In this newsletter article, we are addressing acne scars and stretchmarks together as they share several clinical similarities and treatment options.
A stretchmark is a type of scar that occurs in the superficial and deep dermis due to excessive and rapid stretching of the skin. They occur most commonly during pregnancy as well as during rapid growth or weight gain in adolescence or in bodybuilders.
Stretchmarks are classically linear and can occur anywhere on the body although most commonly on thighs, hips, stomach, breasts, shoulders and upper arms.
Early onset stretchmarks are inflammatory and tend to be red or purplish in color. Mature stretchmarks turn white and typically show a wrinkled surface.
Acne scars result also from injury to the dermis. Depending on patient’s skin and type of acne lesions, some scars are atrophic (depressed) while others are hypertrophic (dome-shaped). Different treatment options are available to treat both types of acne scars.
Question 1: Is there a way of preventing acne scars and stretchmarks?
Dr Tremblay: Rapid medical intervention to treat acne lesions is the best way to prevent acne scars. The use of appropriate skin care products combined with topical or oral medications promotes faster and better healing of acne lesions and thereby prevents scarring.
The prevention of stretchmarks is more complex as several factors come into play and identifying patients who are at risk of developing them is very difficult. The use of cream and gels containing active ingredients such as retinol, peptides, allantoin and centelline help promote better healing and minimize the extent of skin tissue damage.
Question 2: What are the technologies that you consider most effective to treat acne scars and stretchmarks?
Dr Tremblay: At MédIME, we have the privilege of having several laser and light technologies that we use alone or in combination to best address every patient’s specific condition. Fractional radiofrequency, microneedling RF, fractional erbium and fractional CO2 are technologies that target collagen repair, skin pore tightening and skin retexturing. Injections of hyaluronic acid are also useful to correct deep volume loss and improve facial contour.
Regarding stretchmarks, early onset red and inflammatory lesions are best addressed with a combination of vascular laser and topical skin care products. Mature white and wrinkled stretchmark are treated with fractional technologies to improve texture and color.
Question 3 : How early should we be treating scars once they appear?
Dr Tremblay: In the case of acne scars, the initial priority is to stop acne lesion formation to control the damage. Once the condition is under control, reparative laser treatment can be initiated immediately. Regarding stretchmarks, early intervention while they are still red and inflammatory yields best results although more mature stretchmarks still improve significantly with fractional lasers.
In summary, the treatment of acne scars and stretchmarks requires a customized approach based on the patient’s own very specific condition. During your consultation with us at MédIME, Dr Jean-Francois Tremblay dermatologist and our skin care specialist team will assess your condition and design for you a customized treatment plan.
To book an appointment for a personal evaluation of your needs, please contact us at 514 739-7444 or complete our online form by following this link: https://medime.com/en/ask-for-an-appointment/