Stretch Marks

About Treatment Options for Stretch Marks

Stretch marks (also known as “striae” or “striae distensae”) often occur when the skin is subjected to rapid or prolonged mechanical stress, which damages collagen and elastin fibers. Stretch marks most commonly appear on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, shoulders, thighs, posterior knees, flanks, and buttocks. Some common causes of stretch marks include:

      • Rapid growth such as that which occurs during puberty or pregnancy
      • Increased muscle mass due to weightlifting
      • Rapid weight gain and/or obesity
      • Hormonal changes
      • Genetics
      • Prolonged systemic or topical glucocorticoid or anabolic (“steroid”) use
      • Endogenous states of glucocorticoid excess such as Cushing disease
      • Connective tissue disorders such as Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

What are some treatment options for my stretch marks?

To be completely transparent – stretch marks are difficult to treat, and it is unfortunately not possible to eliminate them completely. It is, however, possible to improve their appearance, by targeting their color, volume, or both. Some of the ways that our physicians at Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center treat stretch marks include:

      • Vascular lasers such as 595-nm pulsed-dye laser or 1064-nm Nd:YAG, to treat stretch marks that are pink, red, or purple in color.
      • Radiofrequency microneedling which can help improve skin laxity and blend surface texture through the formation of new collagen.
      • Biostimulatory soft tissue fillers such as Radiesse® and Scultpra® which help the skin synthesize its own, natural, innate collagen and elastin while also improving the health of your skin’s extracellular matrix.
      • Skin tightening with 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser which helps improve skin quality through stimulating the formation of new collagen and elastin.
      • Fractional nonablative lasers such Fraxel DUAL® and Halo® which can improve dermal skin quality while also blending surface textural irregularities. 
      • Fractional ablative lasers such Fraxel re:PAIR® and 2940-nm Er:YAG work much in the same way that fractional nonablative lasers do, though treatments are associated with longer recovery time, as a consequence of their creating actual ablation channels in the skin. A benefit to ablative laser treatments is that the ablation channels can be used a means to delivery biostimulatory fillers, PRP, and exosomes to the skin, to further improve surface level skin quality.
      • Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is comprised of a high concentration of your body’s own platelets, which are blood cells that contain numerous growth factors and stimulating proteins within them. To obtain PRP, your dermatologist will perform a blood draw from your arm, and subject this blood to a special separation technique that isolates the platelet fraction. PRP can be used in conjunction with any number of the aforementioned treatments to optimize results by providing a high concentration of beneficial, stimulatory compounds to the skin.
      • Polydioxanone (PDO) threads can also help temporarily lift and reposition lax, hanging skin. These threads are eventually broken down by your body in the same way that absorbable surgical sutures are. When this happens, new collagen is stimulated to form, which helps to improve skin quality. For this reason, PDO threads can also be placed within the skin itself—not to achieve a lifting effect, but to achieve a biostimulatory effect to improve the health and structure of your skin.
      • Exosomes are tiny extracellular vesicles that are released by various cells, including stem cells, that contain a number of useful proteins, lipids, and genetic material such as microRNAs. These molecules all play crucial roles in intercellular communication, and consequently, cellular behavior and function. Some of the possible benefits of exosomes include collagen stimulation, anti-inflammatory effects, skin hydration, wound healing, and regenerative effects.
      • Fat transfer is performed by obtaining fat from one area of the body (usually the abdomen, thighs, or flanks) during a liposuction procedure, and transferring it to another area of the body where volume is needed/desired. In addition to the volumizing effect that fat transfer can achieve, improvements in skin quality are observed to result from this treatment, by virtue of fat being rich in growth factors and other bioactive compounds.
      • Prescription strength topical creams such as retinoids can contribute to stimulating fibroblasts, which are the cells in our skin that synthesize collagen and elastin.

If you are experiencing severe skin laxity issues in addition to stretch marks, then a surgical intervention such as a brachioplasty (for the arms), thighplasty or thigh lift (for the upper legs), or tummy tuck (for the abdomen) may be your best course of action. Our board-certified dermatologists can meet with you in consultation to determine whether surgery is the best approach for you to obtain the results that you are seeking, or whether a less invasive approach can be offered to you at Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center. 

Why trust Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center to help me improve the appearance of my stretch marks?

At the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center, we believe that the health of your skin is intimately connected with all facets of your well-being. While for some, stretch marks can be a joyous reminder of the birth of a beloved child, for others they can be a painful reminder of life challenges that were difficult to navigate and emotionally painful. Regardless of the memories that they may be intertwined with, the stretch marks that you are dealing with today may make you feel self-conscious about your appearance—causing you to hide your skin, and feel uncomfortable in your own body. 

Our board-certified dermatologists are laser and skin-care experts, who by virtue of their education and years of specialty experience understand how cutaneous biology, regenerative medicine, and laser physics should intersect to reinvigorate the health of your skin. Their knowledge, combined with our wide array of lasers and energy-based devices, allows us to customize your treatments to address your individual concerns and preferences, thereby maximizing the amount of improvement and value that you receive from a single treatment session.

Artistic skill combined with sound medical and aesthetic judgment are the keys to natural, attractive, and well-balanced results. Our physicians take a holistic approach to skin assessment, and take great joy in creating comprehensive, individualized treatment plans that combine a variety of treatment modalities to help patients feel confident and refreshed. When you place your care in the hands of highly experienced, specialty-trained physicians, you can feel confident that your safety, well-being, and beautiful aesthetic outcomes will be meticulously handled.

Begin your aesthetic journey with us today.