The standard treatment options for stretch marks such as oils, creams, lotions, and gels are not working at all? Then it may be time to consider the option of later treatment right away! Normally, experts recommend starting with first-line treatment options, which include topical mixtures such as creams, gels, and lotions. But if these things fail to remove the stretch marks, then the only option that remains is laser stretch mark removal.
With laser treatment, the stretch marks will eventually fade away until they are no longer noticeable. But before we explore this option, let’s take a look at the stretch marks, treatment options, and related information first!
Stretch Marks – Explained.
When the skin shrinks or stretches quickly over a short period of time, a scar is developed, which is commonly referred to as a stretch mark. Due to this abrupt change in the skin, the elastin and collagen start to rupture. Since these two things support the skin, their eventual rupture means that the skin will try to heal. Due to the healing of the skin, these stretch marks can appear. But these stretch marks do not appear in every person – Instead, it only appears in a limited population.
Some other things that can also result in stretch marks are changing hormone levels, and even a family history of stretch marks can play an important role.
A few of the common reasons for developing these scars include:
- Fast growth during puberty.
- Losing weight or gaining weight rapidly.
- Multiple weight training exercises resulting in muscle growth.
- Marfan syndrome or Cushing’s disease is also a common reason.
- Long-term use of corticosteroid topically (on the skin) can also cause stretch marks.
If you have got a stretch mark, it will be very easy to spot it right away. In the beginning, the stretch marks tend to have a pink, red, purple, dark brown, or reddish-brown color. The color of these stretch marks will depend entirely on your skin color. The stretch marks which appear in the start tend to be itchy and will feel slightly raised when you move your fingers over them.
Over time, the distinguished color will eventually fade away with only a narrow band’s skin appearing below your skin. Touching a mature stretch mark can feel like slight depression as if something has disappeared under your skin.
In short, when a rapid change happens in your body, it can cause stretch marks. Your body weight may drop or increase suddenly, but your skin remains the same size. Just imagine that someone overweight wears your T-shirt… What would happen then? When you wear that same T-shirt again, the fitting will get loose. The same thing happens in the case of scars like stretch marks!
Stretch Marks – Treatment Options.
Just like most scars, the stretch marks are also usually permanent, but an appropriate treatment option is used. With various treatment options, these scars tend to become less noticeable. But starting treatment is not just for the looks because the treatment also helps in relieving any itch problems related to the stretch marks.
The treatment can differ from person to person & the type of stretch marks being present – That’s why one treatment option may work for one person but may not work for a different person and so on.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular treatment options for these scars:
Creams, Gels, and Lotions:
That’s the first treatment that is usually used to treat the problem of stretch marks. Some people tend to see visible improvement from using these topical treatment options. But for some, there is very little improvement to no improvement at all!
To ensure that the stretch marks fade away with such products, keep the following things in mind:
- For best results, apply the cream, gels, or lotions on early stretch marks. Because once the stretch marks mature, these treatment options will have little to no effect.
- Gently massage the product over the affected skin. Massaging the creams or gels for an appropriate period of time can increase the effectiveness.
- For best results, make sure that you apply the topical products every day. It can take several weeks to start seeing some visible results.
Many home remedies are also popular for the treatment of stretch marks. But medical studies and research have shown that none of the products from home remedies tend to have any effect on the stretch marks. Some of the common home remedies for this problem are Vitamin E, almond oil, olive oil, and cocoa butter.
But you need to remember that there is no evidence that suggests the effectiveness of such treatment options for the stretch marks.
Advanced Treatment options.
Now, let’s talk about the various treatment procedures used by dermatologists if the topical solutions fail to make the stretch marks less noticeable.
Some of the common procedures include:
- Laser Therapy
- Chemical Peel
Now, let’s look at the most popular option for stretch marks removal, which is “laser therapy”:
Laser Stretch Mark Removal.
When all other treatment options fail, you can always rely on laser treatment for the removal of stretch marks. One of the major benefits of this treatment option is that it doesn’t involve cutting or sutures.
The laser treatment is more of a broad term as it includes various laser procedures for the removal of these scars. One of the popular options is fractional CO2 which improves the skin appearance by restoring the collagen present in the affected area. Determining a particular laser treatment option will depend on the patient and the specific needs.
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As mentioned earlier, the major benefit of laser stretch mark removal is that it involves no surgery or cutting whatsoever! Another benefit is that this treatment option tends to give better results even when all other treatment options fail. These laser treatment options usually tend to heal the skin by increasing the collagen growth over the affected patch of skin. As a result, the stretch marks tend to diminish as the treatment continues and can make your skin look better once again.
Some of the other benefits of this treatment option include:
There is a minimal recovery period, so you do not have to think about your daily schedule or significant downtime. Since this procedure also doesn’t involve any surgery, you can get back to your daily activities after your session is over.
After undergoing multiple sessions of laser therapy, you will start to see a noticeable improvement in your skin appearance. After going through the prescribed periods of therapy sessions, the stretch marks will eventually diminish and become barely noticeable.
The laser treatment option is not just a cosmetic change. The laser penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin and stimulates the building of elastin and collagen. The stretch marks can appear when these two things are in a lower concentration. So once the concentration of elastin and collagen is restored, the stretch marks start to heal and become less noticeable over time.
Will Laser Treatment Work on all stretch Marks?
Technically, yes, it works on all types of stretch marks. But for best results, it is recommended to get the treatment done when the stretch marks are still relatively newer and have not matured.
When the stretch marks are new, the color tends to be pink or red, which indicates that the blood vessels present under the skin are still working and supplying blood. As a result, the healing process tends to be much faster and usually requires fewer laser therapy sessions.
Mature and older stretch marks mean that the blood vessels are not working at all or barely supplying blood. As a result, the collagen production will be less after the laser treatment and may take more therapy sessions.
Laser Stretch Mark Removal – What to Expect?
So what to expect from the laser skin treatment option when it comes to stretch marks? Let’s take a closer look:
First, you need to understand that it will probably take multiple sessions to start seeing some noticeable results. The actual number of sessions being required will depend on the type of laser being used and the condition of stretch marks. As mentioned earlier, the treatment tends to be short for new stretch marks.
On average, it may take up to 4 treatments over a span of few weeks to start seeing improvements. Another thing to keep in mind is that the stretch marks will not be removed completely… Instead, they will become less visible and less noticeable, thus improving the skin appearance.
According to the American Society for Dermatological Surgery, laser treatment options can result in around 20% – 60% improvement in stretch marks.
But one of the most important things when it comes to laser treatment is finding a good doctor. Since these procedures involve lasers, they are only performed by certified practitioners only. A good doctor will start with your health history, inquire about current medications, and talk about your expectations from this treatment option.
On the first session, the doctor will use a topical anesthetic to numb the affected area. The topical anesthetic is applied over the skin, which means no needles at all. The topical anesthetic can numb the area, which means that you will not feel much pain when the laser beam starts to do its work. At best, you will feel slight discomfort as the laser beam penetrates your skin and start to do its work.
The laser treatment is usually done by two types of lasers:
- Ablative Laser
- Non-Ablative laser
With Ablative laser, side effects such as scabbing, raw skin, and itching are more common. On the other hand, the side effects related to nonablative lasers tend to be less severe, along with a shorter healing period.
Once the skin starts to heal from the laser treatment, the scabs will eventually fall off, and the stretch marks will start to fade away slowly and become fainter as the treatment continues.
According to the estimates provided by ABCS (American Board of Cosmetic Surgery), such treatment options can cost anywhere between $500 (USD) up to $9,000 (USD). On average, the ablative laser treatment costs can be around $2600. As for the non-ablative treatment, the average cost is usually around $1400.
Depending on which type of laser is being used, the treatment session can last from anywhere between half an hour (30 minutes) up to an hour at best.
In summary, the laser stretch mark removal procedure is a great way to get rid of stretch marks in a non-invasive, almost painless manner. It will enhance the quality of your skin in a way that you never thought possible.