About
Stretch Marks

Stretch Marks Removal

Stretch marks removal are major concerns to millions of men and women all over the world, and have been for centuries.  These unsightly lesions are predominantly caused by over stretching of the skin, in particular the middle layer, known as the dermis.  They are not easy to eradicate as the damaged area is hard to reach and being scars they can never be removed completely.  And there is no technique at present that can return the scar area to its uninjured appearance (What is a Scar?  American Academy of Dermatology, 2008 – PAM 35  05/04).  However, that’s  not to be too disheartened as there are many treatments that can help to improve their appearance.

Creams and Lotions

Creams and lotions are a multibillion dollar industry and though they can’t eradicate stretch marks completely they can help to stop them from spreading and improve their appearance.   Prescription creams containing vitamin A claim to be able to regenerate skin cells and moisturising creams such as cocoa butter can keep the skin soft, supple, and elastic. 

Surgery

Surgery is a more dramatic way of removing stretch marks.  Laser surgery cannot remove stretch marks completely but it can make them fade.   Treatment when the stretch marks are still red and in their early stages offer the best chances of success.  Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is an invasive procedure that can remove stretch marks from between the naval and the pubic area. Dermabrasion removes the surface of the skin by abrasion.  It’s a painful procedure and usually requires a general anaesthetic. A chemical peel is a possibility for mild or early stage stretch marks.

The Future of Stretch Mark Removal

Scars are a natural part of the healing process.   They are an area of tissue that replaces normal skin after injury.  When the dermis is damaged the body produces collagen fibers which are laid down at the site of the wound.  These are naturally occurring proteins but the scar tissue they produce is of  inferior quality and appearance to the tissue being replaced.  In theory any scientific research that can find ways of speeding up wound healing and reducing the appearance of scars will be equally applicable to the removal of stretch marks.  And here, there are grounds for optimism.

Researchers at Bristol University in England have identified a gene involved in the scarring process, worked out how to suppress it and have been developing a gel that results in less scarring (Mori R, Shaw T, Martin P.  Molecular mechanisms lining wound inflammation and fibrosis: knockdown of osteopontin leads to rapid repair and reduced scarring.  J Exp Med.  Jan 2008; 205: 43-510).

Early clinical trials in the UK of a drug called Avotermin are showing incredible results.  People involved in the trials were given 1cm full thickness skin incisions on both arms, and scars formed.  One wound was treated with a drug and the other with a placebo.  Subjects were monitored for a year and overall the scars treated with the drug looked more like normal skin than those treated with the placebo (Ferguson M, Prophylactic administration of avotermin for improvement of skin scarring: three double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase l/lll studies. The Lancet; 373( 9671): 1264-1274, 11 April 2009).

Disclaimer:  The information provided within this site is not meant to be a substitute for a medical doctor's opinion.  This site is for informational purposes ONLY.  Please check with your medical practitioner before any type of treatment or prevention method is started.

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