Stretch Marks Treatment
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks has always been one of the most difficult issues in dermatology but now there are laser treatments which give a great degree of improvement.
Stretch marks occur where the skin has been stretched beyond its physical capacity and a layer of the skin has become very thin. They are thin linear scars which occur due to sudden weight loss or weight gain, pregnancy, puberty, body building etc. They can also happen in medical conditions such as Cushing's syndrome where levels of cortisone in the body can become very high.
About 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks. Growth spurts and sudden or excessive weight gain cause stretch marks in young people and these affect 70% of adolescent girls and about 40% of young men. Young people often develop stretch marks from participating in certain body-altering sports such as weightlifting or from the use of steroid drugs.
Where do they occur?
Stretch marks can occur in females on the abdomen, arms, breasts, buttocks and thighs. Men usually develop them on the shoulders, arms and back and thighs. Initially the stretch marks are purplish in color and become silvery grey with time.
What treatments have been used for Stretch marks and can they be prevented?
There are plenty over-the-counter stretch marks laser treatments, such as Strivectin, Retino products, glycolic acids However none of them have been medically proven to improve the appearance of stretch marks. Dermabrasion or chemical peels have also been used with minimal results. Surgical options involve removing areas of stretched skin. These techniques are effective, but are more invasive than other options and thus involve longer recovery time.
New advances in lasers such as Fraxel have shown dramatic improvement in stretch marks. Current laser technology has been shown to improve or eliminate red or raised scars. The principle of laser treatment for stretch marks is that laser stimulates the skin's healing mechanism triggering the natural synthesis of collagen. The degree of success with stretch marks laser treatments will be impacted by your age, your skin tone and the age of the stretch marks.
Fraxel lasers are currently the gold standard for treatment and the only solution in the world for visible, permanent changes in stretch marks.
How do Laser Stretch Marks Treatments Work?
Cosmetic laser treatment for stretch marks works to stimulate renewed growth of depleted collagen. It removes damaged skin tissue, seals broken blood vessels and repairs the fibers of the middle skin. This helps to "fill in" the stretch marks. Anti-stretch mark creams also follow the same line of treatment but are not very effective. This is because creams do not penetrate beyond the top layer of the skin. Thus, they do not reach the layer where the skin produces collagen. However, lasers reaches the deeper dermis, which is the affected level of skin and therefore effectively repair the damage.
Which is the most effective laser treatment for Stretch marks?
The Fraxel laser is the most effective laser treatment for Stretch marks available today. The Fraxel can stimulate stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis while resurfacing about 20% of your skin's surface with each treatment. After a series of treatments, one will see improvement in the texture, diameter and depth of the stretch marks. The laser treatment for stretch marks requires a topical anesthetic beforehand. During the stretch marks treatments, the hand piece is gently guided across the skin like an airbrush painting your skin with micro-treatments beneath the surface of your skin. Stretch marks treatments normally take about 20-25 minutes. The redness that is noticed after treatment goes away in a few days. The results become noticeable within weeks of treatment, giving dramatic, visible and permanent improvement.