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Daily Question: Does TriLastin Work on Stretch Marks?

Posted Sep 12 2011 4:10pm

Via the :

Do you know anything about Trilastin for stretch marks?


Dear Linda,

Stretch marks are often seen following puberty and pregnancy, as well as in chronic yo-yo dieters and body builders.   The exact mechanism by which stretch marks develop is unknown, but may occur when the maximum tensile strength of elastic fibers within the skin is exceeded.  It has been shown that stretch marks contain decreased amounts of fibrillin and elastic fibers, and an increase in glycosaminoglycans ( British Journal of Dermatology , 2008).  The study also showed stretch marks have disorganized fibrillin and elastic fibers.

Elastic fibers (right) within the subcutaneous tissue of a young rabbit.

Trilastin  ($86.00, )  claims to work by releasing microspheres of collagen onto the skin.  These microspheres are supposed to deliver hydration first, followed by healing bio-extracts.  These form a “micro-net” that supposedly enables the skin to heal.

Unfortunately, while this all sounds great, the ideal stretch mark treatment would cause fibrillin and elastin fibers to grow in higher numbers and to reorganize themselves.  This is why laser treatments are so effective in treating stretch marks:  A 1996 Dermatologic Surgery  study showed a 585 nm laser increases collagen and elastin production within the skin.  Lasers do this by stimulating cells called fibroblasts, which are responsible for collagen and elastin production.  Now,  Trilastin  does contain collagen microspheres, so it is possible that some of the collagen could get into the lower layers of the skin (i.e., the dermis).  However, there is no way Trilastin  could influence the collagen and elastin fibers within the skin to reorganize themselves.

Trilastin  may temporarily improve the appearance of small stretch marks because the cream delivers a lot of hydration.  However, I would recommend 585-nm laser treatments, which have been shown to be more effective than even CO2 treatments in reducing stretch marks ( Dermatologic Surgery , 1999).   I would caution that laser treatments are not as effective for darker skin types ( Dermatologic Surgery , 1999).  Those with darker skin may benefit more from 0.1% tretinoin, which has been shown to produce clinically significant improvement in the length and width of stretch marks ( Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , 1998).  Other similar treatments include Retin-A, Renova, Avita, Differin, and Tazorac.  This is available by prescription from your doctor.

I like Mederma for treating stretch marks.   Mederma  contains an onion-bulb extract that has been shown to improve collagen organization within existing scars ( Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery , 2002).  Now, granted, the study was conducted on rabbit ears, but personal experience has taught me that generous twice-daily application of  Mederma  can really make a difference on existing stretch marks.

As far as over-the-counter treatments go, I like camellia oil.  According to a  2007 study in  Ethnobiology , camellia oil increases collagen production within the skin and promotes hydration.  Camellia oil was found to stimulate collagen production by two mechanisms:

  • One, camellia oil activates a gene promoter in human skin cells called COL1A2, which starts the production of collagen [type I].
  • Two, camellia oil prevents the breakdown of collagen by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, an enzyme that breaks down collagen.

Add in the fact that camellia oil-treated skin had less transepidermal water loss (TEWL) than non-treated skin just 1-2 hours after treatment, and I’m a fan.  However, I must say that I like camellia oil better for the of stretch marks than the treatment.  Unlike laser treatments, camellia oil will not cause existing stretch marks to dissolve.  Instead, it will promote the growth of more collagen while you are growing, such as during weight gain or pregnancy.   My favorite product with camellia oil is Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil  ($45.00,

Those with minor stretch marks may experience a slight improvement from   Trilastin .  This is because the small collagen microspheres in  Trilastin  can hydrate and temporarily increase the amount of collagen in the general area of the stretch marks.  However,   Trilastin  cannot cause collagen or elastin fibers to naturally increase in number, nor can it cause these fibers to reorganize.  Treatments like the 585-nm laser do this, resulting in more lasting improvements, particularly for those with lighter skin tones.  These can be of significant cost ($600-800) and require 1-3 rounds of treatment, scheduled 6-12 weeks apart in order to allow the skin to heal.  They, however, work wonderfully and have lasting results.

Product Rating:  5/10 (High or optimized concentration of proven-effective ingredients:  1/3.  Unique formulation or new technology:  2/3.  Value for the money: 1/3.  Sunscreen: 0/1).

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-3 Benzyl, Ether Myristate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric, Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Beeswax, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin Laureth-7, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl, Stearate Citrate, Sodium Dicocoylethylenediamine, Peg-15 Sulfate, Zea Mays (Corn) Kernel Extract, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Propylparaben, Azelaic Acid, Pueraria Lobata, Root Extract, Algin, Sodium Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Atelocollagen, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Polyglyceryl 3 Methylglucose Distearate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Ethylparaben, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Disodium Edta, Bht, Tocopheryl Acetate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Ubiquinone, Palmitic Acid, Thioctic Acid, Beta Carotene, Phytonadione, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract.

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