Stretch marks can occur in men and women of all ages. Medically referred to as striae distensae, striae rubrae (early stretch marks), and striae gravidarum (post-pregnancy stretch marks), these scar tissue formations happen when dermal layer collagen and elastin rupture following rapid and extensive changes in body composition. Pregnancy, bodybuilding, growth spurts, medical conditions (like Marfan Syndrome and Cushing’s Syndrome), and medications like corticosteroids can all be considered 'risk factors' for the formation of stretch marks (learn more in our complete guide to Stretch Mark Concerns). And while scars are difficult to treat, dermatologists and plastic surgeons can assist candidates in determining effective methods to reduce the appearance of or even remove stretch marks.
Who may consider procedures for stretch marks?
Stretch marks, while most commonly associated with pregnant women, are not unique to expecting and new mothers. Men and women who experience significant changes in their body composition are at risk for stretch mark formation.
- Post-Pregnancy: The expanding uterus forces skin to grow rapidly and accommodate the baby which can lead to the classic abdominal stretch mark.
- Bodybuilders: Extreme bodybuilding (definitely not your typical fitness enthusiast or athlete) can cause rapid tissue expansions that lead to dermal layer damage and stretch mark formation.
- Extreme Weight Changes: Massive shifts in weight (weight gain or weight loss) over a short span of time may similarly cause damage to skin matrix proteins which will lead to the creation of scar tissue and the appearance of stretch marks.
It is important to note that not all individuals who fit into the above categories will experience stretch mark formation. Genetic factors and other skin conditions will influence an individual’s likelihood to develop scar tissue.
What can you expect from stretch mark procedures?
The results and efficacy of stretch mark procedures will vary by the technique and the timing. Early at home interventions will be effective, but typically only have minimal to mild impact on the appearance of stretch marks. Professional interventions like lasers and microdermabrasion will see better results over a series of sessions. Surgical procedures like tummy tucks will be definitive in treating the stretch marks, but are not appropriate for all candidates and all types of stretch marks.
When should you consider stretch mark procedures?
Timing is an important consideration when determining the most appropriate method for treating stretch marks. Early stretch marks may be benefited by at home, minimally invasive solutions like daily massage and topical skincare.
Stretch marks that have matured (usually around 12 months) would be better suited to professional interventions. Individuals considering treating their stretch marks can, therefore, consider beginning with at-home interventions and then seeking professional treatments later in the scar formation process. A discussion with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon can assist candidates in making this decision.
Why should you consider stretch mark procedures?
The decision to pursue a stretch mark treatment is personal to the individual candidate. Some men and women may not be concerned with the appearance of their stretch marks or the location may be inconspicuous. For those who are dissatisfied with the aesthetic of these lesions, a surgical or non-surgical procedure for stretch marks can help to restore skin tone, skin texture, overall body appearance, and personal confidence.
Non-Surgical Procedures to Treat Stretch Marks
At-home and minimally invasive in-office procedures can reduce the appearance of stretch marks through repeated therapies.
- Massage Therapy & OTC Skincare+
Surgical Procedures to Treat Stretch Marks
In some cases, plastic surgery procedures can not only reduce the appearance of stretch marks but also provide body contouring.
Skin elasticity and collagen production are pretty amazing feats of the human body, however, our powerful dermis connective tissues cannot always accommodate the rapid growth our bodies undergo. When the side effects of these body transformations lead to undesirable stretch mark formation, dermatology and plastic surgery interventions can help to restore skin tone and skin texture.