Stretch marks are a normal part of life for roughly 80% of the population, but it's also normal to occasionally fantasize about the lines disappearing overnight. After all, stretch marks aren't particularly easy to treat; creams and lotions might help somewhat, but your best bet is usually laser treatments. Now, however, there may be a surprising new way to make stretch marks disappear: tattooing them.
Brazilian tattoo artist Rodolpho Torres posts mesmerizing videos on his Instagram page of himself wielding a tattoo needle to make clients' stretch marks seemingly melt away. By using a flesh-toned ink, Torres can fill in the scarred lines and help them blend in with the surrounding skin. Once the tattoo is healed, the appearance of stretch marks is greatly minimized. Not only is it fun to watch Torres color in the lines in his videos (it's soothing in that adult coloring book kind of way), but his before-and-after pictures are also very impressive.
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But the real question is, can this tattoo treatment for stretch marks compare to traditional laser treatments? According to Fashionista, Torres' results are simply an "optical illusion," and not to be compared to the results of a trained dermatologist.
We spoke to an expert to get their take on whether this is a valid stretch mark treatment. Raleigh, NC plastic surgeon Cynthia L. Diehl, MD says, "It is very possible to tattoo over stretch marks to cover-up or reduce the appearance. However, stretch marks are basically linear scars where the dermis (skin) tore on the inside during a stretch of the tissue. It does not behave like normal skin during the tattooing process, therefore, a tattoo over a stretch mark becomes very unpredictable. The depth of pigment penetration and the aging of the tattoo may differ from the neighboring skin with normal elasticity.”
However, there may be some cases when seeing a tattoo artist could be a good solution to consider. "It would be important to go to a tattoo artist that is skilled and familiar with tattooing stretch marks,” Dr. Diehl says. "Although some stretch marks may never disappear because the quality of the tattoo in the scarred area is different, the appearance could certainly be minimized.” You could also choose to have a tattoo artist hide stretch marks in a different way. "Some tattoo artists incorporate the stretch marks into the design, by tattooing around them but not necessarily on them to give a long-lasting result over skin that is healthier while minimizing the appearance of the stretch marks,” Dr. Diehl says.
Naturally we would encourage discussing options for stretch mark treatments with a doctor before running to your local tattoo artist. Still, Torres can safely count us amongst the 1.2 million followers enthralled by his Instagram posts.