How to Treat Stretch Marks with Microneedling

How to Treat Stretch Marks with Microneedling

Microneedling continues to be a popular option for those seeking a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure with a proven track record.

It is known for being effective at helping to treat a wide variety of different complaints and concerns, but the real range of what it can do may surprise you. 

If you’ve been struggling with visible stretch marks, Skin Pharm is here to help guide you on what your options are! 

What are stretch marks?

Knowing how microneedling stretch marks works involve understanding how they form in the first place.

Essentially, stretch marks are a type of scar. They occur when the skin either stretches or shrinks in a relatively short period of time. Medically, they are referred to as “striae.”   

This happens because the rapid change in the “size” of the skin can rupture its most essential supportive structures — collagen and elastin. 

Collagen is essential because it gives the skin its strength and firmness, and elastin holds the skin more together and keeps it flexible and resilient. 

Stretch marks form as the skin heals from that rupturing. However, it doesn’t happen to everyone every time. It may have to do with a fluctuation of hormones in the body, and genetics may also impact the odds of developing them. 

They are most likely to occur during puberty and pregnancy and after periods of rapid weight loss or gain (including muscle gains due to weight lifting).

They can also form anywhere on the body, although most people tend to have them on their breasts, abdomen, upper arms, thighs and buttocks. 

New stretch marks versus old stretch marks

An easier way to judge how long a stretch mark has been present is by looking at its color. While this differs due to the natural color of your skin, newer stretch marks tend to be pink, red, purple, dark brown, or reddish-brown. 

You may also notice itching, and the area may feel slightly more raised. Newer stretch marks are those that are under a year old. They appear to be so “raw” because, without as many layers of the epidermis on top of them, it is much easier to see the blood vessels present under them.

As time goes on, the color of the stretch mark will begin to fade to either white or silver. Treating older stretch marks is going to be far less effective than treating newer ones. Consistency is also key.

Remember that stretch marks are permanent

It’s important to mention that microneedling stretch marks, and other treatments aimed at minimizing their visibility, are not a “cure.” 

Stretch marks are considered permanent scars on your body and won’t ever fully disappear (except having plastic surgery to remove them physically). The goal of treatment is to fade them as much as possible and make them less noticeable. 

Treatment can also help to minimize the amount of itching you experience. Because stretch marks are a scar, topical treatments aren’t all that impactful. That is because they can only affect the very top layer of the skin, the epidermis. 

Stretch marks, however, are formed in the middle layer. While the creams can definitely be moisturizing for the skin and potentially help reduce the risk of developing future stretch marks, they do nothing to “fix” the real issue.

Microneedling 101

Microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that is usually done in a medical office setting. While microneedling tools are marketed to be used at home, the process is most effective and safe when performed by a licensed, trained professional. 

The basic concept of microneedling is that it uses minor, controlled “wounds” to the skin, made with a dermatological tool that contains tiny, shallow needles to supercharge the skin’s healing ability. The body responds to this targeted damage by increasing its production of collagen and elastin in the area. That is why microneedling is sometimes referred to as Collagen Induction Therapy. 

Most microneedling treatments start with the skin being thoroughly cleansed. After that, a topical anesthetic cream is applied to help minimize any potential discomfort that you may experience. 

Then your practitioner will use the microneedling tool on the areas you’re targeting, which most people describe as a sensation similar to a vacuum and a razor. Don’t be surprised if your skin also bleeds a little as the needles puncture into the skin. The entire process takes about an hour from start to finish. 

How does microneedling work for stretch marks?

Stretch marks are the ultimate disruption in the collagen and elastin of the skin. That’s why microneedling stretch marks can be an effective way to minimize their visibility. When the microneedling tool is directed to the stretch mark area, it jumpstarts the production of both. More collagen and elastin in the area help heal the damaged connective tissue that caused it. 

This is an effective way of managing stretch marks because, unlike the expensive creams on the market, microneedling can penetrate deeply into the skin. Instead of treating the surface layer, microneedling can puncture the dermis (the skin’s middle layer), where the stretch marks originate. 

Studies have shown how well microneedling stretch marks can work, as well, so it’s not all just anecdotal. However, to experience the best results possible, you’ll likely need more than one treatment. 

We recommend four to six treatments, with four to six weeks between them to allow the skin to heal. Results are normally noticeable between one to two weeks after treatment is complete. 

PRP can boost results even further

While microneedling stretch marks are impactful on their own, adding PRP to your treatment can help you see even more impressive results. 

For those not familiar with PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, it is a treatment that comes from your own body. More specifically, PRP is a component of the blood. When you add PRP to your microneedling procedure, one of our providers will draw your blood during your treatment and spin it in our centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma.

We then take that PRP and apply it directly onto the treatment area after the numbing cream. Some people also elect to have it injected directly into the skin, allowing it to penetrate even further. This has the potential to speed up your healing time and boost collagen production even further.  

That’s because PRP harnesses the unique healing potential of your own body. One of the components of your body that is behind the healing process being redistributed to the specific areas that you want to treat creates a superpowered healing effect. 

Are there side effects to microneedling stretch marks?

Microneedling is considered one of the safest and most effective skin treatments out there, but it isn’t without side effects. Luckily, those side effects are usually minimal at best and don’t last for more than just a few days.

The most common side effect that people may notice after a microneedling treatment is to experience redness and sensitivity. Some people may also have tenderness, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers with your healthcare provider’s consent. 

You may also notice some flaking or peeling a few days after treatment, which is a result of the turning over of skin cells. This can be managed by using a gentle moisturizer. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your microneedling provider for more recommendations. 

Other ways to prevent or minimize stretch marks

In addition to using microneedling treatments to help minimize the appearance of stretch marks, making some adjustments to your lifestyle choices can potentially help to prevent them in the first place. 

For so many reasons, it’s important to keep your body hydrated. This is also important to help prevent stretch marks. When your body is dehydrated, it can pull the moisture out of the skin to help the other organs continue to function at an optimal level. With the right amount of water, the skin can be at its most resilient. 

In addition, if you’re planning on losing or gaining weight, make sure that you do it at a safe and healthy pace. This will help you not lose weight too quickly, which is one of the most significant risk factors of developing stretch marks.

To conclude...

Stretch marks are a normal part of life — a roadmap to where you’ve been and what has made you who you are. However, if they impact your self-confidence and ability to see yourself as the beautiful person you are, there’s nothing wrong with taking steps to minimize their appearance. 

Microneedling stretch marks, which we offer at Skin Pharm, is one of the most effective ways of doing that. Not only is it minimally invasive, but it can also help make a difference in a way topical products simply can’t. 

When you’re ready to schedule an appointment, give us a call!

SOURCES:

Stretch marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them | American Academy of Dermatology (aad.org)

Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons | PubMed (nih.gov)

Treatment of striae distensae using needling therapy: a pilot study | PubMed (nih.gov)


Get to Know Kathryn Seeger, NP at Skin Pharm Atlanta
Get to Know Kathryn Seeger, NP at Skin Pharm Atlanta

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