Laser Treatments For Stretch Marks – Bring Back The Bikini
Tired of stretch marks? Is there anything you can do about them?
The short answer is “absolutely”.
Stretch marks are something nobody wants.
Unfortunately, there is no non-invasive treatments available today that completely “removes” these marks.
However, with advancements in laser technology there are laser treatments for stretch marks available to greatly improve the skin’s appearance and minimize the marks to a point where they are hardly noticeable.
The information below is intended as a starting point for anyone looking at laser treatments as a means to improving self-confidence and overall well-being.
Nonetheless, this information is not intended to replace the advice or direction of a qualified medical professional. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions people have about laser therapy.
Laser Stretch Mark Removal FAQ
What Are The Benefits Of Laser Treatments For Stretch Marks?
It’s commonly known that stretch marks can contribute to low self esteem.
Laser procedures can help patients become more confident in their interactions with others.
Even if the stretch marks cannot be removed completely, just minimizing their appearance can improve ones self-confidence and body image.
With a healthy body image, patients who have had laser removal of stretch marks can feel confident wearing a strapless or low cut dress or even a bikini while on vacation or at the beach.
It becomes just one less thing to worry about.
What Kind Of Lasers Are Used For Treating Stretch Marks?
There are two general types of lasers for stretch mark treatments: ablative and non-ablative.
During ablative procedures, the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, is essentially “stripped” away to a precise depth.
However, the skin is not burned as some believe. Ablative lasers disrupt the bonds that bind the molecules in the skin’s tissue and cause the tissue to break apart and disintegrate.
This type of injury induces a healing response that stimulates fibroblasts in the dermis to produce collagen and elastin resulting in smoother newer looking skin.
Because the outer layer of skin is removed, ablative procedures require more time to heal than non-ablative procedures. Some examples of ablative procedures are CO2 and Erbium laser skin resurfacing and Excimer laser therapy.
Non-ablative lasers treat stretch marks by penetrating the epidermis and focusing treatment deeper in the dermal layer without causing obvious injury to the outer layer of the skin. Since the epidermis is minimally affected, there is often less pain and less time needed for healing than with ablative procedures.
Some examples of non-ablative laser treatments include the use of fractional laser therapy, pulsed dye lasers, and radio frequency therapy.
4 Leading Laser Treatments For Stretch Marks
Fractional Laser Treatments (Non-ablative)
Fractional laser therapy, or fractional photothermolysis, is the latest advancement in cosmetic laser treatments and particularly good for difficult mature white stretch marks.
These lasers create small vertical “injuries” penetrating directly into the patient’s dermis where the problem lies to promote new collagen growth.
The injuries occur on a microscopic level and are approximately the diameter of a hair shaft. This process stimulates the production of new collagen in the deeper layers of the dermis.
The damaged area of skin undergoes a healing process assisted by the surrounding healthy cells, replacing old damaged tissue with new. This fills in the depressed areas of stretch marks resulting in newer, smoother and healthier skin.
Fraxel and Affirm lasers are some common examples of fractional laser systems.
Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) Treatments (Non-ablative)
Pulsed dye laser treatment is a type of laser therapy where short pulses of light with low wavelength are aimed at the dermis where stretch marks originate.
The laser pulses initiate the production of elastin and collagen as these maintain the elasticity of the skin. After the initial session, results are apparent after two months.
CO2 or Erbium Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatments (Ablative)
CO2 and Erbium laser treatments are the mainstay ablative procedures. Similar to microdermabrasion and chemical peels, but more precise and less painful, laser resurfacing treatments involve removing layers of the outer epidermis to a certain depth to stimulate new collagen formation and skin rejuvenation.
During the treatment, a topical or local anesthetic is used to reduce discomfort. After the procedure, treated skin will normally require 7 to 10 days to fully heal.
It’s important to note, this treatment for stretch marks is somewhat controversial. Some dermatologist feel any type of skin resurfacing technique does not treat the actual problem and may if fact, aggravate stretch marks.
Excimer Laser Treatments (Ablative)
Excimer laser treatments are a different approach than the above methods. Instead of targeting production of new collagen and elastin, the Excimer laser stimulates melanin production to darken the pigmentation of the stretch marks so they match the surrounding skin color as close as possible.
Typically, as many as 10 t0 20 treatments may be needed to get satisfactory results. This therapy does not improve skin texture and is best for light colored mature stretch marks.
Are Laser Procedures For Stretch Marks Safe?
Laser treatments use cosmetic lasers that are controlled precisely by skilled technicians. Mishaps are rare with minimal potential of unwanted injury.
Thus, the procedure is considered very safe. Patients have a very high approval rating of laser surgery for stretch marks. The recovery time for treatments is not as long as other invasive surgical procedures like tummy tucks or liposuction.
Nevertheless, laser procedures are not without risk. A laser in the hands of an unskilled technician could possibly cause some superficial damage to the treatment area. Each dermatologist or plastic surgeon should be carefully evaluated to determine the skill level of the laser technician.
Does Laser Therapy For Stretch Marks Hurt?
Most patients find the process tolerable unless they have a low threshold for pain. On a scale of one to 10, most patients rank the procedure a two or a three.
A few may rank the procedure a four in terms of pain. In most instances, patients site the process as tolerable. Unless the patient is sensitive, they should not have any difficulty with the procedure.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Minimal downtime is required for most laser treatments. Commonly, people will have the procedure done one afternoon and return to work the next day.
People with darker pigmentation may be less responsive to laser therapy. If hyperpigmentation occurs, it generally fades within a couple of days. Some patients may not be responsive to laser treatments at all.
There are few side effects to the procedure, and most people find it just mildly uncomfortable. The treated area may be red and tender following the laser treatments.
How Many Laser Treatments Are Needed, What Do They Cost?
Depending on the skin type, age, size, and severity of the stretch marks as well as the treatment method used, the number of treatments and cost can only be determined through a consultation with your doctor or stretch mark specialist.
All clinics and cosmetic centers we’ve dealt with have free stretch mark therapy consultations. In order to provide a general idea for cost and time commitment, here are some treatment and cost estimates:
Fractional laser therapy: 4 to 6 treatments, $350 to $1100 per treatment.
Pulsed dye laser treatments: 1 to 3 treatments, $400 to $1500 per treatment.
Erbium/CO2 laser skin resurfacing: 1 to 4 treatments, $500 to $900 per treatment.
Excimer laser treatments: 5 to 20 treatments, $150 to $400 per treatment.
Important To Keep In Mind…
Natural prevention of stretch marks before they appear should always be your first priority. Prevention may not always be possible, but taking healthy preventative measures can lessen the severity of stretch marks making them much easier to accept, treat or disguise.
Again, for most women and men, stretch marks are unavoidable. As mentioned previously, there is no one stretch mark treatment that is right for everybody.
Laser treatments for stretch marks is effective for most and the technology is constantly advancing.
If you’re interested in removing stretch marks, minimizing their appearance or even preventing them in the first place, inform yourself about all the different options.
See the video below for an example of a clinic providing laser stretch mark removal treatments.