Women of all ages regardless of height, weight or parental status are
susceptible to stretch marks. This is a simple fact. Another fact, which
will hopefully make you feel a bit better, is that supermodels – yes, even the
bikini models you see in Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret, do indeed have
stretch marks. If you’re like the 95% of the women out there you prefer
If you’re like the 95% of the women out there, you prefer those unsightly
stretch marks to be gone. Dr. Kirk Brandow, founder, and director of the
Brandow Clinic in for Cosmetic Surgery in Philadelphia who has appeared
on national programs such as Good Morning America and 20/20 offering
insights on cosmetic surgery, shares the real deal on stretch mark
solutions with several facts on popular procedures and topical options
to prevent and remove stretch marks.
Here’s what he has to say.
*Option #1: Topical Creams & Preventative Foods*
“There are a variety of topical treatments, the ones with cocoa butter are
the trend, but they won’t do much if anything to improve severe stretch
marks. These creams and oils perform better when used as preventive
measures because fully developed stretch marks are rarely skin-deep,”
explains Dr. Brandow.
Gelatin powder has been suggested as a great way to get more collagen into
your system. Coconut oil mixed with beeswax is said to prevent stretch
marks, especially when applied throughout the day. Eating foods rich in
vitamin C can help prevent stretch marks from the inside out. Adding things
like red peppers, parsley, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts are good bets.
*Option #2: Lasers*
Many women who have post pregnancy stretch marks turn to lasers to
eliminate this unwanted scarring. Kim Kardashian recently announced via her
Snapchat that she would undergo laser treatments to rid her stretch marks.
The Coolbeam laser, which is the one Kim Kardashian is going with, requires
up to 5 treatments at around $5,000 per treatment which adds up to $25,000.
Lasers are known for high level of safety and efficacy and most patients
come away very pleased with the result. The treated area heals rather
quickly, within a week to three weeks.
“Lasers are far less invasive than a tummy tuck, which has a much longer
recovery time. Lasers do have some risk in that they can burn the skin or
cause tissue damage. Therefore, it’s very important to choose a doctor who
knows what they are doing,” advises Dr. Brandow.
*Option #3: Platelet Rich Plasma with Micro-needling*
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been around for the past two decades and
used to help athletes like Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriquez recover from
injury. A few years ago, the “Vampire Facial” made headlines when
Micro-needling was added to the procedure offering a vibrant, smooth,
flawless complexion. The results were so great that cosmetic surgeons
started to explore other parts of the body such as stretch marks on the
buttocks, breast, arms, thighs and abdomen.
This calls for blood to be taken from the patient then put into a machine
that separates the platelet-rich plasma from the blood. It is then spread
over the face after the micro-needling is completed. The micro-needling is
a process where a pen-like tool with several tiny needles at the tip is
carefully guided over the affected area making microscopic holes on both
the outer and inner layers of skin. These holes are so small that they heal
within a few hours. The process triggers a healing response in the dermis
layer which is what causes the fast fading of stretch marks. Doctors
recommend micro-needling with PRP over any other treatment because the
results are significant and the cost is about $1000 per session.
“Micro-needling with PRP is a combination that offers a fast, in office
option, with excellent results and is less costly than lasers,” explains
Dr. Brandow who was recently on TV speaking of the procedure.
Dr. Brandow adds that the advantage of micro-needling with PRP for stretch
marks over lasers is a lesser chance of scarring and skin
discoloration. “Skin on the body is more susceptible to hyperpigmentation
than on the face making Micro-needling is a safer option for ethnicities
with varying skin tones. This is a big advantage over cool beam lasers, IPL
or chemical peels,” he explains.
*Option #4: The Tummy Tuck*
This is the gold standard offering the best results however it’s invasive
and the recovery time is longer. Known as abdominoplasty, the procedure
removes excess skin in the abdominal region and tightens the muscles. The
stretch marks below the belly button are discarded along with the excess
skin. “The tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that comes with risk so
typically candidates must be non-smokers in good physical health as certain
they will not want more kids after surgery. It’s is the only option for
complete and permanent stretch mark removal. Recovery time can be up to 6
weeks and again it is critical that one chooses a reputable doctor. A
botched tummy tuck can lead to off-centered belly buttons, long thick
scars, and dangerous infections,” warns Dr. Brandow.
Ultimately stretch marks are an unfortunate reality that comes with
pregnancy, puberty and any other weight or muscle gain where the skin is
stretched. There are preventative measures one can take. Be very weary of
anything that seems too good to be true and always consult with a
credentialed doctor when considering any kind of cosmetic procedure.