Double Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dallas-Fort Worth
Stretch marks (striae) are a form of scar that forms as a result of skin stretching beyond its capacity. Specifically, tearing occurs at the dermis. Stretch marks can form during pregnancy, especially at the third trimester. Affected areas usually involve the abdomen but also the breasts, thighs and buttocks at times. Weight gain can also cause stretch marks and can involve the thighs, upper arms and buttocks. Also, weight lifters who rapidly build muscle mass can develop stretch marks in areas like the anterior shoulders.
During the initial phase of stretch mark development, lesions appear reddish or purple and are slightly raised. Over time, they decrease in size and lose pigmentation. When mature, they appear hypo-pigmented.
Who is a Good Candidate for Microneedling for Stretch Marks?
If you have stretch marks and are generally healthy, you may be a good candidate for microneedling. This treatment works differently than chemical peels and lasers. Without acids and heat, microneedling is appropriate for all skin types. The primary considerations that you may need to make as you explore this treatment include your ability or willingness to undergo multiple sessions and your expectations. Microneedling may not completely eliminate all stretch marks. Through its stimulation of collagen and elastin production, it can significantly improve most of them.
Is There Any Recovery After Microneedling Treatment for Stretch Marks?
No. Microneedling is a proven, convenient treatment that requires very little aftercare and zero downtime. You can resume most of your normal activities immediately after your sessions. Your provider may advise you to avoid excessive heat and soaking in water for 24 to 48 hours. Usually, by the day after treatment, the tiny punctures and the inflammatory response they cause have resolved.
How Long Does it Take to See Results from Microneedling for Stretch Marks?
It is important to know what to expect from microneedling for stretch marks so you do not lose patience with the collagen remodeling process. Microneedling works by stimulating natural tissue repair through the remodeling of collagen and elastin in the skin. While some results may begin to appear in a matter of weeks, the full effects of this treatment occur over several months. Your stretch marks should look dramatically better around six months after your final treatment session.
Are There Any Side Effects from Microneedling?
Because microneedling works by creating tiny injuries in the upper layers of the skin, you can expect some side effects. However, because those injuries are micro-injuries, your side effects won't last long. The most common side effects of microneedling treatment include redness and subtle swelling. You may experience bruising. Though this is normal, it's not the most common side effect, especially in areas where there is more fatty tissue. Your skin may also feel sore or sensitive for a short time. The side effects that occur after microneedling may resolve within about one week.
Will My Stretch Marks Come Back After Microneedling?
As long as your skin in the treatment area does not get stretched excessively in the future, you can expect your microneedling results to be long-lasting. Microneedling works by actually remodeling your tissue, so we expect the effects of treatment to remain indefinitely.
Is Microneedling Painful?
Microneedling can be uncomfortable because we are passing a needle-clad device over your skin. Usually, patients who receive microneedling in areas where there is more fatty tissue, like the abdomen or thighs, don't feel as much discomfort as those who receive treatment on the face. Some areas of the body are naturally more sensitive than others. Your provider may apply a topical numbing cream prior to beginning your procedure. This does not completely numb the area but it can significantly reduce surface sensations.
Why do you get stretch marks?
Although not fully understood, it is believed that overstretching at the skin dermis causes collagen and elastin fibers to rupture, resulting in scars (stretch marks) during the healing process. The hormone, cortisone may also have a role. An increase in cortisone levels can increase stretch marks by reducing skin pliability. It does this by inhibiting fibroblasts from producing collagen and elastin fibers, which keep rapidly growing skin taut.
Stretch Mark Treatment with MicroNeedling
With the use of microneedling, controlled micro-injury at the dermal level can result in stimulation of collagen production that can dramatically improve the appearance of stretch marks. Microneedling utilizes a pen-like medical device with very fine needles. Penetrating depths can be up to 2mm. A numbing cream is applied to the affected area of stretch marks and then the microneedling treatment is performed without any pain. Each treatment takes about 30 minutes in duration. There is minimal to no downtime with mild redness lasting for 1 day after treatment. Optimal results require 6 treatments spread apart by one month in between sessions. Although stretch marks (like any other scars) do not completely disappear, their visibility can be significantly minimized.