Rapid stretching causes the connective tissues and fibres of the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) to become thin and overstretched. In some places, they may break, allowing deeper layers of skin to show through. This is why stretch marks can appear red or purple in colour.
As we age, skin becomes less able to stretch and snap back into shape due to decreased collagen levels. Collagen is a protein that functions to hold or bind skin cells together and which serves to keep skin supple alongside a multitude of other substances such as elastic, proteoglycans, immune cells, which all work together to form the ECM - extracellular matrix of the skin. When the ECM is reduced, the skin is more likely to develop stretch marks or wrinkles.
How we treat stretch marks at Ocean Clinic, Marbella
Stretch marks are a highly challenging condition to treat. It is a distortion to the skin which often varies in severity in different ways; superficial, deep, thin, wide, etc. A severe stretching of the skin can be caused through pregnancy, weight gain, muscle gain or rapid growth and usually presents as red lines when the trauma was recent, and fades as time goes on. The reason for the stretch marks is that there is a breakage in the collagen and elastin in the skin which creates a gap and a depression as well as the change in colour and superficial atrophic layer of the skin.
Taking into account the ethos of Ocean Clinic’s holistic treatments, our team came up with a highly effective method of treating stretch marks which was published 5 years ago. The treatment needed to include various tools that could treat all of the issues which cause the appearance of the stretch marks; the gap, the depression, the colour change, and the superficial atrophic layer of the skin. Our new stretch mark treatment works by combining procedures that boost the production of collagen. They do this by causing micro-injuries beneath the surface of the skin and triggering the body’s natural healing response.
To do this we combine different types of treatment taking into account the severity of the case; For recently formed and very fine stretch marks we first use Venus Viva which stimulates collagen production and encourages the skin to repair itself combined with a follow up of skin boosters either HA based or PRP (hyaluronic acid or platelet rich plasma).
For Recent to older stretch marks with a moderate depth we would use Microneedling with Dermapen, Vitamin C PRP and PRF (platelets extracted from the patient) and non cross-linked HA, followed by Radiesse dilute to bio-stimulate the inner part and correct the colouring and gap. For recent or severe stretch marks with severe depth we would star with Ultherapy which is used to stimulate collagen and elastin from the superficial layers of the skin all the way deep into the dermis and fascia layers. Then, Radiesse which is used to treat the gap and reduce the discolouration. And lastly, Dermapen to improve the superficial atrophy as well as providing a boost to the other treatments. Depending on the severity of the stretch marks, it may often be necessary to have more than one session for the best result.
Working with varying and advancing technology over the last 20 years has brought the practitioners at Ocean Clinic, Marbella to the conclusion that no tech is good enough alone.
“There is always more than one layer to be treated and more than one target to be hit in order to achieve an holistic result,” Gabriela Casabona, head of aesthetics department at Ocean Clinic, Marbella.
What is Venus Viva?
Venus Viva is a skin resurfacing treatment that uses nano-fractional radio frequency to heat the cells deep in the dermis. This stimulates collagen production and encourages the skin to repair itself. As the skin regains elasticity and tightens, stretch marks become smoothed out.
Delivering up to 700 pulses of energy, the device is very powerful but still gentle enough to be used on even the most delicate areas of the face and body. It is often used to treat facial wrinkles but has also been shown to have a significant benefit on stretch marks (referred to medically as striae). A published clinical study showed that four weeks after treatment with Venus Viva, total surface area, length, and width of stretch marks significantly decreased and patient satisfaction for overall improvement was 96.97%.
What is Dermapen?
The effect of Venus Viva is enhanced with Dermapen, the only microneedling device with a dedicated setting for stretch mark scars. The pen uses 12 tiny needles to create microscopic punctures to the inner and outer layers of skin. This results in a regeneration of the collagen and other elastic fibres.
The “channels” created by the derma pen also allow for the delivery of nutrient-rich serums deep into the skin. Topical creams can provide real benefit when they’re able to penetrate beneath the skin’s surface. We use a vitamin C serum, which is well known for boosting collagen production.
What is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy uses focused ultrasound to heat and generate micro-coagulation zones in different depths. The micro-coagulation zones trigger a direct and indirect effect on fibroblasts inducing new collagen and elastin production. It is a precise and effective way of really bringing enough new collagen and elastin to achieve a satisfactory clinical result. Microfocused ultrasound is the best and most versatile heat technology that can bring new collagen and elastin to 3 different depths, different densities and is approved as a non surgical lifting tool. This treatment does not require any downtime and results can last from 1-1.5 years depending on the initial severity and specific area treated.
What is Radiesse?
Radiesse is a form of injectable filler which also promotes the production of collagen, elastin and ECM in the skin. When used as a treatment for stretch marks the Radiesse is diluted with saline and Lidocaine and helps to make the area more firm, improving volume as well as overall skin texture.
At Ocean Clinic each individual is treated as unique and our approach comes from a holistic point of view at all times. The ethos is to assess the patient and create a multi-level, multi-technological approach to our skin rejuvenation treatments, designed specifically for the case in question. This will take into account skin quality, age, skin types, severity of the case, skin laxity, overall health condition, and whether a combination of procedures would be better suited to the particular situation. Often it is more effective to combine more than one treatment in order to best treat the person’s condition. This varies from case to case and so we have to consider all the varying factors for each individual client - in the treatment of stretch marks this concerns the level of damage to the fascia level (the internal lycra we have which gives support to the skin and fat), level if damage to the dermis (the thicker part of the skin with a high concentration of collagen and elastin), the amount and the depth of the stretch marks.
Importantly we must also consider the client’s expectations very highly as we are aiming to achieve the results that they are requesting - sometimes this looks very different in their minds compared to what can be achieved with certain treatments, another reason to consider a combination of procedures. For example, a person may wish to remove stretch marks on their stomach but their actual desire is for their tummy to also appear tighter, smoother and flatter afterwards. This cannot be achieved by treating the stretch marks alone, so perhaps this patient is also requiring a little liposuction, or a mini tummy tuck. It is a difficult thing to assess which is why we have to have in depth consultations with our potential patients in order to work out what it is they really want and then carefully select which procedures best suit their needs to get the results they are looking for.
For more information on treatment of stretch marks at Ocean Clinic, Marbella please contact us to arrange a consultation.