Many individuals are self-conscious about their stretch marks, including teenagers, adults, men and women. While not harmful to the health, nobody enjoys seeing them in the mirror. Unfortunately, once stretchmarks appear they don’t go away. The good news is that cosmetic dermatology practices, such as SkinCare Physicians in Brookline Mass, have effective laser treatments that can significantly improve their appearance. But first, let’s understand what causes stretch marks.
Stretch marks are distinct lines on the skin that can occur after any relatively quick stretching of the skin. Causes include teenage growth spurts, weight gain, pregnancy and rapid muscle gain in weight lifters. Several medical conditions and medications can also contribute to the formation of stretch marks.
Stretch marks are noticeable because their color and texture can differ from normal, adjacent skin. Their color can vary from pink to white and sometimes the stretched skin is thinner.
Fortunately, the appearance of stretch marks can be improved with simple, in-office laser procedures. Cosmetic laser surgeons can customize a laser treatment protocol based on what bothers a patient most about their stretch marks. Some patients care most about the pink color of stretch marks and others are bothered by their texture. We have specific lasers best for each of these concerns. Areas that are frequently treated include the upper arms, chest, abdomen, love handles and thighs.
Improve the color of stretch marks:
Stretch marks vary in color, generally related to how long they have been present. In light skin tones, new stretch marks tend to be pink, often appearing inflamed or irritated. As stretch marks age, they sometimes become lighter and more similar to normal skin tone. The pink color can be due to the increased number or appearance of blood vessels. This is often the most visible and distressing characteristic of stretch marks. Lasers that target red color and blood vessels are most helpful in improving or eliminating the pink color of stretch marks. There are several lasers in this category including Pulsed Dye Lasers and KTP lasers. Results can be seen with 3 to 6 treatments done at monthly intervals.
Improving the texture of stretch marks:
The skin of stretch marks is often thin or atrophic. This change is similar to what occurs in some scars. By utilizing the same types of lasers used to improve scars (such as acne scars), our cosmetic dermatologists can greatly improve the appearance of stretch marks. The most frequently used laser for this purpose is the Fraxel Restore. This device works by delivering columns of energy to the skin to promote collagen remodeling and regrowth. During this process, the skin of stretch marks begins to look more and more like normal skin. While it can be difficult to eliminate stretch marks altogether, after a series of 4-6 Fraxel treatments, stretch marks become much more difficult to see.
If you are bothered by the color or the texture of your stretch marks know that our cosmetic dermatology practice has effective laser devices to treat them. Book a consultation with one of Skincare Physicians’ dermatologists in Brookline MA to discuss your options.