In our VG Rx series, The Violet Files enlists the best doctors in the business to dispense targeted beauty prescriptions. This week: what to do about stretch marks?
Written By JESSICA PRINCE ERLICH
Q: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ERASE STRETCH MARKS?
A: “Stretch marks are very difficult to manage or to treat, but there are strategies that can help improve them,” says Dr. Robert Anolik, a New York City dermatologist. Commonly spotted on the belly, upper thighs, torso, waist, and armpits, these glossy, sometimes depressed lines can be red (striae rubra) or white (striae alba). They occur when collagen weakens because of stretchy situations such as pregnancy, rapid weight gain, or extreme exercise. “The red ones look like red streaks across the body,” says Anolik, “they are visible when you’re wearing a two-piece bathing suit.”
Treatment requires a two-pronged approach. First, to fade redness to white, vascular lasers like the Vbeam can “make a significant impact” in three to six monthly appointments. Second, to help the skin bounce back, Anolik advises alternating sessions of the Fraxel Restore and PicoSure lasers, which jump-start collagen and elastin production. Plan for five visits spaced one month apart, as one or two treatments typically don’t make a substantial change for stretch marks, says Anolik. Side effects include slight irritation and dryness. At home, using a retinoid like Tazorac can help repair stretched tissue, too. The bottom line? Keep your expectations realistic, urges Anolik: “I can’t say that the stretch marks will ever be gone, but [after treatment] you’ll no longer see them from across the pool.”
Read more about Dr. Anolik and other top skin doctors from The Violet Files’ shortlist.
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Dr. Robert Anolik advises youth-seekers on antiaging without going under the knife.