Stretch marks are a type of scarring of the skin and commonly appear as reddish or white long lines/streaks.
They may first appear red or pinkish before gradually fading to purple/brown and then white.
Stretch marks typically form on areas of the skin which has undergone rapid expansion or prolonged stretching.
Stretching of the skin leads to collagen and elastin breakdown, resulting in atrophic skin which gives stretch marks its classical appearance.
The primary aim of treatments are to stimulate collagen and elastin production since stretch marks are due to the breakdown of these vital building blocks of the skin.
Whilst there exist many different brands of topical creams promising to improve stretch marks, there is no clear medical evidence supporting a specific brand of cream. As such, this write up will focus on medical treatments which are backed by research and evidence.
Topical Tretinoin / Retinoid Cream
Tretinoin is a derivative of Vitamin A and is marketed in Singapore with many names such as Retin-A, Stieva-A and Retinacyl. These creams have been reported in studies to improve stretch marks by stimulating the production of collagen.
Of note, these creams are not safe in pregnancy. Please consult with your doctor prior to starting treatment.
CO2 Fractional Laser Stretch Mark treatment
The CO2 fractional laser has been extensively studied in improving acne scars by stimulating collagen. Likewise, its collagen-stimulating benefits can be extended to improving stretch marks.
More information about the CO2 fractional laser can be found here.
Multiple sessions are required for gradual improvement and the treated area may be red for 5 to 7 days.
Pro Yellow Laser Treatment for Red Stretch Marks
Red stretch marks appear red because of the blood vessels present in the skin which become more visible due to the skin thinning from breakdown of collagen and elastin. With time, the redness gradually fades away and becomes white.
To accelerate this process, the Pro Yellow Laser can be used to target these blood vessels, thereby reducing the reddish appearance.
More information about the Pro Yellow Laser can be found here.
Ultraformer 3 HIFU Stretch Marks Treatment
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) penetrates deep into the skin to target and stimulate collagen in different layers of the skin. On top of skin tightening, an additional benefit of HIFU is fat reduction in the treated area.
More information about HIFU can be found here.
Treatments may not be safe in pregnancy. Please consult with your doctor about the ideal treatment option for your stretch marks.