What are stretch marks and can they be camouflaged?

May 21, 2021

What are stretch marks and can they be camouflaged?

May 21, 2021

A popular topic that pops up on Facebook forums and permanent-makeup websites is stretch mark camouflaging. In this article, our head medical micropigmentation trainer Kelly discusses whether skin camouflaging micropigmentation is an effective solution for stretch marks.


Kelly has been a skin camouflage artist for over 17 years and teaches technicians in our skin camouflage training course and has not seen any research to prove this procedure is successful. In this article, Kelly delves into what stretch marks are, what she feels is the appropriate treatment for stretch marks and the effects of camouflaging.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks

Stretch marks can appear on any area where fat is stored and can occur when the middle layer of your skin stretches too fast causing some of its collagen fibres to break. As a result, the blood vessels underneath become prominent and appear purple/pink initially and over time fade to white or silver. They tend to look like rippled lines and appear on the stomach, arms, hips, thighs, breasts, and posterior.


Stretch marks can make some people feel self-conscious about their body and that is why there is the need for an answer and treatment.


Can we skin camouflage stretch marks?

Now that we understand what stretch marks are, we can now discuss why camouflaging this type of damaged skin is NOT as effective as advertised. 


Understanding and studying the skin is paramount. 


Skin is not one flat colour. A stretch mark has a different texture from the skin surrounding it. Stretch marks have lost their elastin and will be thinner in diameter. Stretch marks can also continually expand over time. If a technician colours the stretch mark with pigment, more pigment will be required as the skin stretches further. The result will make the stretch mark that was once coloured very patchy and impossible to match in colour. 


What forum posts and instagrammable shots do not show are the effects after camouflaging. The pigment covering the stretch mark can become blue, orange or significantly different in colour from the natural skin surrounding it. This result makes the appearance of the stretch mark stand out and may attract more attention to it, which goes against the ultimate goal of the treatment. 


Skin camouflaging with safe pigments can be a fantastic option for a patient with scars, vitiligo and skin grafts. It is a highly skilled procedure that requires detailed and constructive training and practice to master. 


What treatments can we offer for stretch marks?

So what can we, as technicians, offer as a form of treatment for stretch marks if camouflaging is not suitable? 


Adding pigment over a stretch mark as I have discussed, does not benefit the skin structure underneath. However, performing skin needling with safe serums can produce some fantastic natural results.


Performing skin needling involves using a handheld device that contains fine needles that technicians use to gently press or roll against the stretch mark to create small areas of trauma. In turn, this will activate the body’s internal healing mechanism. Skin needling encourages a natural production of new collagen and elastin, which will lead to improved skin elasticity and smoother-looking skin. Unlike camouflaging, where a technician is simply applying pigment over the skin, skin needling will help improve the appearance and structure underneath the stretch mark. 


As well as skin camouflaging, you must also be very selective on the skin when skin needling. We need to be wary not to needle over ordinary skin as this could cause hyperpigmentation which are dark patches on the skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. We must proceed with skin needling as well as skin camouflaging with care and caution. If you are interested in medical micropigmentation training, you should always make sure to receive the correct training with someone who understands the process of both needling and camouflaging. 


Skin needling can help reduce the stretch marks appearance but it is vital to understand that skin needling cannot permanently remove stretch marks. As you can see from the picture below, the treatment will reduce the stretch size, help prevent further stretching and can help to improve the melanin in re-pigmentation, making it a fantastic treatment to offer to anyone with stretch marks. 

Stretch marks skin needling

If a patient is still concerned with the appearance of their stretch marks, a fantastic method of covering these faint stretch marks is to use makeup. We stock a marvelous makeup range that is gentle on the skin and fragrance-free, long-lasting and offers waterproof coverage for the face and body. RiparCover makeup was produced to help cover scars, vitiligo and stretch marks. You can find out more about RiparCover makeup here


Please also note that out Skin needling and our Meso skin needling are different treatments. Our Meso skin needling involves facial skin rejuvenation while medical skin needling has more needles and different techniques to handle different areas of skin on the body from stretch marks, burns, skin grafts and more.


Skin camouflaging stretch marks is a concerning treatment that has grown in popularity. As medical micropigmentation technicians, we need to seriously consider the impact of skin camouflaging and what treatments we perform and leave our clients with. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are providing the correct answers to concerns rather than creating worse problems and upsetting our patients further. I encourage you to share this article with fellow technicians so together we can educate others and stop promoting skin camouflaging as a form of answer for stretch marks.  


Learn how to improve the appearance and the surface underneath stretch marks through skin needling in our skin camouflage training course. On the course, we also cover how to skin camouflage with safe pigments on appropriate skin surfaces such as scars, skin grafts and more.


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