Whilst stretch marks are completely natural and extremely common in both sexes, to some, they can seem unsightly and have damaging effects on self-confidence. For those whose stretch marks make them feel uncomfortable in their own skin, microneedling could be the solution.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are exactly what they sound like. Thanks to its strong elastic fibers, our skin has the natural ability to stretch and contract to the shape of the body. However, sometimes, when our skin grows or shrinks too quickly, like in pregnancy or cases of rapid weight gain or loss, the elastic fibers in the skin can tear, leaving behind the long, thin scars we call stretch marks.
They can appear anywhere on the body except the face, hands, and feet. They are most common in women but are certainly not uncommon in men. At first, these scars usually appear pink, red, or purple. Over time they can fade to a silvery-white or a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone.
What Is Microneedling?
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a non-surgical cosmetic treatment. Professionals use a handheld device with tiny needles at its head to create controlled micro-injuries to the skin. The needles puncture the skin and create tiny channels that penetrate the layers of the skin. The body treats these punctures like wounds, stimulating the skin’s natural healing ability, producing new skin tissue, collagen, and elastin.
A serum may also be applied during the procedure to maximize results. The end result is smoother skin texture, refined lines and wrinkles, and the fading of stretch marks, scars, and hyperpigmentation. The treatment usually takes around 10-30 minutes, depending on the area being treated, and multiple treatments are usually recommended.
How Microneedling Works for Stretch Marks
Our skin has three different layers; the epidermis is the surface, the dermis is the middle layer, and the subcutaneous/hypodermic is the deepest layer. Stretch marks appear in the dermis layer and are a result of the connective tissue being overstretched. As it stretched, the production of collagen is disrupted at a time when it is needed most. The tissue thins and tears and leaves behind red and bruised looking marks, early stretch marks.
During the treatment, the microneedling device will be moved around the affected area, puncturing the skin to help restart the production of collagen and elastin. The needles will puncture far enough to reach the dermis in the middle layer of the skin, causing a reaction directly to the stretch marks rather than just the skin’s surface. The overproduction of elastin and collagen will work to heal the tissue leaving stretch marks feeling smoother, less bumpy, and blending with your natural skin tone.
Who Is Microneedling For?
Microneedling is a treatment that is suitable for practically anyone with any skin type. It is only unsuitable for those with active infections, lesions, or any conditions that can inhibit wound healing. Areas with active acne, or tender acne cysts should be avoided as it can make them more irritated and could possibly spread bacteria. Once the skin has cleared up, the treatment on that area can go ahead.
Does Microneedling for Stretch Marks Hurt?
Everyone has different pain thresholds and what is painful to some, is only slightly uncomfortable to others. Generally, microneedling can be performed without any numbing solution or anesthesia and has been described by many as a tolerable discomfort. Again, this can depend on the needle size, with larger needles obviously causing more pain.
Depending on where you choose to have this treatment done will depend on whether you have the choice of any numbing products being used. Check with your practitioner before your appointment if this is something that worries you. Personally, I felt a mild pain during the first minute or so, with it easing into a slightly uncomfortable, annoying feeling pretty quickly. Overall it was very manageable and left me with no fear of returning for my next appointment.
After Effects of Microneedling for Stretch Marks
Straight after the treatment, you may experience mild redness, slight swelling, and sensitivity. It is often compared to mild sunburn. These effects usually disappear within 24-48 hours. There could also be slight bleeding and bruising, and your skin could feel rough to touch for several days whilst the skin is healing. Within several days you will notice smoother, brighter skin with the full benefits appearing several months later.
It is recommended to avoid sun exposure in the days before and after treatment as it can have negative effects on the treated area.
How Many Sessions Are Needed?
This depends on the individual and the condition of the skin. Typically, a series of three to six treatments with a four to a six-week gap between is recommended to treat stretch marks. This allows time for the healing and skin cell regeneration to occur between treatments. The final results should be visible around three months after the last treatment, as the body will still be producing extra collagen up to this time.
Depending on the individual, you may be recommended to have single treatments every six months or yearly for maintenance.
How Is Microneedling Different From Home Derma Rolling
Microneedling performed by a trained expert uses longer needles that can reach the middle and deepest layers of the skin, as opposed to shorter home use needles that puncture just the outer layers. This allows for more intensive and effective treatments that create long-lasting results. You are also benefiting from the knowledge and precision of a trained expert. The treatment takes place in a sterile environment using high-quality, medical-grade needles.
Your practitioner will talk you through the treatment and make treatment decisions based on your individual issues. They will be able to guide you on pre and post-treatment care and give the advice to ensure the best possible results.
Microneedling is a highly effective treatment for stretch marks. It can also be used to treat a range of other skin complaints such as acne scars, age spots, uneven skin tone, scars, fine lines and wrinkles, large pores, and reduced skin elasticity. Visit the Yastrid website for more information on Microneedling and to see our full range of products.