3 Types of Stretch Mark Treatment
There are many treatments on the market that can help to get rid of stretch marks fast depend on the various types of stretch marks. Those treatments can be classified into three (3) types, there are over-the-counter (OTC) stretch mark creams, the prescription medicated stretch mark removals and the laser treatments. Each of these treatments has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Some of the treatments can only be applied after the mother has given birth and has stopped breastfeeding. The results usually depend on the age and severity of the marks. For better results, a combination of treatments can also be used. For instance, some people combine successfully natural therapies with more radical measures, such as the laser treatment.
1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Stretch Mark Creams
OTC stretch mark creams are one of the most popular solutions, as they can be safely used by almost all women who want to prevent stretch marks or reduce their unaesthetic effects. Many of these creams include natural extracts from plants and vitamins meant to hydrate the skin, improve collagen and elasticity. There are creams based on extracts from grape seeds, with a rich content in C, A, E and D3 vitamins and on other natural ingredients like cocoa butter or aloe vera.
OTC creams are usually recommended to all women predisposed to develop stretch marks and they are available without a prescription in many online and regular stores. Most of them can be used even during pregnancy, as a preventive solution, on the areas of the body where stretch marks are likely to appear, for example TriLASTIN. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, embodied by some creams whose ingredients, although highly efficient, have the potential to cause accidental allergic reactions.
In general, OTC creams help reduce the prominence of the stretch marks and are mostly effective throughout their early stages, when their color tends to red (red stretch marks). Some of the creams need to be applied for a period of 3 to 4 months, but this period may vary from one cream and producer to another. The results may not be as clear as those obtained through surgery or laser treatments, but the costs are lower, and there is no recovery period involved.
Over-the-counter creams aims to reduce the size of the stretch marks and to adjust their color to the healthy skin’s tone, not to eliminate them entirely. However, given the fact that they are affordable and available for anyone, anytime, without a medical prescription or side-effects, OTC stretch mark creams have gained an amazing popularity, being used not just as treatment, but also for prevention purposes.
2. Prescribed or Medicated Stretch Mark Removals
Medicated stretch mark removals are another solution in hand, with the difference that they are usually recommended by dermatologists or physicians and they are only available based on a medical prescription.
Usually, they contain topical retinoids, derivatives of the vitamin-A that is successfully used to treat severe acne and wrinkles. Their efficiency is based on the fact that they keratinize the cells and, therefore, reduce the formation of scars such as stretch marks. Most of the prescription creams include tretinoin or retinoic acid.
Because of the negative effects their ingredients may have on the baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding, these treatments are not recommended during this period, as they can be absorbed by the body of the mother and transmitted to the baby.
Therefore, most doctors only prescribe medicated stretch marks removals after the mother stops breastfeeding. Just like in the case of their natural alternative, medicated treatments should be applied when the stretch marks are new and still pink or red in color, in order to obtain the best results.
They work by increasing the production of collagen and making the skin more flexible and strong, resistant to stretch marks. In order to obtain noticeable results, a relatively long-term treatment is necessary.
Overall, medicated stretch mark removals are expensive but sometimes more effective than OTC creams. They represent a solution worth taking into account for women who want to avoid aggressive treatments such as laser therapy.
3. Laser Treatments
When it comes to laser treatments, the methods include CO2 and erbium laser therapy, pulsed dye laser therapy, excimer laser and fractional photothermolysis. The lasers use strong light pulses in order to determine the red color of the marks to fade away and to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the skin.
There are various types of laser treatments available depending on one’s skin type and on the severity degree of the marks. Compared to over-the-counter creams, these treatments are efficient even when it comes to older, whitened stretch marks.
For instance, many women with deeper, white stretch marks choose the fractional laser therapy and end up with a smoother, healthier skin. However, this type of treatment is mostly recommended for fair complexions, as dark skin women may suffer from hyperpigmentation.
Both the pulsed dye laser and the fractional photothermolysis treatments encourage the production of collagen and elastin in order to improve the texture of the underlying layers of the skin and reduce the visibility of the stretch marks.
Nonetheless, when applied to people with darker skin tones, they can change the natural color of the skin. For old stretch marks, the excimer laser treatments have the best effects, but they do not stimulate the regeneration of collagen or elastin in the dermis.
In order to achieve the best results, several sessions of treatment are required, depending on the age, size and severity of the stretch marks. This type of treatment tends to be the most effective, as it can also reduce whitened stretch marks, which are otherwise very difficult to hide.
Nevertheless, laser therapy can prove costly and, therefore, not many people can afford it. Depending on the degree of invasiveness and the costs, quite a people decide to try the other more affordable solutions before resuming to laser therapy.