a) What is micro-needling?
Micro-needling, aka as derma rolling aka as collagen induction therapy is a form of controlled wound healing which in turn regenerates the skin. The dermal roller is a device which has micro surgical steel needles that reach the inner surface of the skin. This promotes skin repair from the inside out. This restorative process creates a healthy, even and smooth textured skin tone.
b) How are stretch marks formed?
Stretch marks are formed in areas of the body where the skin is subjected to continuous stretching. They form in the middle layer of the skin. Rapid stretching of the connective tissue due to sudden growth or weight gain damages dermal tissue and causes thinning of the skins’ outer layer. This thinning allows the damaged deeper skin layers to be revealed forming the unsightly streaks along the surface we know as stretch marks.
When the body grows, the connecting fibres of the skin naturally stretch slowly. However, with rapid growth, these fibres are overstretched and tear. This inflammatory reaction within the skin is responsible for the stretch marks’ red or purple tone. When viewed under a microscope, the tissue affected by stretch marks resembles that of a scar due to the changes in the collagen fibre appearance.
Stretch mark risk factors
- Genetic factors and inherited defects
- Hormonal changes
- Exercise, specifically weights
- Alcohol consumption
- Water intake
d) How does micro-needling work on stretch marks?
Four modalities have shown significant improvements in the appearance of stretch marks.
- Micro-needling – stimulates the production of collagen and new tissue formation through the use of micro-fine needles.
- Laser skin tightening – helps the skin to contract through the heating of collagen fibres.
- Fractional Laser – Increases the number of collagen and elastin fibres in the targeted area.
- PRP (Platelet rich Plasma) – A procedure where the blood plasma, rich in growth factors, is injected under the skin to stimulate particular stem cells responsible for collagen formation.
- Non-ablative – Micro-needling offers a controlled wound healing. It doesn’t remove skin layers.
- No skin damage – Adverse reaction is reduced.
- No sensitivity to UV light – Minimally affected, rollering will not result in any sensitivity to the sun.
- No risk of permanent skin discolouration – Micro-needling is good for skin types 4-6. It’s effective regeneration without the risk of PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.)
- Suitable for all skin types and conditions – Thin, fragile, mature etc
- Little pain – Micro-needling can seem frightening but the needles are actually probes and less discomfort is actually felt than often perceived. A topical anaesthetic can also be applied.
- Short healing time and minimal downtown
- Minimal post-treatment discomfort – The skin can feel dry and tight. Specific skincare products can help to counteract discomfort.
- Adverse reactions are rare – Good consultation & rollers required.
e) How many sessions of micro-needling do I need to treat stretch marks?
Depending on the size and depth of the stretch mark, it may take up to six treatment sessions to achieve the best results. These sessions are usually spaced out for adequate healing in-between – ranging from 3-4 weeks between each session.
F) What at home products can enhance micro-needling for stretch marks?
You’ll want to use products that are collagen stimulating. Products such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, growth factors and peptides. To learn more about what these actives do see – A guide to cosmeceuticals.
The Ordinary has a great selection of products at a very fair price. The majority of their products are directed for the face but can be effectively used on the body. FacetheFuture is also a great resource for advanced and effective skincare. Keep an eye for key ingredients and reviews popping up on site.