What are the stretch marks?
Rapid increase in stature, rapid variations in weight, pregnancy, and even some medicines can cause a laceration of the dermis (the intermediary layer of the skin) due to the breakage of the collagen fibres, without the breakdown of the tissue continuity at the level of the epidermis (the superficial layer).
Causes the formation of stretch marks
This causes the ‘striae cutis distensae’ (so-called stretch marks), which occur visibly on the skin, initially as reddish-violet streaks, of a different texture from that of the surrounding skin. In time the streaks tend to take on an opalescent white colour, but are, in any case, anti-aesthetically visible as they are a lighter colour than the surrounding skin. Stretch marks are common in those areas of the body which are subject to the expansion of the skin, such as the breast, hips, buttocks and thighs, sometimes even knees and shoulders.
Treatment of stretch marks
The best treatment for stretch marks is obviously to prevent them, but once they have formed, it is nowadays possible to treat them with good results using minimally-invasive non surgical procedures. It is not possible to eliminate them completely, but it is possible to improve their appearance thanks to the non-ablative fractional laser-resurfacing technique, which provides a delicate smoothing action on the skin and the formation of new collagen. The energy of the laser is capable of producing a micro-controlled coagulation of the damaged skin, which in turn stimulates the fibroblasts in the area to renew themselves and produce new collagen. The regeneration of the new skin cells and the increase in collagen transforms the “laddered” tissue into a tissue that is much more similar to the surrounding skin. Several sessions (from 3-6) are needed to obtain an appreciable result. The StarLux Palomar Fractional laser 1540 releases energy in the form of micro rays which penetrate deep into the skin forming deep microcolumns of denaturation which are as deep as 1 mm, but leave the surrounding tissues intact. A natural repairing process with the formation of new collagen stems from these areas of tissue which are not damaged. The fractioning of the laser energy emission process allows for a rapid recovery without the long convalescence needed in traditional resurfacing techniques. A cycle of treatment takes from 2 to 5 months and the only precaution needed is not to get sunburnt or to expose oneself to a source of UV light between the various sessions. A similar method prescribes the use of the dermaroller combined with retinoic acid. In this case, as well, the regeneration of the tissues, which is started by the mechanical micro-trauma, is further stimulated by the retinoic acid, which is capable of stimulating the regeneration of the dermis.