Achieving your weight loss goals can be one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Feeling fitter and leaner and clearing your wardrobe of loose-fitting clothes can help provide a fresh new perspective. But what if you’re left with loose skin or stretch marks after your weight loss? Despite losing weight, skin concerns such as stretch marks and loose skin can erode our self-confidence as well.
Causes of Stretch Marks
According to Dr Thean from Ensoul Body Medical Clinic, a stretch mark develops when the skin is unable to keep up with the growth of the body. As your skin stretches, collagen makes it more elastic. If your skin lacks enough collagen, marks may appear. Some examples include,
- Fast Weight Gain
- Childhood growth spurts
- Breast Implants
- Body Builder
Causes of Loose Skin
Collagen and elastin, two proteins that make up our skin, play an important role in maintaining its structure and integrity. Skin needs these proteins to remain firm and snap back into place after being stretched. Collagen and elastin are damaged when skin is stretched continuously for a long period of time. Hence after weight loss, your skin may lack the necessary proteins to return to its original shape. Much like the example of a rubber band that snaps after you stretch it beyond a point or loses its elasticity after repeated stretching. The majority of these occur in the abdomen, the thighs, the buttocks, and the upper arms.
Treatments for loose skin and stretch marks reduction
- Laser Therapy
There are multiple lasers treatment with different wavelengths to treat the different depths of the skin. The ablative lasers such as Erbium Yag are used to target the epidermis layer of the skin. It is used to smooth out old, white stretch marks and raised depressed scars. It also helps to speed up skin cell renewal to help with the tightening of the skin.
The non-ablative lasers such as nanosecond Nd YAG lasers, picosecond Nd YAG lasers to long pulses of many seconds of energy lasers target the dermis layer of the skin. It stimulates collagen and elastin production to repair and fade away stretch marks.
- Radiofrequency (RF) Microneedling
Microneedling uses radiofrequency energy to treat stretch marks and tighten loose skin. RF energy is delivered directly into the dermis through microneedles. A tiny thermal energy point is created in the skin, which stimulates collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production to plump depressed scars. The results of the treatment include reduced stretch marks, tighter skin, and improved skin texture.
Medical Procedures to help with Skin tightening
This non-invasive body contouring treatment reduces stubborn fat effectively without surgery or downtime. It uses 1060nm wavelength diode laser to target adipose tissue, heating it to 42°C to 47°C without affecting the surrounding skin surface. As a result of the heat, your body will produce more collagen and elastin, providing structure and elasticity to the treated area. Aside from losing fat, you will also gain a tighter, firmer level of excess skin.
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
HIFU uses ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen and elastin as well as tighten the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). Dr. Chiam at Ensoul Medical Clinic mentioned that the treatment uses concentrated waves of sound energy to penetrate deep into multiple layers of skin and body tissues without heating the superficial tissues. With focused ultrasound waves, collagen and elastin are induced and boosted in deeper tissues. Additionally, the treatment shortens the ligaments in the SMAS layer, resulting in a tauter, lifted appearance.
Radiofrequency Skin Tightening
Radiofrequency (RF) energy is used to treat subcutaneous tissues. During the treatment process, heat energy produces collagen and elastin. In parallel with this treatment, a process called fibroplasia facilitates the formation of new fibrous tissue in the body. As the collagen fibres become shorter and more tensile, skin elasticity significantly improves. Skin becomes tighter and more elastic.
Stretch Marks Removal Treatment
- Topical Creams
Stretch marks can be treated with over-the-counter and prescription creams. Furthermore, the deep formation of stretch marks, however, does not respond well to topical creams. Skin creams like hyaluronic acid and retinoids can only lighten stretch marks marginally and cannot eliminate them.
- Chemical peels
The products contain chemicals like glycolic acid or similar ingredients to exfoliate the skin. Through exfoliation, the skin cells are turned over more quickly. The use of chemical peels removes dead skin cells, stimulates skin regeneration, and promotes collagen production. Therefore, they may help erase mild stretch marks on the skin.
In this procedure, an abrasive substance is applied to the skin and then a hand-held device is used to exfoliate it. The treatment removes dead skin cells and gives the skin a toned appearance. Only mild stretch marks can benefit from the skin cell turnover.
Treat Your Stretch Marks & Loose Skin Medically
Stretch marks and saggy skin can be unsightly, but they are common and often permanent. There are several safe, effective, convenient, and painless treatments available today so you can easily say goodbye to stretch marks and loose skin. Seek help from your doctor to help ease your concerns and regain your confidence.