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How Can I Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are very common and can affect everyone. These “streaky” lines on the skin, which can vary in color from red and purple to white or silver, often appear on the abdomen, thighs, hips, breasts, and arms. Stretch marks can develop when the skin stretches rapidly due to pregnancy, weight gain, muscle building, or other factors. Many individuals, both women and men, are self-conscious about their appearance on the skin (particularly if they are prominently visible) and seek ways to reduce or even eliminate them. Fortunately, our board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Dr. James F. Boynton, offers options for stretch mark reduction that have helped many patients achieve successful results. 

Microneedling is one treatment for stretch marks that has become very popular over the years. This procedure uses fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin, stimulating the body’s natural healing process and boosting collagen and elastin production. Microneedling can ultimately help the targeted area of skin repair itself, diminishing signs of stretch marks and giving the skin a more even look. Our practice utilizes the state-of-the-art SkinPen® microneedling system, which offers a number of advantages for patients of a variety of skin types. It can also be utilized for a number of different body areas that show signs of stretch marks. 

For individuals with significantly prominent stretch marks on the lower abdomen (which is a very commonly affected area), a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can be a highly effective solution in many cases. This surgical procedure involves removing excess skin and tightening the underlying muscles of the abdominal wall. During a tummy tuck, Dr. Boynton typically removes excess skin below the navel, where stretch marks are most common. By excising this skin, many of the stretch marks are removed entirely. The remaining skin is then tightened and repositioned to produce a smoother, firmer abdominal area. With all of this in mind, it is important to remember that a tummy tuck can only be effective for stretch marks that appear in specific abdominal locations, usually in areas up to and below the navel where the skin is being removed. However, stretch marks that are above the belly button may appear a bit lower and therefore be more easily concealable under swimwear or other types of clothing after a tummy tuck. Ultimately, tummy tuck surgery can be particularly beneficial for those who have experienced significant weight loss or post-pregnancy changes that have left them with loose skin and stretch marks in the abdominal area. 

In some cases, even certain kinds of skin care products and topical creams can be at least mildly effective at making signs of stretch marks a bit less noticeable. While it may be challenging to eliminate all stretch marks completely, surgical and non-surgical methods can reduce their appearance and improve skin texture. Dr. Boynton can meet with you for an initial consultation to assess your needs and provide personalized recommendations based on your skin type and specific concerns. If you have additional questions or are ready to schedule a consultation, please contact our office today.