Stretch marks, also known as striae, are lines in the skin which usually start out red or purple and fade to light pink or white. Stretch marks are especially common in women, although men can get them too. Unfortunately, stretch marks can’t be prevented or completely eliminated, but there are treatment options that can vastly improve their appearance.
What causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused when the dermis, which is the middle layer of the skin responsible for providing structure and elasticity, can’t keep up with rapid growth such as that from pregnancy or extreme weight gain. As the skin grows, the elastin and collagen fibers in the dermis can break, causing indents in the skin.
Pregnancy is a leading cause of stretch marks, as the abdominal skin grows rapidly. Genetics play a role as well – if your mother had stretch marks, it’s more than likely that you will, too. Around 90% of pregnant women develop stretch marks in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy.
Obesity and hereditary conditions can also cause stretch marks. Bodybuilders sometimes get them as well, as the skin is stretched over the muscles. The most common areas affected by stretch marks are the abdomen, legs, arms, thighs, and buttocks.
Contact Dr. Melda Isaac for a Consultation
While there aren’t really any reliable methods for preventing striae, there are a number of options that can help to reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks. Consult with an expert dermatologist such as Dr. Melda Isaac in Washington DC to find out which treatment might be best for you.
An overview of our current skin laser procedures:
CO2 Laser Fractional Skin Resurfacing: Fractional skin resurfacing is an innovative treatment that causes microscopic injuries to the skin, thus stimulating fresh new growth. Fractional skin resurfacing with a CO2 laser works quickly, with results appearing after only one session, but it also requires up to a week of downtime as the treatment area heals and recovers.
Fraxel: The Fraxel laser is a gentle treatment which works by treating fractional columns of skin to induce the dermis to produce more collagen and repair the skin from the inside out. Fraxel has 3 different laser systems with different levels of aggressiveness, and which one is best for you will be discussed by Dr. Isaac in Washington DC during your consultation.
Erbium Laser Fractional Skin Resurfacing: The erbium laser is a gentle resurfacing treatment. It works in much the same way as a CO2 laser, but is non-ablative, and requires less downtime. Erbium laser treatments will require multiple sessions, but may be a good choice for someone who can’t spare much time for recovery.
V-Beam Laser: V-beam lasers use short pulses of yellow light which are absorbed by the blood vessels in the skin, causing blood to coagulate and be absorbed into the body. V-beam leasers can treat all kinds of red discolorations on your body, including stretch marks.
Micro-Needling with the Collagen Pen or MicroPen is a revolutionary procedure which does not require downtime and is remarkably effective. Micro-needling involves using a device equipped with fine needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate new skin regeneration as well as allowing for deeper and more effective penetration of topical solutions. Micro-needling is a great option for older stretch marks, and can be used anywhere on the body.
Microdermabrasion in Washington, DC is an option for helping to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but in Dr Isaac’s expert opinion, it must be combined with other devices in order to get optimal results. Microdermabrasion works by gently exfoliating the top layer of skin, clearing away dead skin cells and promoting new skin growth. Microdermabrasion allows better penetration of other treatments (both topical products and devices!) into the skin. This treatment option is good for people who have older stretch marks which may have already faded somewhat.
At MI Skin Dermatology Center in Washington DC, Dr. Isaac offers DermaSweep as a microdermabrasion option. DermaSweep is a safe and effective device that offers the same benefits as traditional crystal microdermabrasion without the potential hazards and mess.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you are suffering from stretch marks, don’t think that you just have to live with them forever. Talk to expert dermatologist Dr. Melda Isaac in Washington DC to see what treatment options might be best to reduce the appearance of your striae! Stretch marks vary depending on the individual, so it’s very important to have a consultation with an expert dermatologist before deciding on a treatment option.