Undoubtedly, stretch marks are neither painful nor cause any skin disease; however, nobody likes them. In some people, stretch marks are a primary cause of low self-esteem and confidence. Yet, research by the National Library of Medicine in 2017 suggests that microneedling could be safe and effective for treating stretch marks when performed in a certain way. But does that mean that microneedling gets rid of stretch marks?
These micron-sized needles embedded in rollers breach the outermost layer of the skin, boosting the production of collagen, and new healthy skin cells.
Microneedling pens are much better as they move strictly in vertical orientation, without shearing forces. I would also never recommend anyone do this on their own at home. I recommend micro-needling be done by a professional.
This article will answer all your questions regarding the effect of microneedling on stretch marks.
Microneedling may reduce stretch marks
Research states that microneedling is a well-tolerated, minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat scars with a high level of patient satisfaction. It also helps in the penetration of skincare products easily and allows them to give you better results.
As the stretch marks are specific types of scars, microneedling could be effective for diminishing their appearance. However, the results of microneedling on stretchmarks may vary across individuals depending on the number of sessions, technique, size of treated skin areas, and combination with other anti-stretch mark therapies.
Causes of stretch marks
Stretch marks are caused by rapid skin stretching (matter or day/weeks) when the connective tissue (collagen and elastin) is damaged. And anyone can get them! However, stretch marks occur mainly in:
- Pregnant women
- People who go through fast weight changes: rapid weight gain or loss
- Individuals who take corticosteroid/steroid medication
- People who had breast augmentation
- Individuals with genetic predisposition
Common stretchmark locations are abdomen, breasts, hips, knees, and buttocks.
How does microneedling work
Microneedling is a special technique that boosts the production of collagen-rich cells by stimulating the skin’s natural healing process (also known as natural exfoliation or cell turnover).
Collagen is the most demanded protein of your skin. It maintains skin’s health, and can prevent the appearance of premature aging signs (wrinkles, fine lines). Besides, it can make the skin more elastic, lowering the risk of stretch marks.
The idea is that the fine needles on the microneedling device move to and from the targeted area and creates punctures in the skin. The skin’s natural healing process responds to this stimulus by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.
The high production of collagen and elastin will help in healing the damaged connective tissues and prevent further damage. The new healthy and collagen-rich cells give the skin a long-lasting marks-free texture, lighter skin tone, and healthy appearance.
Before the procedure
Here is a suggestion of a pre-treatment plan to follow if you have decided to get microneedling:
Before your treatment, avoid active cosmetic ingredients like cosmetic acids, retinoids, topical antibiotics, etc (for 3-5 days). These substances may increase the sensitivity of the skin and increase the chance of irritation/side effects.
Avoid waxing for 5-7 days before the treatment.
Avoid microneedling if you are on anti-inflammatory medications. Such medications may interfere with the skin’s natural protection mechanisms.
Make sure that you don’t have sunburn. Sunburns can cause irritation and pigmentation after the procedure.
Before going for microneedling, speak with your dermatologist and share your current skin condition and your concerns. It will make the journey easier and less stressful for you.
After the procedure
Microneedling is a generally safe cosmetic treatment with a few side effects. However, it is normal to experience some post-treatment adverse reactions:
It is normal to experience sunburn-like itching in the first three days after your microneedling session. You may feel some swelling, redness, and irritation.
Tips that can help you:
- Wash the skin with a gentle cleanser, lukewarm water, and softly to pat dry the skin with soft cloth. This should be done no earlier than 4 hours after the treatment.
- Don’t use rough cloths like towels for drying the treated skin.
- Avoid wearing make-up for at least 24 hours after the treatment.
- Do not scratch the treated skin.
- The peeling process starts on the 3rd day after the microneedling treatment. Don’t rub, scratch or pull off the dry skin (dead cells); let it peel on its own.
- Applying SPF at least 30 is important to protect your skin from sun rays and prevent pigmentation and irritation.
Your skin might not feel irritated, but it still needs care. Include moisturizer and serum in your daily skincare routine, while avoiding any harsh exfoliating cosmetic ingredients (like AHAs, BHA, and retinoids.)
- Avoid using any anti-inflammatory medication after the treatment.
- Do not expose the targeted area to direct sunlight.
- If you are feeling pain, taking a painkiller like Tylenol (paracetmol) could be effective. Avoid applying ice packs directly to the skin.
- If there are any signs of pigmentation or you are suffering from severe pain, immediately contact your dermatologist.
When will you see the effect?
You might need 2-3 sessions to see some noticeable results. The number of sessions surely depends on your skin’s condition before and during the sessions, as well as on the size of the stretch marks. Ask your dermatologist about the number and frequency of microneedling treatment sessions that are right for you.
What other issues can microneedling help with?
According to research by the National Library of Medicine, microneedling can be an effective and safe alternative to other more invasive skin procedures, like laser skin resurfacing and deep chemical peeling.
The bottom line
While microneedling could fade stretchmarks, it doesn’t offer you 100% efficacy. Discuss with your dermatologist whether this method is suitable for your skin and consider combining microneedling with other anti-stretchmark therapies. You can also go for completely different method, like laser, ultrasound, and radiofrequency.