I got the first stretch marks after I gave birth to my first son, but it was only after my second pregnancy that the stretch marks became much worse (and by worse I mean the number increased). I tried different topical treatments, including cocoa butter treatment, but they didn't make much of a difference. Two years ago I decided to try a full body microdermabrasion treatment (I'd already had the facial microderm treatment which worked well).
Unlike other skin imperfections, stretch marks do not form on the skin's surface (called epidermis), even though that's where you see them. Stretch marks form in the skin layer directly underneath (called dermis). This is an important point to remember because while micro dermabrasion cannot reach that deep into the tissue, it does help.
Stretch marks are, in fact, tens of fine silvery, long, fragmented scars that are sunken into the skin. Think of them as microscopic valleys found on your abdomen, thighs, breasts, arms and/or buttocks. Microdermabrasion uses a crystal flow to sandblast the skin and make the ridge of these imaginary valleys become eroded.
Over 10-12 abrasions, the skin surrounding the stretch marks is brought down to a level closer to the stretch mark itself. Basically, the stretch marks are still there, deep into the skin, but they are less visible.
Elasticity plays an important part in how stretch marks form, and is also an important factor in their 'removal'. Stretch marks form because a hormone called glucocorticoid becomes overactive and stops the skin from producing collagen and elastin fibers responsible for keeping rapidly growing skin taut. In other words, the skin grows without elastic support in its thickest layer and is left with signs of tear called stretch marks.
Besides the peeling effect, micro dermabrasion also jumpstarts collagen production in the skin, which increases its elasticity and helps it contract the marks into much thinner scars (unfortunately, the torn dermal cells never fully recover -- stretch marks are permanent).
Many women I've talked to have had good results by combining professional microabrasion with other forms of treatment like topical cocoa creams, radio frequency sessions as well as home microdermabrasion kits (some brands like Dermanew can fade stretch marks on its own). Diet also helps.
Contrary to popular belief (and their deceiving name), stretch marks are not caused by stretched skin. They can be caused by many factors (pregnancy, rapid weight loss or gain, intense physical activity or medication) so your safest bet is talking to a dermatologist about what your options are. Here's a list of possible stretch marks treatments:
It's too late for me but stretch marks are perfectly preventable (sometimes, though, whatever you do you still get them) so here are some tips I give to my friends:
Next, some of the personal-use microderm kits I've tried.
A: Best results are obtained after 6 to 12 professional sessions (depending on your expectations and severity of the skin imperfections), respectively one month of use for a personal microdermabration kit.
A: You should not have microderm abrasian if you've had salicylic acid peeling (or any other kind of chemical peel) in the last 14 days because the two exfoliating procedures combined are too aggressive and might affect your skin's ability to recover. This applies to over the counter product and specialist treatment.
A: Microderm evens out skin texture and helps fade superficial facial scarring. Deeper facial scars needs more invasive non-surgical techniques, like deep chemical peeling or laser face rejuvenation.
A: Younger-looking skin needs elasticity and density, both achievable through skin cell renewal. Microdermabrasian tool abrades the outermost skin layer and stimulates skin renewal. An effective skin renewal process results in increased elasticity and density. Moreover, the vacuum function of the microdermibration tool sucks up dirt and hardened oil to reveal an even skin texture and tone.
A: Over The Counter micodermabrasion systems can be used on your body as long as it's especially formulated as a body microabrasion kit. Using a face microdermabrasions kit on your body will not have the desired effect because it's much too mild to have a significant effect on your body. Doctor-performed microderm abrasions are suitable for use on the body except for the feet where the skin is too thin.
A: Redness following microderm abrasion fades in a few hours after the procedure.
A: Micro derma brasion is safe for young people of all skin types but most doctors recommend it for patients aged 14 and older, mainly because they want to make sure that all major hormonal changes are over and the results of the procedure are as good as they can be.
A: We recommend that you wait until you deliver your baby and finish the nursing period before microdermal abrasion Your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy and nursing and microdermal abrasion systems may cause irritation or severe scarring. This procedure is also not recommended for pregnant and nursing women because hormonal changes during this period may reduce the effectiveness of the procedure.
A: Macrodermabrasion eliminates acne scars, stretch marks, enlarged or clogged pores, fine wrinkles, liver spots, hyper pigmentation, uneven skin texture and dull skin by removing the top layer of the skin with a high-pressure jet of micro crystals or using a diamond-tipped wand.
A: By exfoliating the top layer of the skin, micro skin abrasion product cleans deep into the pore and removes excess oil and dirt that clog pores - which causes blackheads. Most blackheads are removed while more stubborn blackheads are reduced.
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