Stretch marks are considered a form of scar, and are a common skin issue. Even though stretch marks are mostly harmless, they can cause aesthetical, cosmetic and psychological distress. These linear scars typically occur after a continuous and/or excessive skin stretching, which results in skin thinning, damage to elastin and tears in collagen. Also, they can affect any part of the body and usually appear on thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, breasts, and arms. Currently, there are several treatments available to address stretch marks with various degree of effectiveness. In this article we will concentrate on the use of dermaroller for stretch marks, and discuss which topical skin treatments can be used in conjunction with microneedling procedure for amplified results.
What Causes Stretch Marks
Before we dive-in into microneedling therapy and basics of using dermaroller for stretch marks let’s take a closer look at these linear scars. As mentioned, stretch marks usually form after the excessive stretching of the skin like rapid weight gain. Once the skin is overstretched, the original collagen and elastin within the middle layer of the skin get damaged. As result, skin becomes thinner and visually looks like linear scar marks. The newly formed stretch marks typically have red, pink or purplish hue. As they mature, these red scars fade in color with time and become permanent.
There are two types of stretch marks:
Striae rubrae (immature marks) – red or pink colored linear scar tissue that can be raised or flat. These are usually newly formed stretch marks (temporary stage), which respond better to treatments.
Striae albae (mature marks) – pale color faded scar tissue that appears to be wrinkled (permanent stage). These are considered old stretch marks, and are more difficult to treat.
Usually stretch marks don’t cause any physical discomfort, but in some severe cases itching or burning sensation is possible. Another key point is that stretch marks are more common among women (70%). But man can get affected as well (40%). The development of stretch marks is not fully understand at this time, but it is attributed to the following factors:
- Rapid change of weight (gain, loss, bodybuilding)
- Some medical conditions (Marfan or Cushing’s syndrome, tuberculosis)
- Drugs related side effects (prolonged use of topical steroids, antibiotics, chemo)
- Genetic predisposition
Benefits Of Microneedling For Stretch Marks
Currently there are many treatments and remedies that visibly diminish and improve the appearance of the stretch marks. However, this skin condition remains challenging as there is no treatment yet developed that would make stretch marks disappear completely. That being said, microneedling is one of the most promising procedures when it comes to reducing stretch marks.
Microneedling (aka percutaneous collagen induction therapy) is a skin resurfacing procedure. It utilizes micro needles to cause an intentional controlled micro injuries to the skin. And this skin damage triggers skin’s natural healing process, promotes remodeling of existing collagen, stimulates new collagen production, elastin production, and promotes overall skin thickening. Moreover, this therapy has been proven to be effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, scars (including acne scars) and stretch marks.
In fact, several clinical studies found that skin needling is more effective and safer than microdermabrasion and lasers when it comes to stretch mark treatment. In addition, the studies also demonstrated that dermaroller treatment promoted larger increase in collagen production in comparison to IPL treatments.
All things considered, this minimally invasive procedure is safe for all skin types including dark skin complexion. In addition, it is a cost effective skin treatment that can improve color, texture, width, and length of the scars. Also, the side effects are minimal and may include spot bleeding, dry skin, sensitivity or irritated skin.
Using Dermaroller For Stretch Marks
Out of all microneedling devices, the dermaroller is the most convenient one when it comes to the treatment of stretch marks and deep scars. In particular, the oversized derma rollers that are designed for the body are great for treating large skin areas with stretch marks. The head of these dermarollers is about three times wider than a regular dermaroller and can have between 1000 and 1700 needles.
As for the derma roller needle length, it is recommended to use 1mm-2mm dermarollers for stretch marks treatment, as shorter needles will not be effective. Please keep in mind that 2mm dermarollers require professional supervision, and should NOT be used as at-home treatment. For one thing, this needle length penetrates deeper layers of skin, and there are high concerns regarding safety and risk of infection.
When using dermaroller for stretch marks it is suggested to have at least 3-5 treatments with 3-4 weeks gap in between procedures for improvements to be visible. Additionally, topical anesthetic or numbing cream is necessary when using needle lengths of 1mm and longer, as the procedure can feel quite painful. Also, be aware that minor bleeding is common when using dermarollers with needles longer than 1mm.
Another key point is that micro needling also increases absorption of topical skincare products. That is to say, combining derma rolling with topical products for stretch marks can intensify the results.
Best Dermaroller For Body
Overall, stretch marks respond better to the needle lengths of 1mm-2mm. The 2mm derma rollers are designed specifically for professionals and in-office treatments, and should NOT be used for at-home treatments. That being said, you should exercise extreme caution when using 1mm dermaroller for stretch marks at home. Please, be extra diligent in disinfecting your personal microneedling device, preparing skin for the procedure and following all the instructions to avoid skin infection.
Here are a few great and reputable 1 mm rollers for you to try ranging from $15 – $110.
- Ora Derma Roller Kit comes with 6 derma roller heads including 1mm body head with 1200 needles, as well as 1mm stamp head with 12 needles ($85, dermstore.com)
- Koi Beauty 1mm Derma Stamp 140 titanium microneedles, for face and body (on amazon.com)
- Body Derma Roller 1mm oversized roller ($39, dermarollershop.com)
- Dr. Pen Electric Microneedling Derma Pen kit with 4 heads, adjustable needle length (on amazon.com)
- Koi Beauty Professional Dermaroller 1.5 mm, 192 titanium pro needles (on amazon.com)
Above all, please have realistic expectations, as all the existing treatments including dermarolling can only improve the appearance of scar tissue and stretch marks. You can expect improvement in color, uneven skin tone, skin texture, width, and length, but can’t get rid of stretch marks completely.
How to use body dermaroller at home
Step 1. Prepare skin with topical vitamin A and vitamin C for a month prior to the microneedling treatments. This will maximize the production of collagen and will help with minimizing stretch marks.
Step 2. Sterilize your dermaroller before and after each use with 70% isopropyl alcohol (on Amazon or any pharmacy) or dermaroller sanitizing solution in order to prevent skin infection. Letting the dermaroller head soak in the solution for 10-20 minutes is sufficient.
Step 3. Wash your body before microneedling stretch marks with a gentle cleanser.
Step 4. (optional numbing). Apply topical anesthetic or numbing cream on the stretch marks for 45-60 minutes. Try Greencaine Blast anesthetic gel on Amazon with 4% lidocaine (estheticians favorite!) Wipe or wash off numbing solution prior to the rolling.
Step 5. Visually divide the area with stretch marks into sections. And start rolling horizontally for 5-10 times, and vertically for 5-10 times while applying gentle pressure to the dermaroller.
Step 6. Once you are done rolling, wash the area with lukewarm water. Then follow with skin serum, soothing cream or topical solution for stretch marks (see also what to use after microneedling?)
Step 7. Disinfect your dermaroller after the procedure by soaking it in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 20 minutes. Then rinse with water and let it air dry before putting the dermaroller in the storage case.
Step 8. Evening is the best time for the procedure. This way you’ll maximize skin’s natural regeneration and skin repair process at night. Also, it will be easier to stay away from unwanted sun exposure, sweating and environmental stressors.
Step 9. Do not share your dermaroller.
Step 10. Dermarollers need to be replaced after 10-15 uses as the needles get dull.
Other Treatments For Stretch Marks
The use of topical creams and treatments for stretch marks is the most common method of dealing with this issue. In fact, there are few substances that increase collagen production when applied topically. The down side is that these topical skin care products deliver only mild visible results. So you’ll need to use them regularly and for a long period of time. However, this might be the one of the few options for those with sensitive skin and those who don’t like or can’t tolerate microneedling tools.
While the popular remedies like cocoa butter, olive and coconut oil, and aloe vera have been found NOT successful in reducing stretch marks, the following ingredients have shown to be effective in diminishing and improving the appearance of stretch marks.
- Tretinoin and retinoic acid
- AHAs (glycolic, lactic, citric, malic)
- Vitamin C serum/ascorbic acid on Amazon
- Vitamin E (tocopherol)
- Hyaluronic acid serum
- Silicone gel on Amazon
- Centella asiatica extract on Amazon
- Collagen hydrolysates
- Bio-Oil on Amazon
- Topical growth factor
- Laser therapy
- Light therapy
- Chemical/acid peels (TCA)
In conclusion, stretch marks can affect both females and males. Overall, they can appear on any part of the body including thighs, hips, buttocks, abdominal region, breasts, upper chest and arms. Even though there are several treatments and remedies available for addressing stretched skin, there is no treatment that can make stretch marks disappear completely.
However, it is possible to improve the appearance of scars and skin tissue like the color, texture, width, and length. So far, some of the most promising treatments for reducing individual stretch marks are microneedling therapy or laser therapy in combination with topical remedies, which yield long lasting results.
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