What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are line-shaped stripes that are caused by the stretching and tearing of the subcutaneous supportive tissue. Basically, they are subcutaneous lesions and scars. Stretch marks are often red/purple in colour and are very common in both men and women.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched relatively quickly.
This causes tears to occur in the subcutaneous supportive tissue. The upper skin layer remains intact, but the deeper layer – which is mainly supportive tissue – stretches and tears. However, these tears are not immediately visible; they only become visible when the skin weakens and shrinks. Contrary to what many people think, the cause of stretch marks is not losing weight, but (accelerated) weight or (muscle) mass gain.
The younger the skin, the greater the risk of stretch marks. The occurrence of stretch marks is largely based on genetic predisposition. It is suspected that hormones also play a role in the occurrence of stretch marks.
Marks that are the result of rapid weight gain are mostly found on the abdomen, the upper arms, and thighs. In young people, stretch marks may occur on the lower back or legs during their growth spurt. Young people who engage in intensive fitness training or regular horse-riding can also develop stretch marks due to an increase in muscle mass.
During a pregnancy, the process can be accelerated. Not only does the skin stretch, but thanks to pregnancy hormones, there is also a weakening of the subcutaneous connective tissue. This usually happens around the fifth month. Pregnancy stretch marks occur both in the abdominal zone and near the breasts.
Men and stretch marks
Men can also suffer from stretch marks. After puberty or intensive fitness training, the skin cannot keep up with the accelerated increase in length or (muscle) mass. Men who take steroids have an increased risk of stretch marks.
Preventing stretch marks
To prevent stretch marks, it is important to keep the skin as supple and hydrated as possible. This reduces the chance of the connective tissue tearing when the skin stretches. Think of intensive use of an anti-stretch mark cream or, for instance, Argan Oil or Bio Oil.
Avoid rapid weight gain or muscle mass gain. Support the tense skin with elastic tights or corrective underwear. By providing counter-pressure, the skin is supported. If you want to reduce stretch marks by exercising or losing weight, you should focus on setting long-term goals.
Bepanthen balsam, a supportive belly band, and a good, sturdy bra can prevent pregnancy stretch marks.
Treating stretch marks
No treatment can fully remove stretch marks. But by combining different treatments such as microdermabrasion, fractional laser, (chemical) peelings, we come pretty close.
Cream for stretch marks
Stretch marks consist of scar tissue with very limited blood flow. Creams you buy at the drugstore, despite promises made, result in no improvement because they are not strong enough to truly penetrate the skin. Tretinoin cream improves the elastin and collagen in the skin and inhibits the breakdown of collagen.
At Kliniek Dokter Frodo, we have developed a treatment technique in which we combine carboxy therapy with microneedling, glycolic acid peelings, and laser.
The quatriple therapy by Kliniek Dokter Frodo against stretch marks
To reduce stretch marks and the associated cellulite, we generally recommend 3 treatments with quatriple therapy in which the individual treatments reinforce each other with amazing results:
- • The stretch marks become less visible
- • The colour of the stretch marks improves
- • Also reduces stretch marks after pregnancy
- • The skin of the stretch marks ‘normalises’ because new, flexible collagen is produced
- • The skin becomes tighter, which makes stretch marks less elevated or ‘ribbed’
Stretch mark treatment
Behind every stretch mark is a different story. Therefore, prior to any treatment, there is a consultation without obligation.
In many situations, during the consultation, we can determine that we can help you and discuss the various treatment methods with you.
Usually, during the initial consultation, you will receive a prescription for stretch mark cream (tretinoin cream with ascorbyl palmitate) to supplement the treatment at the clinic. This Vitamin A cream, especially when combined with carboxy therapy, laser, and microneedling, ensures the gradual recovery of your skin. It is necessary to avoid exposure to direct sunlight on the treated skin during the treatment period.
About 30 to 45 minutes prior to the treatment, we ask you to apply an anaesthetic cream to the skin area to be treated (Emla). With cling film, you make sure the cream is properly absorbed and that your clothing is protected.
Step 1A: Microneedling treatment
Here, we treat the stretch marks with a dermaroller with 200 very fine needles. This creates microchannels in the skin and the scar tissue, and stimulates the production of new collagen and elastin. Two building blocks of a healthy and vital skin.
What you can expect after the microneedling
As with any safe skin improvement, the result only becomes properly visible after a few months. However, after rolling a few times, you do already notice that your skin becomes stronger, tighter, and has better blood circulation.
Step 1B: Stretch mark lasering
We also treat stretch marks with a laser. Lasering allows us to make the surface of the skin smoother and improve the colour of the stretch marks. The skin become smoother, which makes the stretch makes less noticeable.
The treatment feels like someone is shooting an elastic band at your skin.
What you can expect after the laser treatment
We perform the stretch mark laser treatment with the Erbium-YAG laser by Alma. This is a laser from the top segment which has an American FDA certification. The result is visible even after the first treatment.
Carboxy therapy treatment
Carboxy therapy is one of the most effective treatments against stretch marks, whereby gaseous CO2 is injected into the skin with a tiny needle. This improved blood circulation, but more importantly, it ensures that the scar tissue (which consists of ‘hard connective tissue’) is released and replaced by soft, normal connective tissue.
What can you expect after the carboxy therapy?
Immediately after the treatment, the skin is slightly red and swollen. After 10–15 minutes, this fades again. Carboxy fades the scar tissue.
Glycolic acid peeling
The glycolic acid peeling not only removes the top layer of dead skin cells, but also penetrates deeper into the dermis, where it corrects and restructures the cell division. Glycolic acid also stimulates the fibroblasts, which are responsible for the production of elastin and collagen fibres.
What you can expect after the peeling
After the peeling, the skin may be slightly red and sensitive. This fades again quite quickly. The skin cycle takes approximately 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, the skin is visibly smoother.
Experiences stretch mark treatment
Reducing stretch marks
‘The stretch marks on my stomach and legs made me very insecure. When I was growing, I already had some stretch marks here and there. But after my pregnancy, they got much worse. It was so bad that I was afraid to be on the beach in a top and shorts. After the treatment, the stretch marks are not entirely gone, but they are 10 times better!’
Lasering stretch marks
Reducing stretch marks with lasering. ‘You have to be quite determined, because the treatment is quite intense and you need to repeat it a few times. For me, it was worth it. I am very happy with it and would recommend it to anyone.’
Removing stretch marks
Removing stretch marks. ‘I was a bit sceptical about the treatment, and I waited at least 2 years before I dared to take the step. Now, 6 treatments later, I am very happy with the result. The marks are still visible, but much less so.’
Removing stretch marks at Kliniek Dokter Frodo
If you choose to have your stretch marks reduced at Kliniek Dokter Frodo, you choose an experienced team with cosmetic doctors and skin therapists who will honestly inform you about the possibilities and proceed in a safe manner.
Are you curious about whether a stretch mark treatment at Kliniek Dokter Frodo meets your expectations? We are happy to provide you with honest and transparent advice about the possibilities during a consultation.