Stretch marks are as a result of your skin changing shape rapidly, mostly due to weight gain or just normal growth.
It is common in both men and women, and in no way reflects on your overall health. The biggest causes of stretch marks are pregnancy and puberty.
But with our modern lifestyle, they are becoming more and more common even outside these two subgroups.
A stretch mark first appears as a differently textured thin red or purple line, but it eventually fades into a lighter colour.
Today, particularly due to social media pressure, we place a high premium on beauty and appearances. It is therefore no coincidence that many are opting for stretch mark removal, when everything else fails.
Home remedies for stretch marks.
It is always wise to try harmless home remedies before taking any drastic steps.
These home remedies have been used with varying successes by people.
/ Vitamin A
Topical creams containing Vitamin A can be helpful when applied on the stretch marks. That’s because Vitamin A is a retinoid, and retinoids make the skin appear smoother.
Many Vitamin A creams can be obtained over the counter. Oral supplements containing the same can also be helpful.
Also, consuming a diet rich in Vitamin A may bring about added benefits.
Pure Aloe vera has many medical benefits, including softening the skin. Not a lot of hard scientific data proves this, but lots of people swear by it.
Indeed, many cosmetic brands today come with an aloe vera variant.
/ Hyaluronic acid
To understand how this works, you need to know about collagen. It is the structural protein in your skin that allows it to keep its shape.
Hyaluronic acid stimulates collagen production. It can be obtained through supplements.
/ Coconut oil
In mouse studies, coconut oil was found to reduce the time it took for the skin to heal.
It has also been found that virgin coconut oil applied on the stretch mark over a period of time reduces some of the red appearance.
This may sound lame, but very many people believe sugar does a fantastic job reducing stretch marks.
Rubbing sugar mixed with a softening agent like coconut oil has been found to be somewhat effective. Repeat this for about 10 minutes every day, over a period of several days.
Laser stretch mark removal
At the end of the day, home remedies are just that. They rarely get the job completely done, and are only there to provide relief from discomfort.
Though 100% stretch mark elimination is not guaranteed, a visit to a dermatologist can give you very acceptable results.
There are many techniques used, but one of the most common, and the one that produces the best results is laser resurfacing.
Beams of light in concentrated amounts are used, burning the upper layer of skin. The new skin that generates will be a lot smoother in both appearance and texture.
Laser resurfacing will not get rid of everything, but will drastically help smoothen out the stretch marks that stand out the most.
Is Laser stretch marks removal painful?
Many people tend to avoid unnecessary pain. Cosmetic procedures often fall on the ‘unnecessary’ side, and are shunned if they bring about pain.
You’ll be happy to know that there is little to no pain during or after the procedure. You may experience some mild discomfort, but that’s about it. Also, recovery can be as little as 3 days.
How much does it cost to remove stretch marks in South Africa?
There are many dermatologists and clinics offering stretch mark removal services all over South Africa. There is no one-size fits all when it comes to this, and a consultation will give you a clear understanding.
The extent of your stretch marks will obviously influence the price determination. The type of procedure you choose also affects the price.
For example, one clinic in Pretoria quotes a price of R600 for an area the size of 100cm² (10cm by 10cm), using their ultra sound – micro needling method. They also recommend you take 3 – 8 sessions for optimum results.
So, yes, it can get quite expensive.
All in all, unless you go to a very high end facility, you should expect to pay over R2000 for the full treatment.
Conduct a comprehensive Google search to find out the best deals. Some clinics may require a physical evaluation/consultation before giving you a quote, while others may just need you to submit a photo via Whatsapp.
Is Stretch marks removal covered by insurance in South Africa?
As in most of the world, stretch marks removal is considered a cosmetic/aesthetic surgery. Unless in a situation where the stretch marks were deemed medically necessary, for example if there is physical pain caused, this procedure is not covered by insurance.