Stretch marks commonly occur after weight gain or pregnancy. Stretch marks discolor the skin and indent the affected area. A number of treatments, however, are available. Collagen treatments for stretch marks are effective in reducing indentation, though it rarely corrects pigmentation issues. If your stretch marks are fairly faint, collagen is a good option for smoothing out the skin divots.
Collagen injections are used to treat a number of cosmetic blemishes including stretch marks. This treatment addresses collagen deficiency directly, injecting fresh collagen right into the indented skin. The skin will plump up almost instantly. However, this treatment is not permanent. In some cases, the injections can jump-start your body's natural collagen production; however, usually you will need follow-ups to maintain smooth skin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you will likely need new injections every three to 12 months.
Tretinoin creams stimulate the growth of new collagen. This collagen treatment works best on stretch marks that are less than six weeks old, according to MayoClinic.com. Tretinoin creams are available only by prescription, and should not be used if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
Microdermabrasion therapies are can improve the appearance of stretch marks. During this treatment, the topmost layers of skin are removed. With the removal of unhealthy skin, new skin cells and collagen will regrow, according to Dr. Philip S. Chua, a surgeon at the Cebu Cardiovascular Center. Microdermabrasion treatment sounds painful, but you will only experience a slight, temporary burning while skin layers are abraded.
Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment
This treatment uses specialized light wavelengths to promote the production of new collagen for stretch marks. This collagen treatment is nonabrasive and virtually painless, but it is rarely effective on old or very deep stretch marks. Furthermore, if you have a darker skin tone, the laser may cause discoloration, according to MayoClinic.com.
Fractional Photothermolysis Laser Treatment
This laser treatment is more broadly applicable, able to generate collagen for old stretch marks and virtually all skin tones. However, this treatment is slightly more abrasive. A fractional photothermolysis treatment does not just promote collagen growth; this treatment also destroys old collagen and skin cells. Like microdermabrasion, the skin cells are destroyed in order to foster new cellular growth. The laser can pinpoint problematic cells, avoiding true “wounding” of the skin. Your stretch marks will usually recover from this collagen treatment in less than one week.