Stretch marks are a fiendishly difficult thing to treat. Anatomically, they represent a tear in the deep, strength layer of the skin (dermis). Stretch marks typically manifest after prolonged tension or “stretch” is placed on the skin. This can occur following pregnancy, rapid growth during adolescence, and prolonged weight gain. The dermis, which is comprised primarily of collagen and elastin fibers, gives way after this unabated stress.
How do you treat stretch marks? Historically, the simplest but also most extreme treatment involved cutting out the damaged skin. A common example of this approach is an abdominoplasty. For those patients who need an abdominoplasty due to skin redundancy and a damaged muscle wall, this is a great solution. However, many patients with stretch marks do not want or need an abdominoplasty.
Another exciting treatment for stretch marks that we offer at Providence Plastic Surgery and Skin Center is Stratamark, a paintable, silicone-based treatment developed by Stratapharma out of Switzerland. It is clinically proven and has been cleared by the FDA for use on stretch marks. Stratamark can soften and flatten raised or depressed stretch marks, reduced redness and discoloration, and relieve itching and discomfort. Stratamark is so effective it can even be used in the prevention of stretch marks during the pregnancy process.
Finally, stretch marks can often be red and inflammatory, causing them to be visually more obvious. A solution to this vexing problem is either IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) or the 532 nm KTP laser, both of which can target red or bluish tinge associated with some immature stretch marks. Providence Plastic Surgery is the first in the Charlotte area to have the SOTA EVO platform from Quanta. Produced out of Italy, the SOTA EVO platform incorporates both devices in one box.
The SOTA stretch mark protocols at Providence Plastic Surgery will involve a combination of the above technologies including microneedling (SkinPen) plus Stratamark. If there is an inflammatory component, the EVO laser platform can be added.