When you gain weight, your skin expands or stretches to accommodate the extra weight. To prevent your skin from rupturing, new skin grows every time your body grows. During rapid growth, the collagen and elastin fibers that bind the skin together tear or break, resulting in stretch marks.
When weight loss occurs, these fibers lose elasticity and are unable to retract back to their original size, resulting in loose skin. Dr. Chiam from Ensoul Medical Clinic said it’s like a rubber band that snaps after stretching and loses its elasticity after repeated stretching. Stretch marks and loose skin occur most commonly in areas like the abdomen, the thighs, the buttocks, and the upper arms.
Effective Treatments to Reduce Loose Skin and Stretch Marks
Laser Therapy: There are various laser treatments on the market. The ablative laser and the non-ablative laser. Ablative laser such as Er: YAG laser uses laser skin resurfacing technique to rejuvenate the skin, stimulate collagen and elastin, and tighten and tone the skin.
This treatment also helps to lighten the appearance of the stretch marks as it exposes fresh, smooth skin by removing dead skin cells. The new growth of collagen also helps to raise the depressed scars resulting in smoother skin.
The non-ablative laser such as Nd: YAG laser and picosecond to long-pulsed lasers are effective in treating new stretch marks and scars as well as older, white marks. The gentle laser helps by stimulating collagen and elastin production which helps the scars to heal and fade.
Radiofrequency (RF) Microneedling: Microneedling with RF energy is another way to treat stretch marks and tighten loose skin. This device delivers radiofrequency energy directly into the dermis through a series of microneedles.
The micro-needling helps the body to stimulate more collagen and elastin production to eliminate scar tissue. The radiofrequency treatment involves creating tiny thermal energy points in the skin that stimulate collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production to plump up depressed scars as well as tighten the skin. Your skin will be firmer, tighter, and have reduced stretch marks after the treatment.
Other Effective Treatments that help with Loose Skin
SculpSure: According to Dr. Thean from Ensoul Body Medical Clinic, SculpSure is a laser lipolysis treatment that uses lasers of 1060nm wavelength to target the adipose tissue, heating them to 42℃ to 47℃ to break fat cells apart, reducing the volume of fatty tissue and helping to tighten and smoothen the skin in the treated area. This procedure is a non-invasive and clinically safe treatment for people with moderate levels of excess skin.
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
Also known as HIFU in short, the treatment uses focused ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen and elastin and the treatment will tighten the muscle layer also known as the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) layer. It uses concentrated waves of sound energy that penetrate multiple deep layers of skin and body tissues without heating the superficial tissues. By targeting specific zones with 65°C to 75°C temperatures, it aims to induce a neocollagenesis process while tightening muscle layers for contouring.
Radiofrequency Skin Tightening
Radiofrequency energy is applied to the subcutaneous tissues. During the treatment process, heat energy is generated which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. During this treatment, a parallel process known as fibroplasia is also generated, which results in the growth of new fibrous tissue in the body. As collagen fibers become shorter and more tensile, the skin elasticity will improve. The loose skin becomes tighter after treatment.
Other Treatments that help with Stretch Marks Removal
Topical creams, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion are effective only for mild stretch marks as it only targets the superficial layer of the skin. For stretch marks that go deeper, speak to your doctor for a detailed consultation and recommendation.