- Stretch marks are caused by rapid growth, often due to pregnancy, weight gain and puberty.
- Microdermabrasion is a treatment that fades stretch marks by encouraging the growth of new skin cells.
- It may take up to 10 microdermabrasion treatments to achieve the desired effect.
- Alternatives include topical creams and laser treatments.
Stretch marks are an incredibly common skin complaint, yet often leave many individuals feeling self-conscious about their body. Microdermabrasion is a non-surgical treatment that helps to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, although it can take time to achieve the desired results.
What Are Stretch Marks and What Causes Them?
Stretch marks are lines and streaks that appear across the skin, as a result of the skin being stretched too quickly. They can be found anywhere on your body, although are most common on your:
Stretch marks occur in the middle layer of your skin, known as the dermis. They may appear red or purple to begin with, before losing pigmentation over time. Stretch marks can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Gaining or losing weight quickly
- Prolonged use of steroid creams
Stretch marks affect up to 90% of women during pregnancy. The rapid growth and weight gain around the abdominal area causes the skin around your stomach and hips to stretch, especially during the last trimester.
Puberty, especially during rapid growth spurts, often causes areas of the skin to become stretched. Similarly, gaining a lot of weight in a short amount of time will often stretch the skin – this may also happen if you quickly lose a significant amount of weight too.
The prolonged use of steroid creams has a negative impact on the collagen levels in your skin – a protein responsible for maintaining your skin’s structure and elasticity.
Can Microdermabrasion Remove Stretch Marks?
Yes. Multiple studies have revealed that microdermabrasion effectively reduces the appearance of stretch marks. However, regular sessions are essential – up to 10 sessions may be required before achieving the desired result.
How does it work?
Microdermabrasion works by buffing the top layer of your skin, known as the epidermis. During the treatment, a handheld device is used to spray a stream of exfoliating microcrystals over your skin. This process buffs away dead skin cells and stimulates the growth of new, healthy cells.
When used to treat stretch marks, the microdermabrasion device is applied directly onto the affected areas. By buffing away the top layer of skin, this allows your body to replace it with a new, smoother layer.
Cost of Microdermabrasion
In-office microdermabrasion costs can vary depending on your location and the practice you choose. Typically, the cost per microdermabrasion session ranges between $75 – $300. As repeat sessions are required (often between 5-10), the treatment can start to become costly.
At-home microdermabrasion kits are a cheaper alternative, ranging from $75 to $300. While it may seem like a good deal, these kits often carry more risks. Improper use of these devices may damage your skin, causing abrasions and scarring. The results from at-home devices are unlikely to be as effective as an in-office treatment performed by a professional dermatologist.
Other Benefits of Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion also provides several other benefits:
- Microdermabrasion is a gentler option compared to other treatments. You shouldn’t experience pain or discomfort during the procedure.
- It’s a quick procedure; on average, each microdermabrasion treatment takes around 30 minutes.
- Despite the need for regular sessions, microdermabrasion is often more cost-effective than other treatments, such as laser resurfacing.
- It can also be used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scarring and hyperpigmentation.
Alternative Treatments for Stretch Marks
There are alternative in-office and at-home treatments for stretch marks, ranging from topical creams to chemical peels and laser treatments.
Tretinoin is a form of retinoid that works by stimulating collagen production within your skin. Tretinoin creams are widely used to treat stretch marks, and are considered to be as effective as dermabrasion treatments. However, due to their potency, tretinoin creams may irritate your skin.
Chemical peels use a combination of direct acids, such as glycolic and salicylic acid to deeply exfoliate the skin. This process stimulates the production of fresh, new skin cells. Chemical peels have been found to improve the appearance of stretch marks, although they require a longer healing process than microdermabrasion due to the powerful ingredients used.
There are two main forms of laser treatments:
Ablative laser treatments help to fade stretch marks using strong beams of light energy which remove a thin layer of skin from your epidermis. This stimulates the regeneration of fresh, new skin cells. Ablative treatments may cause redness and irritation after the procedure.
Non-ablative laser treatments are a milder alternative that stimulate collagen growth deep within your skin, without the need for any skin to be removed. These treatments have very little side effects, and provide effective results in the fading of stretch marks.
Microdermabrasion has been found to be effective in reducing stretch marks. By exfoliating the affected areas and stimulating new skin cell growth, stretch marks will begin to fade over time. When performed by a professional, microdermabrasion is a quick and pain-free treatment, with very little risk of complication.
Microdermabrasion treatments do not offer immediate results, with dermatologists recommending between 5-10 visits before the desired results are achieved. This may become costly if you have moderate to severe stretch marks.
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