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Clínica de Pele
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Effective Prevention and Treatment Strategies for Stretch Marks

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How Can I Prevent and Treat Stretch Marks?

Learn everything you need to know about stretch marks prevention and treatment right now!

It is priceless to feel good about yourself. Maintaining a harmonious and healthy appearance that emphasizes your best features will undoubtedly improve your quality of life, resulting in increased well-being and self-confidence. To achieve this level of personal fulfillment, however, you must take care of your body.

Anyone who has stretch marks knows how much it affects their well-being and self-esteem, regardless of age. Fortunately, there are now methods for preventing and treating stretch marks. If you already have stretch marks, there are several treatments available that can help to reduce their appearance. And, whether they are purple, red, or white, these unsightly marks can be effectively and safely softened. Do you want to know how?

So keep reading to learn everything you need to know about stretch marks, as well as how to prevent and treat this skin problem. Enjoy your reading.

Dr. Szerman explains how to treat stretch marks:

What Are Stretch Marks?

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Stretch marks are a type of scarring on the skin. They appear when the skin is stretched beyond its capacity, causing small tears in the dermis. When there is a rapid weight gain, during pregnancy, when there is a rapid increase in muscle mass, and so on.

The issue can be compared to a rubber band that is stretched and then returns to its original position. When this rubber band is stretched too tightly, it no longer returns smooth, but with some ripples, characterized by an uneven texture and appearance.

When the skin stretches too quickly and beyond its capacity, the elastic fibers, which are made of collagen and other substances and support the skin’s middle layer, break. The pinker stretch marks appear at this point.

When this occurs, the sooner you begin stretch mark treatment, the better the results will be. In other words, recent stretch marks respond better to treatment than older ones.

Listen to Dr. Szerman’s explanation on CO2 Laser Therapy for stretch marks:

How Do Stretch Marks Appear?

Stretch marks are caused by the rupture of elastic and collagen fibers. They start out as almost invisible pink scars, but if proper stretch mark treatment is not done, they may eventually turn purplish and then whitish, which makes them more challenging to treat.

These scars appear in areas where the skin is more likely to stretch, such as the thighs, buttocks, breasts, and belly.

Stretch marks are most common in women, according to the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD). They are among the most common skin problems worldwide. However, according to the SBD, approximately 70% of the public affected by this problem are adolescent girls and women.

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What Causes Stretch Marks? When Do They Appear?

As previously stated, there are several factors that contribute to stretch marks.

Stretch marks can appear during pregnancy (the most common cause), or as a result of a rapid weight gain or loss. Excessive exercise, as well as skin dryness can also causes stretch marks.

Stretch marks can also affect adolescents during their growth phase.

Other less common causes of stretch marks are the use of prosthetics or the insertion of expanders beneath the skin.

Finally, stretch marks can be caused by the use of certain medications or even illnesses.

Knowing the cause of stretch marks is necessary for the specialist to determine the appropriate treatment as well as how many sessions of a particular stretch marks treatment will be required.

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Understand the Connection Between Stretch Marks and Pregnancy

Stretch marks appear during pregnancy as a result of the skin stretching that occurs throughout the months of pregnancy. As a result, they typically appear in the abdomen and peri-umbilical region, where the skin is more affected.

Furthermore, the appearance of this type of mark on the body is directly related to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Not surprisingly, marks can also appear on the breasts, flanks, thighs, and buttocks.

It is worth noting that even during pregnancy, the number of stretch marks and their color can vary from person to person, especially when skin health and other genetic factors are considered.

Do Stretch Marks Appear on All Pregnant Women?

Stretch marks do not appear on all pregnant women. There are numerous factors that contribute to the appearance of these marks, such as genetic condition. Aside from that, it is possible to discuss weight gain, which can be low or high, skin care during pregnancy, and the woman’s age.

In any case, stretch mark treatment may be an option to help the skin recover from childbirth. Following an examination, the specialist will recommend the type of stretch mark treatment.

Which Areas of the Body Are Affected by Stretch Marks?

Because everyone has a different skin type and genetic predisposition, stretch marks can appear anywhere. Some people can even develop them on their faces.

On the other hand, where stretching is more likely to occur, marks frequently appear, including on the:

  • abdomen
  • upper arms
  • thighs
  • buttocks
  • chest

Because of their higher fat storage, the areas mentioned above are easier targets for the appearance of stretch marks.

Men Also Get Stretch Marks

Stretch marks do not only appear in women, as some people believe. These marks may also appear on the skin of men. This is because, as previously stated, stretch marks are caused by skin stretching as well as some genetic factors.

In some cases, particularly during adolescence, men will have these marks on their back, covering the spine and forming horizontal lines. Stretch marks in the shoulders and biceps region are common among bodybuilders. In any case, regardless of gender, a stretch mark treatment is appropriate.

Types: red stretch marks and white stretch marks

Generally speaking, there are two types of stretch marks: bright pink (or reddish) and white stretch marks. Pink stretch marks appear early and are thus easier to treat.

But why are there red or pink stretch marks? This indicates that there is still blood flow in the area and that the tissue has not been completely destroyed. As a result, they are easier to treat and produce far better results in terms of the appearance of the affected skin.

There are also purple stretch marks that indicate a more advanced stage. They are intermediate between the pink ones and the ones that follow (the white ones).

What Are White Stretch Marks?

The white stretch marks are older stretch marks. The circulation in the area has been compromised in this case. They are more difficult to treat because they are older stretch marks.

However, both white stretch marks and red or purple stretch marks can be treated effectively with the CO2 laser (we will talk about it next).

What Causes Red Stretch Marks to Appear?  

Red stretch marks appear as a result of blood vessel or small veins rupture. This type of stretch mark have a reddish or purplish appearance. Because they are in the process of inflammation, red stretch marks are generally newer and have a higher regeneration rate in stretch mark treatment.

What is the difference between red and white stretch marks?

The distinction between white and red stretch marks is that white stretch marks lack blood circulation. That is why treating white stretch marks requires a more advanced treatment, such as CO2 laser. As a result, circulation is completely compromised in white stretch marks. These stretch marks are older and more difficult to treat.

Is It Possible to Prevent Stretch Marks?

Yes, there are some precautions that can be taken to avoid the appearance of stretch marks.

Avoiding the sun, using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, using moisturizing creams, avoiding very hot baths, avoiding sudden weight gain, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated are the main preventative measures.

You must, however, always be monitored by a dermatology specialist. This expert will advise you not only on how to avoid stretch marks, but also on the best products to use for your skin type in order to achieve the best results.

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Is It Possible to Permanently Remove Stretch Marks?

One of the most common concerns among those who suffer from this skin condition is whether there is a way to remove stretch marks.

Although there is no 100% effective way to eliminate stretch marks, there are treatments that can significantly reduce stretch marks. In other words, there are currently some methods for reducing the appearance of stretch marks on the skin, and in some cases they appear almost imperceptible.

The best way to learn how to treat stretch marks safely is to consult with a dermatologist, who will evaluate your condition and, based on that, determine the best treatment for stretch marks on your body.

Are Newer Stretch Marks Easier to Treat? 

They are, indeed, easier to treat. But first, you should understand what stretch marks are. Stretch marks, in general, are caused by the degradation of elastin fibers found in the skin. These fibers help to support tissue and increase skin elasticity.

What Are the Treatments for Stretch Marks?

One popular method for reducing stretch marks is through the use of topical creams and lotions. These products often contain ingredients such as retinoids, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E, which work to improve skin elasticity and promote collagen production. Another option is laser therapy, which uses focused light to break down the scar tissue that causes stretch marks. This treatment can be effective, but it may require multiple sessions to see significant results. Additionally, microneedling has gained popularity as a way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Among the treatments for stretch marks available on the market today, the CO2 laser treatment is the most recommended. It is also the one that produces the best results.

There is still a peeling treatment for stretch marks that can be used in conjunction with laser.

However, whether or not to use peeling is at the discretion of the dermatologist. That is why, before beginning any treatments, you should consult with this specialist.

Although dermabrasion and dermaroller treatments are available, the results are disappointing. They are also ineffective in the case of white stretch marks. Some patients have not responded to other treatments besides the CO2 laser.

CO2 Laser Therapy for Stretch Marks (Deka)

The Clínica de Pele in Rio de Janeiro has over 20 years of experience with Laser treatments and aesthetic medicine, and we believe that the CO2 Laser is the most effective stretch mark treatment.

To achieve better results with our stretch mark treatment in our office, we use a pulsed and fractional laser. Not to mention that, unlike many other types of lasers, this option still provides skin rejuvenation through heat rather than burning.

The laser acts on the innermost layer of the skin, protecting the outer layer from burns. As a result, the appearance of the skin improves.

We stress that this procedure is the most effective for treating stretch marks because: the heat stimulates collagen production more effectively and does not burn the skin’s surface; it is a more comfortable stretch mark treatment and has a quicker recovery time.

How Does the CO2 Laser Treat Stretch Marks?

The CO2 laser treatment for stretch marks is very simple. The laser works by sending light energy into the skin and stimulating collagen production; it is a high-tech aesthetic device.

Another advantage of the stretch mark treatment with fractional CO2 laser used at Clnica de Pele (RJ) from the Italian brand Deka is that we use a model that does not burn your skin but stimulates collagen production through heat. As a result, we provide a more secure and less uncomfortable treatment.

This treatment works on both red and white stretch marks. Red stretch marks usually respond very well to treatment and can improve the appearance of stretch marks by 60% to 90%. In the case of white stretch marks, which are the most difficult to treat, the CO2 laser provides a 50% to 80% improvement in the appearance of the skin in most cases.

Of course, the outcome of stretch mark treatment varies greatly between individuals, and it is impossible to predict how much each patient will improve. 

When treating stretch marks with CO2 laser, the lighter the skin, the better the chances of improvement because we can use stronger laser energies. Therefore, sunscreen is required throughout the CO2 laser treatment.

Does Laser Treatment Work for Stretch Marks?

Yes, laser treatments remain the most effective non-surgical stretch mark treatment option. The CO2 laser is one of the most effective and modern stretch mark treatments available. It is the gold standard for treating stretch marks, and dermatologists use the Fractional CO2 laser for red and white stretch marks.

Because it can rejuvenate the skin at a deep level, dermatologists frequently recommend the CO2 laser for stretch mark treatment.

It is vital to emphasize that the Clínica de Pele makes use of a cutting-edge laser. This laser generates heat but does not burn like most other fractional lasers.

Before and After CO2 Laser Treatment

See some before and after photos of CO2 Laser stretch mark treatment. These are the outcomes of the Deka CO2 Laser.

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Testimonials

Find out what patients say about CO2 laser stretch mark prevention and treatment:

What About Chemical Peels for Stretch Marks?

Another treatment that is effective against both new and old stretch marks is peeling. Although not as effective as laser, it is still very beneficial.

Chemical peels are used in our office to treat your skin from the inside out. That is, unlike laser therapy, they do not use heat or burn the skin. Their action can be thought of as a form of medicine.

It is applied to the stretch-mark-affected skin, and the patient is sent home to wash it off after a few hours. As a result, the peeling acts on the skin’s superficial layer to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Peeling, in other words, is a treatment that acts directly on the cell and promotes local skin renewal. It is one of the most secure and comfortable treatments available to patients.

It is essential to stay out of the sun for the first few days after receiving a peeling treatment because they contain a high concentration of active ingredients. But before, during, and after treatment, the patient receives all necessary recommendations in the office.

Which Chemical Peel Is the Most Effective for Stretch Marks?

Melanesse, Cosmelan, and Retinoic are three of the best chemical peels on the market. 

Peeling helps to rejuvenate the skin around stretch marks. Because cell renewal occurs in the skin’s superficial layer, this is a safe and effective treatment when performed under medical supervision.

It is also possible to combine crystal peeling. Crystal peeling improves the outcome by controlled exfoliation of the skin.

Stretch Marks Before and After Peeling Treatment

View before and after photos of patients who treated stretch marks with peeling at the Clínica de Pele:

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Stretch Marks Before and After

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FAQ

How Painful Is Laser Stretch Mark Removal Treatment?

A common question before undergoing any esthetic procedure is, “Will it hurt?” Don’t worry! It is highly dependent on the laser used and the doctor’s protocol (calibration of the equipment and creams prescribed before and after treatment). Because it works by heat rather than burning, the Fractional and Pulsed Laser that we use is usually well tolerated. We use an anesthetic during the sessions in addition to an icy jet (which can reach minus 30 degrees Celsius – equal to -22 °F). It is worth noting that after the sessions, the following symptoms are common: slight redness and swelling (due to the laser heat, which will produce collagen) and a very small peel (micro-spots) that will go away after 15 days with the use of healing creams prescribed by the doctor.

The dermatologists at the Clínica de Pele have over 20 years of experience and will advise you on all medication to help you during and after treatment. Therefore, it is crucial that you always consult with experienced doctors in the field to learn how to achieve satisfactory results while avoiding potential side effects.

You must choose your procedure with care. We recommend that you do your homework on the professional and technology that will be used in your stretch mark laser treatment. Because, as previously stated, the Fractional and Pulsed CO2 Laser differs greatly from the Fractional CO2 Laser. Understand how to distinguish between the two.

Which Stretch Mark Areas Can Be Treated?

It can be performed on any part of the body. Arms, breasts, hips, thighs, hips, and buttocks are the most commonly affected areas.

How Many Sessions Are Necessary?

We recommend five CO2 laser sessions spaced 30 or 60 days apart for stretch mark treatment. In the case of peeling, an average of 10 sessions are recommended, with 15-day intervals between each.

However, the right number will be determined by an evaluation of each patient’s case prior to consultation with a specialist. For example, there are various types of stretch marks, and each case has a recommended number of sessions.

How Much Does Stretch Mark Treatment Cost?

The cost of stretch mark treatment varies according to the number of sessions required, the size of the area to be treated, and the type of treatment.

White stretch marks, for example, may require additional sessions to achieve the best results.

Pink or purple stretch marks, on the other hand, are easier to treat and produce faster results with fewer sessions.

In this case, the best thing to do is to always seek an initial evaluation to determine how much this type of treatment will cost in your specific case.

Take the free online quiz to determine which treatment is right for you.

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How Does the Skin Look After the CO2 Laser?

It is normal for your skin to form a small peel and to be slightly red and swollen the day after the laser session. This is a common reaction, but one of the post-CO2 Laser recommendations at the Clnica de Pele is to use the healing ointment prescribed by Dr. Szerman.

It is recommended that you apply the healing ointment at least 8 times per day for the first 48 hours after the CO2 laser. This ointment is intended to moisturize your skin for the first 48 hours, but another healing ointment is recommended in the post CO2 laser protocol for the third day after the laser.

Although the effect on collagen is not immediate after the session, the full benefits of the session are usually seen by the 20th day.

In about 5 days, the patient’s face heals. The healing process in the body, like that of stretch marks, can take up to 20 days.

What Is the Post-Laser Serum?

We recommend using the post-laser serum immediately after the treatment to speed up skin recovery.

It contains beta glucan (an immunostimulant), hyaluronic acid, and other soothing ingredients. Dr. Szerman uses it on his patients.

Following the CO2 Laser procedure, you must take into account the CO2 Laser aftercare that we discussed. This is because they can provide faster skin recovery. Making you feel even more satisfied.

What Is the Post Care for CO2 Laser?

[CTA]  Dr. Szerman explains it

Listen to the most important CO2 Laser aftercare (in Portuguese):

 

General Recommendations

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Do not wash your face for 8 hours
  • Apply the healing creams every 2 or 3 hours
  • Do not wash your skin with ordinary soaps
  • For 5 days, use soap-free cleaning solutions
  • Avoid using cosmetics for 48 hours after the laser
  • Allow for the formation of peels before applying sunscreen
  • Discontinue acids and lighteners until the skin has fully recovered

Additional Tips

  • You do not have to wait 8 hours before applying the healing creams. The sooner you begin utilizing them, the better. Always use clean hands when applying.
  • Do not let the skin become dry. Reapply healing creams whenever you notice your skin is getting dry (at least 8 times a day).
  • It’s best not to expose yourself to the sun for the first 48 hours after the laser, so you don’t have to use sunscreen, which can irritate the skin after the laser because it’s more sensitive.
  • Put sterile saline solution or cold chamomile tea bags on the affected areas (only after 8 hours of the laser). Chamomile has anti-swelling properties and it can soothe sensitive tissues.

It is important to emphasize that stretch marks are only cosmetic and do not pose any health risks. There is no cure for them when they form, but there are treatments that, when done correctly, produce excellent results.

Many of our patients are happy with the services we offer in our office. You can some some examples below:

Only trust a qualified professional, such as a dermatologist, to perform any type of laser treatment or peeling.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the treatment. We have a dermatology and esthetics clinic in Rio de Janeiro’s downtown area, as well as another in Copacabana. Pay us a visit and learn about our skin care and treatment options.

Treatment Statistics

Stretch marks are regarded as one of the most serious skin problems in the world. adolescent girls and women account for roughly 70% of those affected by this issue. Stretch marks occur in 40% to 70% of Brazilian women.

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