I first got stretchmarks at the age of 19 at 38wks into my 39wk pregnancy with my 7lb daughter, they looked like bloody red claw marks across my stomach, hips and thighs and I was so self conscious of them. Over several months the stretchmarks faded and weren’t as obvious, as they became a pale white shimmery colour with a dented in texture. At the age of 24 I then had my 8lb8oz son at 39wks and my stretchmarks remained totally unchanged. Although they are not massively obvious, it would be nice to improve the texture and try to repair my skin, as I like to keep in shape, eat well and lead a healthy lifestyle. I know that they will never go completely, but I am hoping to take them from subtle looking to something that I never have to think of.
Now I wouldn’t be much of a blogger if I wasn’t prepared to share with you the reality of my treatments and thoughts right here. I am far from perfect, and just like any other woman with children, my body now has stretchmarks following my two pregnancies. I worked hard to lose my post-pregnancy weight, to raise my children respectfully as a single parent and to continue to enjoy and lead my life as a single twenty-six year old, but having stretchmarks has undoubtedly effected my life. The thought process I have about this goes along the lines of I love my children so much, but I have stretchmarks, I’m so happy to have lost my pregnancy weight, but I have stretchmarks, I’d love to wear a pretty bikini on holiday, but I have stretchmarks, I feel so glamourous in this cut out dress, but I hope my stretchmarks don’t show, and so on and so forth.
Stretchmarks don’t rule my life, but they are a constantly niggling thought at the forefront of many occasion. After having my daughter I was devestated with how my body changed, my skin became so tight and hard during my pregnancy, at 38wks my stomach began to tingle and itch like thousands of ants running across my skin and by the morning I woke up with blood red lines all over me. I cried my eyes out for how horrendous it looked and how I’d ruined my body at such a young age, and within weeks of giving birth I’d booked into a skin clinic to have them repaired, and I’d have done anything to have removed them, even chopping my skin off for how low it made me feel. As it was several years ago the specialist advised that there was nothing that could be done about my stretchmarks, as although they looked horrendous just weeks after giving birth, they actually weren’t bad enough to treat at all.
I had a different opinion and strongly believed that they were the most disfiguring and sickening things in the world, but she advised me that with time they would fade and becoming less visible and one day I would hardly notice them. I didn’t believe a word of what she said and I felt incredibly disappointed and let down, but after several months they did indeed fade to a pale skin colour and were in fact not very visible at all. Having stretchmarks is a very common skin complaint that affects millions of people, from children going through growth spurs, teenagers, bodybuilders, mothers and those who have gained and lost weight, nobody is immune to them and you can get them all over your body, yet the majority of people find them embarrassing and choose not to talk about them. They are the taboo of beauty.
I am not pleased about having stretchmarks, but I am over the moon to have my two beautiful children and would sacrifice my body over and over for the precious gift of being a mother without a seconds doubt. I am fortunate that my stretchmarks are discreet and actually on a scale of 1-10 they are probably a 3 or 4 and I can live with them as they are. As I fitness blog I take pictures of my stomach and like to wear clothes appropriate to my age group, otherwise I rarely expose my stomach and take no measures to conceal my stretchmarks in public. I always wear a bikini on the beach, and after the initial nerves of taking off my kaftan in front of people, I take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s ok, people aren’t cringing and looking at me in disgust for showing my stretchmarks, it’s perfectly normal just get on with it and enjoy your holiday like everybody else.
The Derma Roller is a skin needling device made up of surgical needles connected to a wheel which you can get in varying lengths. The rolling process uses the needles to create microscopic channels through the skin, activating the body’s wound healing ability through micro-channeling and releasing the growth factors that encourage collagen and elastin to form naturally. This treatment is said to make the skin less indented, the stretchmarks less wide and to partially restore the skins colour instead of that horrible pale white slither.
I will be visiting Whitethorn Fields Mediclinic to have my Derma Roller procedure and have been informed that it is a very safe and quick treatment. First the skin is numbed with an anesthetic, cleaned and then disinfected. A serum is applied to help the roller to glide across the skin and to penetrate into the deeper layers more effectively. The needling is performed by stretching the skin with one hand and rolling the derma roller back and forth with the other in straight lines, gradually changing the angle a little at a time until you go full circle. A medium pressure is used to roll vertically, horizontally and diagonally in each direction. This causes the skin to turn red, feel sensitive and could become slightly swollen with small pin pricks of blood to show that the correct level of depth has been reached. The treated skin should then be kept away from sunlight for several days and a high factor suncream used thereafter, preferably SPF30 and above. If the procedure is carried out on the face you must wait two to three days before applying any makeup, bodyspray, perfume or shower gels. The rolled area of skin may possibly peel but should never be picked and the results can take around six weeks or more to show. Collagen production is a slow process and can’t be rushed. To prepare for my treatment I have been given a stretchmark cream called Kelo Stretch which I have to rub onto my stomach and hips twice a day as the cream has extracts to stimulate collagen synthesis, whilst smoothing, nourishing and softening the skin.
I realise that my stretchmarks may never completely disappear, but I am hoping to noticeably improve the skintone, texture and stretched area so that they are less visible. Fortunately they don’t stand out too much from a distance or in photographs, but close up the texture of the skin is sunken and the colour is lighter on the stretch marks. It would be amazing to improve the skin texture and remove some of the ripples on my skin, but I realise anything is a bonus.
UPDATE:14/07/14 First Treatment
Today I attended Whitethorn Fields Mediclinic for my first Derma Roller treatment. Prior to arriving I had showered and applied my Kilo Stretch cream twice a day for a week to help prepare the skin. Unfortunately I am on my period and have a sore and bloated stomach, cramps and backache so I really should have taken painkillers before arriving but didn’t.
I was shown into a beautiful white treatment room with Nikki, who started by talking me through the procedure, filling out the relevant paperwork and consent forms, and providing me with anaesthetic cream to numb my skin. The cream remained on my stretchmarks for half an hour before I was shown to a bed where I lay back so that the treatment could begin. I rolled my vest up to expose my stomach and a paper cloth was tucked into my underwear. Nikki started by removing the anaesthetic cream before cleansing and applying a special serum to help the roller to glide more easily and also hydrate the skin once the needling began.
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and the roller began, much like mowing a lawn, Nikki passed the roller over my stomach in quick straight lines back and forth at all different angles until the skin reddened and pin pricks of blood began to show. This indicated that the correct depth of needling had been reached and that sufficient injury had been caused to the skin in order for the healing process to be activated and the collagen growth stimulated. The procedure was extremely quick and vigorous, with the roller pressing hundreds of tiny needles into my skin over and over again at a medium pressure. Nikki was wonderful and put me at ease, asking how I was throughout and talking me through the procedure as we went. Although I’d had anaesthetic cream applied, I did still feel the roller as my stomach was swollen, sore and cramping from my period, so my timing was not the best for me to have this treatment. In future I would book an appointment to avoid my cycle. I closed my eyes and controlled my breathing and fortunately within minutes my stomach was complete. For me it was a process of no pain no gain, and although I normally have a high pain threshold, today I was more than a little worse for wear and I would place it at a 6/10 for discomfort, expecting it to be about a 3/10 on a normal day as I am informed that away from a period this treatment is far more comfortable, so I’m shaking my fist at Mother Nature right now.
After completing the treatment on my stomach Nikki then moved onto my hips and the most tender part was over the hip bone, just like having a tattoo it was certainly a manageable discomfort, as she moved the roller very quickly at a constant pace and the pushing force helped to massage the skin and distract from the sensation of the needles. It was absolutely fascinating to see my skin glow a healthy pink/red shade, as for the first time in several years my skin was completely the same colour all over as for once my stretchmarks weren’t lighter than my body. It is almost therapeutic to see the skin cells activate in such a way as you can clearly see that it has been treated and the bodys’ natural healing process has already begun. Unlike fillers that last for a period of time, once complete the results will remain for the rest of my life, providing I don’t have anymore children and redamage my skin of course. Nikki then applied a soothing cream to the treated areas to protect the skin and reduce the reddening and advised that I avoid using perfumed cleansers or exercise for the next 24hrs so that the skin can rest. If I choose to sunbathe then I must use a minimum factor SPF30 on my treated skin, and other than that there is very little aftercare required. As of tomorrow I can apply my kilo stretch cream twice a day to continue to help stimulate elastin regrowth, and over the next six weeks the skin will silently repair itself from the foundation level upwards until my next treatment. I am very happy with my procedure today and feel no pain or discomfort at all. Despite my skin being red it doesn’t hurt, isn’t itchy, tight or tender in any way, and feels completely normal.
UPDATE: 15/07/14 – The Morning After Treatment
It is now 24hrs following my treatment and you’d never know that I’ve had anything done as my skin had returned to its normal colour overnight. I can touch it, wear clothes and go about my day as normal without any pain or discomfort at all and I’m about to do a workout and have a shower in a moment. The healing time is astonishingly fast.
This has been an incredibly positive procedure for me which has had very little effect on my daily routine as the healing time is fast and impressive. As I type this my body is generating collagen and repairing itself and if I hadn’t have kept this blog and taken pictures then nobody would have ever known about my treatment. I think that everybody, male or female should have the opportunity to feel good about their body and to be confident in their own skin. To find a treatment that is so natural and worthwhile that can make such a difference to your life and confidence is priceless to me. I am so pleased that I have had this done and very much look forward to showing you my progress photos as I go. I hope that you will share with me my journey, my thoughts and feelings and see the results for yourself. I believe in sharing the information and benefits of the treatments that I choose to have in order to inform and advise others. Always use a professional and reputable clinic to undergo cosmetic treatments and do not be tempted by quick-fixes and cheap offers because poor treatments are far more expensive to correct than they are to perform in the first place. I can personally recommend the amazing staff and service at Whitethorn Fields Mediclinic and the fact that their clients travel from across the UK for treatment is testament to their life changing work.
Please feel free to ask me any questions, leave your feedback and comments below and remember to check back soon to see how I’m getting on!
You can watch the video of my treatment here: