According to Google Trends the search for the term “stretch marks” reached its peak sometime around July, which makes sense as warmer weather begs for less clothes and more skin. However, experts say instead of treating stretch marks during certain seasons, we should pay attention to when they start forming, as the sooner you start the better chance you have at successful results.
If stretch marks are less than a few month old, tretinoin can be prescribed to rebuild a protein in the skin called collagen. “It speeds up skin cell turnover and can help improve the appearance of stretch marks if used everyday postpartum,” notes founder of Skinuva, Beverly Hills, CA oculoplastic surgeon Christopher Zoumalan, MD.
Houston, TX plastic surgeon Olga Bachilo, MD says radio-frequency microneedling will also trigger collagen production and is a great solution for minimizing stretch marks. “The best time to treat them is when they’re fresh. However, radio-frequency microneedling works to decrease existing marks as well,” she explains. “I perform the PiXel8-RF microneedling treatment and the needles deliver the radio-frequency energy deep within the skin layers to remodel collagen and increase skin quality.”
Once the stretch mark becomes white, in addition to resurfacing lasers and energy based devices, Miami dermatologist Alyx Rosen Aigen, MD says hyperdiluted biostimulatory fillers like Sculptra or Radiesse can minimize them. “These will increase collagen and dermal strength to improve the overall appearance,” she explains.
Pulse Dye Laser Treatments
Blacksburg, VA dermatologist Aleksandra Brown, MD says she often treats postpartum patients with a pulse dye laser to reduce their red stretch marks after baby. “It does wonders for women, not just physically, but also emotionally. It also helps boost self-esteem after such a big life change.”
New York dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD says once active and red stretch marks “burn out” they become harder to manage. To treat the red marks on this 33-year-old patient’s stomach she used the V-Beam Prima pulse dye laser. “The treatment is not painful and is done without numbing or downtime,” says Dr. Markowitz.