While the appearance of stretch marks can vary depending on where they are located, their cause and how long they have been around, most tend to take the form of lines or indented streaks. And while stretch marks are not harmful, they can affect how you feel about your body.
Usually located on the abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks or breasts, stretch marks are caused by the rapid stretching or shrinking of the skin. When the condition of the skin changes so rapidly, the cells are unable to keep up with the production of collagen, causing tears in the middle layer of the skin or the dermis. To prevent infection of what it perceives as wounds, the body repairs the tears in a haphazard manner, which results in scar tissue or stretch marks.
There are certain conditions that place individuals at an increased risk of developing these unsightly marks on the skin. These include:
- Growth spurts during puberty
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Cushing’s disease, Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Rapid muscle growth caused by weight training
- Anabolic steroids
- Breast enlargement surgery
There are also several factors that can increase the likelihood of stretch marks including genetics and the level of stress placed on the skin. In addition, having too much cortisone — a hormone produced by the adrenal glands — can decrease skin elasticity, contributing to stretch marks.
Stretch marks vary in color. When they first appear, they are usually red, purple, pink or brown before gradually turning white during the healing process. While red stretch marks tend to appear raised, their white counterparts usually feel slightly depressed. Stretch marks are initially red due to the blood vessels under the skin. Luckily, the presence of these blood vessels is also what makes red stretch marks more responsive to red light treatment.
Does Red Light Therapy Help With Stretch Marks?
While stretch marks may fade over time, they usually don’t disappear completely. This is where red light therapy can help. The non-invasive treatment delivers wavelengths of therapeutic light that penetrate the skin and stimulate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in a process called photobiomodulation, energizing cells and ensuring that they function at their optimum level. This, in turn, promotes skin regeneration and repair. With this in mind, here are a few ways red light therapy for stretch marks does its magic.
- Red light therapy accelerates wound healing
The wavelengths of red lights therapy speed up the healing of wounds, burns, cuts and incisions made during surgery. This is because they activate healthy cells — as opposed to scar tissue — which facilitates healing and wound contraction. Red light’s ability to promote tissue regeneration is precisely what makes it such a great treatment for stretch marks.
- Red light therapy promotes better blood circulation
Healing of stretch marks is dependent on good blood flow to the skin. Red light therapy for stretch marks increases blood circulation maximizing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to damaged cells. More specifically, it stimulates the production of endothelial cells, which make up the inner layer of the microscopic blood vessels that distribute nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
- Red light therapy reduces inflammation
When they are first formed, stretch marks are often red, itchy and sore. While uncomfortable and unsightly, this is a perfectly normal reaction. Inflammation is a natural immune response that promotes tissue regeneration by widening blood vessels and delivering white blood cells to the area of a perceived wound to protect it from infection.
Unfortunately, inflammation sometimes continues even after wounds have already healed — or in the case of stretch marks when there was no wound at all — which can result in the formation of scar tissue. Red light therapy for stretch marks minimizes inflammation by improving the body’s healing mechanism including blood circulation and cell production.
- Red light therapy promotes healthier skin through collagen production
Red light therapy promotes the production of collagen, an important protein that makes up around 80 percent of the skin and gives it its structure. It does so by promoting a balanced production of collagen to ensure that the fresh tissue that forms in the deep layers of the stretch mark is bouncy and elastic. Abundant collagen can even prevent stretch marks since it enables the skin to stretch rapidly without leaving marks.
What Red Light Therapy Products Work Best for Stretch Marks
From large light therapy towers suitable for saunas and therapy rooms to more compact and portable devices, the choice of red light therapy products is endless. Not all of them are created equal, however. If you value quality and reliability, Sun Home Sauna products offer a range of horizontal and vertical red light therapy stands that combine red light (650 nanometers) with near-infrared wavelengths (850 nanometers). Suitable for both commercial and home use, the units feature a mix of seven to 60-degree optics to maximize the amount of light absorbed by the body.If you want to reduce the appearance of unsightly stretch marks, you have definitely come to the right place, particularly if you don’t have the time for multiple red light treatments at a salon. No matter which treatment stand you opt for, you can rest assured that you will be reaping the benefits of the very best red light therapy products on the market.