When it comes to treating stretch marks, a daily application of Bio-Oil, a bottle of Palmer's Cocoa Butter Cream, or a pricey laser session might come to mind. But getting a tattoo? Not exactly something that you’d associate with this beauty topic. But that’s exactly what one tattoo artist is doing, and the internet is actually freaking out. And after you see the pics, you’ll get why.
Rodolpho Torres, a Brazilian tattoo artist with a whopping 1.2 million followers on Instagram, is becoming known for his stretch marks “camouflaging method.” He takes flesh-toned ink and fills in the scars so they're less visible. You can see it in action, too, as Torres’s Instagram feed is filled with videos demonstrating his exclusive treatment, along with shockingly impressive before-and-after shots.
And judging from the snaps, it at least appears legit. But like we mentioned before, this isn’t your average dermatologist’s suggestion for getting rid of stretch marks, if that’s a concern to you.
To give you a little background on the topic, we went to the pros.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Founder & Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, stretch marks are formed when your skin is stretched quickly, like in pregnancy, weight gain or loss, or steroid use. When the skin is stretched, Dr. Tanzi explains the "microscopic elastic fibers tear and break in the skin,” which is what forms the stretch marks.
"The skin's ability to stretch without breaking those elastic bands is dependent on genetics, which is why some people develop stretch marks during pregnancy and others don’t,” she further explains.
Now is this tattoo method totally foolproof?
"I think it's safe, but I would be concerned that the tattoo color fades and changes with time (all tattoos change and fade with time), so the color at first will not be the same as the color in 5, 10 or 20 years,” says Dr. Tanzi. "Also once the tattoo is placed, it is NOT easy to remove. I should know, I'm a laser expert who uses lasers to lighten tattoos all the time.”
After hearing that, you’d probably want to be 100 percent positive you really want to camouflage these spots forever, and you’d still have to be concerned with any color changes within the ink. Doesn’t seem like a forever fix.
While this treatment is only available in Brazil, there are other derm-approved methods out there, like microneeding and laser treatments, in addition to beauty products marketed for stretch marks that have glowing reviews. In any event, sit down with your derm to find out what's best (and the healthiest) option for you.