Stretch marks are bothersome cosmetic problems that can show up just about anywhere, at any time and on anyone. Some of the most common causes of stretch marks are puberty, pregnancy and significant weight fluctuations. While laser stretch mark removal can be an effective treatment, there are a few facts you should know before scheduling your first appointment.
Stretch Marks Might Never Go Away Completely
Although laser treatments can greatly improve the appearance of stretch marks, it’s very difficult to make them go away completely. Stretch marks happen when the connecting fibers of your skin’s dermis stretch suddenly and quickly, which can cause a tear in the dermis. Because of this, stretch marks are unlike other scars you might get from falling off a bike or accidently cutting your finger in the kitchen and are therefore trickier to entirely erase.
Newer Stretch Marks Are Easier to Remove Than Older Ones
If you have new stretch marks that just formed, maybe just after having a child, those are typically easier to get rid of than older stretch marks that have been there for a long time. Fresh stretch marks are usually red and raise, which makes them an easy target for laser treatments like PicoWay Resolve®, which uses short bursts of energy to break up unwanted pigment in your skin.
Older stretch marks usually become thinner and take on a white or skin-colored appearance, making them harder to target with a laser. Still, combining laser treatments may be able to help reduce the appearance of older stretch marks by stimulating collagen.
You’ll Probably Need More Than One Treatment
In most cases, laser stretch mark removal is going to take multiple treatment sessions in order to get maximum results. Factors like the size and location of the area being treated and how new or old the stretch marks are can affect how many treatments you might need. Work with a qualified provider to help you plan your laser treatment timeline for the best results.
Two Different Types of Lasers Can Help
Your laser specialist might recommend that you try two different types of lasers to help maximize your outcome. In addition to PicoWay, which can effectively target pigment, eMatrix skin rejuvenation is an effective tool to minimize the appearance of stretch marks and other skin imperfections.
EMatrix is a non-laser fractional bipolar radiofrequency technology that can achieve excellent results, but without the lengthy downtime that traditional ablative fractional lasers come with.
Ablative lasers remove the outer layer of skin, while non-ablative lasers work by heating the underlying layers without harming the skin’s surface.
Miracle Creams Won’t Do the Trick
There are lots of creams and lotions on the market that claim to be the “miracle” cure for stretch marks, but the truth is that you’re just not going to see the dramatic results you’re hoping for with a topical cream. While there is some evidence that retinoid creams can help to reduce the appearance of new stretch marks, they aren’t likely to do anything for older stretch marks and aren’t going to be as effective as lasers.
However, if you want to try to prevent stretch marks from happening in the first place, keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized with topical creams may help your skin to stretch more easily.
Caroll Delo is a board certified laser technician at Simply Smooth Laser Center in Tampa, a niche practice that focuses specifically on laser treatments. Simply Smooth Laser Center offers the most advanced options in laser hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation and laser tattoo removal.