Microneedling Stretch Marks: Why You Should Try It

How Microneedling Stretch Marks Can Improve Your Skin

While many women proudly wear their stretch marks as “battle scars,” they are a source of insecurity for others who want to minimize their appearance. Thanks to advancements in modern skincare, this is now possible through microneedling. Microneedling treatment has been proven effective where topical and laser treatments have failed. 

Microneedling is a rejuvenating skin technique that improves the appearance of stretch marks. It uses tiny needles to make small punctures in the skin, expediting the healing process and minimizing your stretch marks. However, it will take several treatments to work, and it might never eliminate deeper stretch marks. 

So, let’s look at how microneedling can help you get rid of your stretch marks and say hello to fresh, smooth, evenly pigmented skin. I’ll explain how effective it is, tell you what to expect if you get it done or do it yourself, and give you a rundown on how it works.

What Are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks, known scientifically as striae distensae, form when connective tissue rapidly expands, commonly in pregnancy or abrupt weight gain. This rapid expansion of connective tissue causes the elastin and collagen to rupture, resulting in the appearance of striations (stretch marks).

Stretch marks can appear for various reasons, and it isn’t limited to pregnant women, as some people believe. Rapid muscle gain, weight gain, and injury can also cause your skin to stretch so fast that the subdermal layers rip. In addition, dry, cracking skin can lead to stretch marks.

Stretch Mark Treatments: Microneedling Alternatives

Before microneedling became an effective treatment for stretch marks, the usual treatments were mainly topical skin creams. 

Treatments later advanced with the advent of laser therapy. However, microneedling is considered superior to all the other treatments and will usually give you the best results.

Topical Therapies in Treating Stretch Marks

Topical therapies include creams, oils, or ointments that fade the stretch marks or heal them altogether. Some of the creams are preventative, while others are therapeutic. Some of these therapies provide hydration to the skin, which makes it more resistant to the tension caused by the stretching. Other treatments stimulate new collagen production, such as retinoids.

Laser Therapy To Treat Stretch Marks

Lasers are directed at the stretch marks to stimulate new growth, making the scars appear smoother. Although rare, there are risks associated with laser stretch mark removal.  People with darker skin may develop permanent hyperpigmentation in the lasered areas. 

✅ You may be familiar with chemical peels, which are helpful with pigmentation and wrinkles, but not stretch marks. If you’re considering a chemical peel, check out this article comparing them to microneedling so you know the important differences you can expect.

How Microneedling Works

Microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure performed by dermatologists or certified aestheticians. It uses sterilized, fine needles to prick the skin. 

These “injuries” then stimulate the healing process, which involves the production of collagen and elastin, giving your skin a more youthful appearance. For this reason, it is also called collagen induction therapy. 

Microneedling works on acne, hair loss, hyperpigmentation, scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and stretch marks. It has become the preferred treatment for stretch marks because it is less expensive and doesn’t involve the risk of hyperpigmentation that can result from the heat applied in laser therapy. 

Microneedling for stretch marks usually takes 3 to 6 sessions over four to six months. The number of required sessions may depend on the location of the scarring and how deep it is. Find out here all you need to know about when to expect microneedling results.

stretch marks on woman's leg

How Effective Is Microneedling On Stretch Marks?

Microneedling has been proven in several studies to be effective on stretch marks and often succeeds where topical remedies and laser therapy fail. 

A study published by the National Library of Medicine confirms the effectiveness of microneedling. The study involved twenty-five adults with stretch marks on their torso (stomach and back) and extremities (upper arms and legs).

The participants of the study were given one to three consecutive monthly treatments. After an average of 1.8 treatments, all experienced a 50% improvement. By the end of the study period, many test participants no longer needed further treatments and walked away from the clinical trials with more youthful skin. 

The study’s clinical results proved microneedling was a safe and effective treatment for stretch marks. 

Microneedling works for both light and dark skin tones with minimal side effects such as redness, which is usually quickly resolved. This is an advantage over other treatments such as chemical peels and some lasers, which aren’t suitable if you have a darker skin tone. It’s also suitable for all skin types: oily, dry, combination, or normal skin. 

There are many ongoing studies into microneedling, and if you need any more convincing, here’s another study published in the National Library of Medicine focusing on acne scarring. This study proved that microneedling doesn’t just work for stretch marks. It also works on acne scars!

✅ For more information on how many sessions of microneedling you may want to check out this article on how often to microneedle. Depending on what your skin concerns are (acne scars, collagen loss, hyperpigmentation, etc) it will let you know how many treatment sessions you can expect.

What To Expect During Microneedling

Before the microneedling session, the dermatologist or aesthetician will make sure you clear all the safety checks and are a good candidate. 

They will prep you and apply a topical numbing cream to the treatment area. When they begin the microneedling, you might experience some discomfort or pain, which is usually tolerable. You can also expect some slight bleeding, depending on the length of needles they are using.

What To Expect After Microneedling

After the procedure, it is natural for the treated area to appear red. The marks might seem jarring, but the redness should resolve as inflammation subsides. You may want to use a soothing hyaluronic acid serum for hydration, but don’t use anything with active ingredients that can irritate like retinol or exfoliating acids. Learn more about microneedling aftercare here– you’ll learn all you need to know for the best results.

One thing to remember is that results will not be visible the next day or the day after. The results won’t start to show until your body’s natural healing process is well underway. I’ve got an article all about when you can expect to see results from microneedling here.

At-Home Microneedling Vs. In-Office Microneedling

In the past few years, brands and influencers have been quick to get on the microneedling bandwagon. Anywhere you go online, you’re bound to encounter microneedling pens for sale or being promoted by beauty gurus, promising you the results without the clinic appointments and costs. 

While not all the microneedling tools are complete trash, most marketers leave out important information in the hype generated to persuade buyers. 

Marketing often misleads buyers into thinking their derma rollers will help them with their scar tissue, stretch marks, and deep wrinkles. For this reason, it is crucial to know the difference between the various microneedling procedures.

microneedling derma roller on skin

Cosmetic Microneedling Can Be Done At Home

You can perform cosmetic microneedling at home with needles smaller than 0.5mm. However, this treatment isn’t going to be too effective on scarring, hyperpigmentation, or stretch marks. It will enhance the absorption of skincare products so that active ingredients can be better absorbed into the top layer of the skin, leading to better results. It also may improve the appearance of pores and help with fine lines. 

A derma roller or at-home microneedling kit won’t offer you what a clinical procedure will. However, it can help your skin’s appearance over time.

In-Office Microneedling: Best for Stretch Marks

Microneedling performed in a clinical setting usually uses microneedles measuring 0.5 to 1.5mm for the face and 1.5mm to 2.5mm for non-facial skin. The larger needle gauges are needed to allow dermatologists or aestheticians to penetrate deeper into the varying depths of the dermis where collagen and elastin production occurs. If you want to improve the appearance of stretch marks, in-office microneedling is what you want.

I’ve seen many derma rollers online that promise to banish acne scars and stretch marks. But it’s important to have realistic expectations. If you have severe acne scars or stretch marks, you’ll be much better off with professional microneedling than you will be using a derma roller at home.

Guidelines for Microneedling At Home

What could go wrong? The most common mistakes are being too aggressive with microneedling and not sanitizing your equipment.

Using Needs That Are Too Long

Using longer needs at home may not achieve the desired results and may even cause injuries that will worsen scarring. Remember, microneedling is meant to cause microscopic punctures. 

Needles that are too big can cause more extensive wounds that could become infected and lead to more unsightly scarring.

Improperly Sterilized Microneedles Can Cause Infection

Soap and water aren’t going to cut it when you want to microneedle. Even if your device is as clean as you can get it, your technique might not be as sterile as a professional’s. 

Make sure to use alcohol to sterilize your at-home microneedling tool in between every use.

Who Should Not Try Microneedling

Unfortunately, some people are ineligible for microneedling. You should not try microneedling if any of the below apply to you:

  • You Take Blood Thinning Medications: People taking anticoagulant medication or blood thinners should not undergo microneedling for the same reasons people with blood disorders cannot have them. There is a risk of prolonged or excessive bleeding.
  • You Have Certain Skin Conditions: Microneedling may cause more harm than good for people with skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. The way skin with these conditions may respond to this procedure has not been well researched.
  • You Are Prone To Keloid Scarring: People who are keloid formers could be ineligible for this procedure as it could lead to keloid scarring in the treated areas.

Final Thoughts on Microneedling Stretch Marks

If you’re going to invest in any cosmetic treatment like microneedling, microdermabrasion, lasers, etc. it’s worth taking the time to know the best practices so you stay safe and see fantastic results. I’m a huge fan of treatments like microneedling that actually increase collagen production in the skin. I hope this has been helpful to you in deciding if microneedling is the right treatment for your stretch marks.