Strech Marks

How to Reduce The Appearance Of Old Stretch Marks

Date Reviewed 16.09.2021
5 min read

Over the years, your body accumulates marks. Your stretch marks can be a testimony of sudden weight gain and loss, growth spurts, pregnancies, or muscle gain. As the months or years have passed, your stretch marks may have faded a bit, but they are still there, and while you may have given up on the idea of reducing the appearance of them, it is still possible.

In this article, we’ll let you in on some of our top tips for old stretch mark care including using:

  • Topical products
  • Chemical peels
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Fractional microneedling radiofrequency (FMR)
  • Laser therapy
  • Cosmetic surgery

How do stretch marks evolve over time?

Depending on your skin type and colour, new stretch marks are often red or pink lines called Striae rubrae. In some darker skinned people fresh stretch marks might appear darker than the surrounding skin (Striae Nigrae)[1].  Most of the time, they are flat or slightly raised, and are the consequences of sudden stretching of the skin. As the months or years pass, they gradually turn into faded, whitish lines, often with a wrinkly aspect, called Striae Albae[2].

Striae rubrae
Straie alba

How can you help improve old stretch mark appearance?

With stretch marks and scars in general, the rule of thumb is “sooner is better”, meaning that results will always be better when you start caring for them early after their first appearance. In general, results will not be as impressive on older stretch marks compared to new ones, but the good news is that, with a bit of work, they can be visibly reduced.

Here are our top tips on how to improve the appearance of old stretch marks:

Topical products:

Topical over-the-counter products are often considered in first line of attack as these are the simple, non-invasive and mostly inexpensive methods. Although product compositions vary, they are generally highly moisturising creams, sometimes formulated with special ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.

The Mederma® portfolio contains one over-the-counter product and one cosmetic oil suitable for stretch mark care. According to a recent survey,[1] Mederma® is the #1 recommended brand of stretch mark creams by US doctors and pharmacist.

Mederma® Stretch Marks

  • Visibly reduces appearance of stretch marks
  • Unique triple benefit formula
  • Nourishing and hydrating

Buy today

Other scar care is rarely necessary, but if topical products fail to deliver the results you seek, you can discuss other, more invasive options with your dermatologist, including:

Chemical Peels

Application of glycolic acid generates a peeling of the superficial layer of the skin, forcing it to regenerate and aiding old stretch mark improvement of their appearance. A recent study showed that glycolic acid decreases stretch mark width and improves colour by increasing melanin[3].  Ideally, you should wait 2 weeks between each peel, as it can be aggressive for the skin. Several peels may be needed to obtain satisfying results[4].  Home-use chemical peels can be found, but may not provide the same level results as those used by trained professionals and  dermatologist as they’ll be able to adapt chemical concentrations to your skin type. This can also increase the effect of topical creams.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a mechanical peeling technique. Aluminium oxide/sodium chloride crystals are propelled onto the skin surface at a programmable pressure, and immediately vacuumed back up along with skin debris. By removing the superficial layer of the skin, it stimulates skin regeneration and collagen production. At least 5 weekly sessions are needed before seeing any significant results[5].

Fractional microneedling radiofrequency (FMR)

While penetrating into the skin, microneedles apply radiofrequency energy, inducing collagen and elastin production. After at least 4 monthly sessions, stretch mark width has been shown to be reduced[6].

Laser

By heating the skin, laser beams stimulate collagen and elastin production[7].  This results in improved elasticity, structure and colour of the skin. Several sessions are generally needed to obtain good results, and the treatment must be supervised by a dermatologist.

Cosmetic surgery

As a last resort, and when the methods above did not work, surgery can be considered as an option. It involves excising the skin containing the stretch marks and is only performed when there is excess skin (after weight loss, for example). It is a heavy and expensive surgery which requires post-operative care and a few weeks of down-time.

As Chemical Peeling, Microdermabrasion, FMR and Laser are aggressive for the skin, it is important to apply a good skin barrier to improve skin comfort and facilitate healing process.

References

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