Stretch Marks are notoriously difficult to get rid of and many topical solutions such as creams and moisturisers are ineffective. Microneedling has become popular in recent years as a potential cosmetic solution for this common problem, but does it work?
The team at Koha in Berkhamsted are experts in all things skin, including the treatment of stretch marks. Here we take a look at what causes stretch marks and whether microneedling is one possible way to reduce their appearance.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
The technical name for stretch marks is striae distensae and they occur when the skin is under tension, for example, during pregnancy. Into the last trimester and after birth you often see stretch marks, particularly as the stomach returns to its normal size. The skin shows tell-tale indented streaks that can look discoloured. Both boys and girls who have growth spurts in their teens can find stretch marks developing. You can also develop them if you lose or gain weight too quickly.
Stretch marks are neither dangerous nor painful but they are certainly unsightly. In most cases, they disappear naturally over time. When the skin stretches or shrinks too rapidly it causes the collagen and elastin to break up and this stops it from being able to repair and regenerate.
There are various approaches to helping reduce stretch marks including a wide variety of skin creams. Microneedling is the use of small needles to puncture the skin around the stretch marks, causing minor ‘wounds’. When done in a controlled way, this creates inflammation that helps to promote collagen and elastin production. This process takes place as the mini wounds begin to heal.
One of the key factors in microneedling is the depth of penetration. Most home solutions that use a roller-type device only penetrate the skin for less than a third of a millimetre. For more effective treatment, professional microneedling services penetrate up to three millimetres. This produces a much bigger response from the body and can help reduce stretch marks more significantly.
Can it Reduce Stretch Marks?
While there are few research studies to date, there are some that point to microneedling as being an effective cosmetic treatment.
A study in Dermatological Surgery in 2020, looked at 25 patients who were given microneedling one to three times over consecutive months. Patients showed between 50% and 70% observable improvement in stretch marks, and this applied to those with both light and dark skin tones.
What Happens During Microneedling?
Microneedling is generally used on areas of the body such as the thighs and upper arms, buttocks, and abdominal wall, which is where most stretch marks tend to occur. Tiny needle points are applied to the skin by a trained professional using a pen-like device in the area where the stretch marks have occurred.
One of the concerns that people have with this type of cosmetic procedure is the potential for pain. It shouldn’t hurt very much at all if it’s being administered by a professional. Some people do feel uncomfortable, but this doesn’t last very long.
Once the microneedling procedure has been completed, an individual may see some redness around the area that has been treated but this quickly resolves. Results do not appear straight away, but you should expect to see a difference after about 4 to 6 weeks.