some medications, such as corticosteroids.
In some cases they can be prevented by avoiding weight gain or muscle gain very quickly. Thus the fibers have a lower chance of breaking, which causes the stretch marks. However, in some cases this can be avoided, such as in adolescent fast growth or distension of the pregnant woman's belly.
The appearance of stretch marks is mainly determined by genetics. Sometimes we come across obese patients without any stretch marks, and others with a small distension of the skin form many stretch marks.
To be healthy you should be poor in sweets and fats, rich in vitamin C, and should contain at least eight glasses of water a day. These components help in the production of collagen, and consequently improve the elasticity of the skin.
Physical exercises are also fundamental, as besides decreasing the accumulation of fat, the muscular stimulus facilitates the improvement of local circulation, either blood or lymphatic. When efficient, the lymphatic circulation causes the swelling to be smaller and thus the distentions also occur less frequently. However, be careful, since bodybuilding exercises aimed at muscle hypertrophy may give rise to new stretch marks.
"The earlier the treatment, the better the result"
Basic skin care also decreases chance of its appearance. In this case, hydration is the best ally, since a well hydrated skin supports the effects of distension.
Therefore, to combat stretch marks, in addition to the guidelines above, if possible, hydrate the skin at least twice a day. Creams based on almond oil, aloe vera, witch hazel, urea, and lactic acid, aid in the process of hydration and cellular regeneration. Good hydration allows for more distension without bursting the skin, which would give rise to stretch marks.
Stretch marks are irreversible lesions and therefore there is no treatment that will return the skin to what it was before. The treatments aim to improve the appearance of the lesions by stimulating the formation of underlying collagen tissue and making them more similar to the surrounding skin. It is worth noting that in the case of recent striae, when they are still reddish, they can still be removed with intense pulsed light or lasers that target these reddish pigments.
The earlier the treatment, the better the result. These recent stretch marks may disappear completely. For older lesions (the white streaks) we can use the following therapeutic solutions:
Microdermabrasion: This is to remove the dead cells from the outermost layer of the skin, through an equipment that exfoliates the lesions, stimulating the formation of collagen and elastin in the skin, progressively treating stretch marks.
Intradermotherapy: Consists of injections of substance into the dermis through a 4mm needle, aiming to stimulate new collagen and improve circulation of the site.
Chemical peeling: Application of acids, which promote local scaling and production of new collagen fibers, as well as retraction of stretch marks.
Radio frequency (Accent): It stimulates the collagen and promotes the reorganization of the elastic weave, improving the appearance of the stretch marks.
Fractionated CO 2: A very promising laser-based treatment that greatly improves skin quality and attenuates the effect of stretch marks. This process can be done through monthly sessions.
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