Stretch marks or striae (singular stria), as they are called in dermatology, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. They first appear as reddish or purple lines, but tend to gradually fade to a lighter range. The affected areas appear empty and are soft to the touch. Although pregnancy is one of the most common causes of stretch marks, they also affect teenagers and young women without a family. Men can also become victims, with affected areas including the legs, arms, and back.
Between 75% and 90% of women develop stretch marks to some degree during pregnancy. The sustained hormonal levels as a result of pregnancy usually means stretch marks may appear during the sixth or seventh month, primarily during the 3rd trimester, as that is when skin tends to be subjected to higher levels of stretching forces.
Only one randomized controlled study has been published which claimed to test whether oils or creams prevent the development of stretchmarks. This study found a daily application of a cream containing Gotu Kola extract, vitamin E, and collagen hydrolysates was associated with fewer stretch marks during pregnancy. Another study, though lacking a placebo control, examined a cream (Verum) containing vitamin E, panthenol, hyaluronic acid, elastin and menthol. It was associated with fewer stretch marks during pregnancy versus no treatment.
Though cocoa butter is an effective moisturizer, no research studies have shown its ability to either prevent stretchmarks, or to reduce their appearance once a stretch mark has already formed.
Various treatments are available for the purpose of improving the appearance of existing stretch marks, including laser treatments, dermabrasion, and prescription retinoids.
Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Palomar’s fractional laser treatment for stretch marks, practitioners now have an excellent aesthetic solution for their clients. Palomar’s fractional non-ablative skin resurfacing laser minimizes the appearance of stretch marks. The Lux1540 laser handpiece improves the unsightly color and skin texture associated with stretch marks, leaving clients with smoother, better-looking skin. It works by creating columns of heat within the affected tissue which kick-starts a natural healing process that stimulates the growth of fresh, healthy tissue.
The developers say only four sessions are needed for the best results. The Lux 1540 handpiece by Palomar has been used in clinical studies. The treatments are comfortable. They cause almost no disruption to day to day activity. The new therapy can reduce the unsightly marks by up to 75 per cent, according to its makers.
As well as tackling stretch marks, the laser can treat surgical scars, acne scars, dark skin patches – known as melasma – and other skin conditions.
Tags: Beauty, laser, Laser Treatment, Lux1540, Stretch Marks