Unsightly scars and stretch marks, or striae, have presented problems for men and women for centuries. Many people generally consider scars and stretch marks unsightly, disfiguring and unacceptable.
Types of stretch marks
Stretch marks can appear as deep gashes in the skin, typically purple or red. Other stretch marks are thin and silvery or grey, and may be slightly raised. Some stretch marks are comprised of bumps and ridges, characteristic of thick scar tissue.
What causes scars & stretch marks?
Scars form as part of the skin’s healing process whenever multiple layers of skin are injured. The injury may be the result of an accident, surgery, a burn or even severe acne. While the exact cause of stretch marks is unknown, it is thought that striae are the result of your skin’s collagen and elastin breaking down under stress. It is thought that striae, or stretch marks, are formed when the connective collagen fibres of the skin are stretched beyond their capacity, and the resulting breakage creates scarring. Pregnancy, bodybuilding and weight loss are the leading causes of stretch marks. Stretch marks occur most frequently in areas of mechanical stress such as the breasts, abdomen, thighs, groin or buttocks. In the beginning, stretch marks are red. They turn white as part of the healing process.
Laser Stretch Mark Removal
Approved by the FDA in 2002, fractional laser therapy is an effective option for the treatment of stretch marks. Unlike traditional laser therapy, which requires more downtime, this type of laser therapy uses Infra-red laser that emits very short pulses of energy-rich, Infra-red laser light to disrupt the molecular structure of skin tissue. This method reduces the appearance of stretch marks through disintegration of only the top layer of tissue, so major downtime is not required, and the slight heat it emits causes the cell turnover rate in the lower tissue levels to increase, so the skin sloughs off faster.
Do laser treatments work for Scars?
Current laser technology has been shown to improve or eliminate red or raised scars. Recent studies have demonstrated that laser treatments stimulate the production of collagen and improve or eliminate the appearance of stretch marks. Additional studies show that the appearance of stretch marks continues to improve over a period of time ranging from 3 to 6 months after the laser treatment was given. Even those treatments that showed little if any initial improvement showed as much as a 50% improvement at their 6 month check-up. Because there are several different types of stretch marks - coloured, textured and white - and because we treat all skin types, it is impossible to determine which lasers we would use or what type of results might be expected without evaluating you during the free consultation.
Why Laser Therapy?
Until recently, the only way to remove stretch marks was through cosmetic surgery. This invasive, painful option, and the downtime it required, made stretch mark removal unattainable for many. Now, fractional laser therapy, using the Infra-red laser , offers a very effective option for stretch mark removal that causes very little pain, requires no cutting or anaesthesia and necessitates very little downtime.
How safe is Laser Therapy for Stretch Marks?
When performed by a qualified cosmetic physician, laser therapy for stretch marks is known to be an extremely safe procedure, but side effects can occur. Temporary redness and blistering are the most common side effects, and the doctor will discuss these and any other risks prior to performing the procedure. In few cases you might need certain post treatment medications depending on your skin response .These medications will be prescribed by one of our doctors, which you can buy from any pharmacy.
What Preparation is Necessary for Laser Stretch Mark Removal?
This type of laser therapy is non-invasive and not particularly painful, so sedation is not required. Therefore, preparation is not necessary. However, individuals with a low pain tolerance may choose to take a mild sedative or painkiller before the procedure to reduce discomfort.
Medications to avoid prior to treatment
Please discuss with us your exact medication list – be sure to mention if you are taking any antibiotics. Please let us know if you have a condition known as porphyria (a condition that causes sensitivity to light). Photosensitising medications should be avoided prior to treatment.
When I will see the results?
It depends on the individual, but most people will need 3-5 laser treatments for optimum results. Once you finish your recommended number of treatments, the results will keep improving for the next 3-6 months.
What should you expect after treatment?
Results vary from patient to patient and may not be immediate. Results from laser scar and stretch mark treatment are generally progressive and may require multiple treatments. If you respond to the first treatment, your second treatment will usually be as good as the first, and the third treatment will be almost as good. About 70% of patients receiving laser treatments for their stretch marks notice a marked improvement. Newer and shallower stretch marks and scars respond better than older and deeper scars and stretch marks. To enhance the results of your laser treatments your surgeon may recommend the use of tretinoin cream or a glycolic acid cream prior to and after your laser treatments. This information is intended to supplement, not replace, a consultation with a board certified physician. To find out if you could be a candidate for one of these procedures or to learn more information about these procedures, we invite you to contact one of our doctors for a private consultation.
Don’t let unsightly stretch marks keep you from the activities you love. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation for any cosmetic procedure at our clinic
Are Stretch Marks preventable?
To a certain degree you can minimize the development of stretch marks by keeping your skin moisturised. During pregnancy or weight gain, skin will stretch. Skin that is kept moist (cocoa butter creams, lotions, etc.) will have more “give” and experience fewer marks during times of growth, pregnancy, muscle development and weight increases.