Laser Treatments for Stretch Marks
Laser treatments for stretch marks work by repairing the collagen layer of the skin. Collagen is a vital component of healthy skin, so you should aim to promote the production of new collagen to rejuvenate your skin. During pregnancy or excessive weight gain, the collagen layer of the skin breaks rapidly thereby causing the skin to stretch. Laser treatment works by improving the appearance of the stretched look of the skin.
How Laser Treatments for Stretch Marks Work?
The formation of stretch marks begins with a breakdown of collagen located on the second layer of the skin known as dermis. Seventy five percent of the skin is made up of collagen, so when the production of collagen slows down, your skin becomes saggy and unhealthy-looking. Collagen depletion or damage can result to the occurrence of wrinkles, fine lines, premature-aging and stretch marks. While the breakdown in collagen layer gives your skin its stretched look, it can be cured through laser treatments.
Laser treatments for stretch marks are non-invasive, hence making it safe, quick and painless. The term “laser” stands for light amplification through the emission of radiation. To reduce the appearance of stretch marks, a concentrated amount of laser is used for removing extremely thin layers of your skin. This causes the skin to rejuvenate and form new healthy skin. Prior to the procedure, your skin is cleansed with a special cleansing agent to remove the oil and dirt. During the course of the treatment, you will feel like you are repeatedly being pinched or stuck with a needle. But generally, most patients find laser treatment very tolerable, except for those who have lower pain threshold.
Who are the Best Candidates for Laser Treatments?
Patients who respond best to laser treatments are those with fair skin complexion and those with fresh or purplish stretch marks. Ironically, fresh and dark skin marks are easier to treat than old and pale ones. Mature stretch marks may not respond too well to treatment, but visible streaks may be less obvious.
Types of Laser Treatments
There are different types of laser treatments used for removing stretch marks. These include fractional laser therapy, pulse dye laser therapy and excimer laser therapy.
Fractional Laser Therapy: Fractional laser therapy makes use of the microscopic lasers to treat white stretch marks. These are concentrated lasers that create tiny wounds, thereby causing the body to respond by increasing the collagen production of the skin. The laser creates a number of vertical injuries to the skin, with non-treated skin in between the treated areas. This untreated skin will help the injured skin to replace the area with new healthy skin. The lasers do not affect the surrounding skin at all; hence it does not damage the surrounding tissues. Some doctors favor this type of procedure because it only requires a minimum down time for the patient. However, patients who undergo this type of laser treatment are at minimum risk for scarring and infection. Moreover, the skin may swell and peel after treatment.
Pulse Dye Laser Therapy: Pulse dye lasers work by removing the redness in your stretch marks. A high concentrated beam is used to destroy the blood vessels underneath the skin where the striae form. The wounds that are created in the process will react in the dermis, hence boosting the production of collagen and elastin and improving skin elasticity. While PDL is the most widely used laser treatment for stretch marks, people with darker skin tone are not advised to undergo this kind of treatment because of the risk for hyper pigmentation. Furthermore, the procedure requires more time for healing since a larger area of the skin is treated.
Excimer Laser Therapy: The main goal of excimer laser therapy is to stimulate the production of melanin, a skin property responsible for giving skin its color. When laser hits the skin the melanin production increases. This consequently results to the re-pigmentation of the stretch marks to match the skin complexion of the surrounding area. The downside, however, is that the results of the procedure may not be permanent as melanin formed in the stretch marks could eventually fade over time.
How Much Does a Laser Treatment Cost?
Laser treatment for stretch marks is not cheap, and the cost depends on the severity of stretch marks and the area to be treated. Typically, laser treatment may cost anywhere between $200 and $1,300 per session. Discuss with your doctor about the number of treatments required for your stretch marks as well as the overall estimated cost of treatment. Moreover, laser treatment for stretch marks may not be shouldered by your insurance company since this is considered a cosmetic procedure. And since you need to go in for a series of sessions, you may need to talk to your insurance carrier or your doctor about your financing options.
What are the Side Effects and Possible Complications?
Laser treatment is generally safe however, if you get the treatment from an unregistered clinic or from someone who’s not qualified to perform this treatment, then you will put yourself at greater risk for side effects and complications. Permanent scarring, nausea and swelling are the most common complications if the procedure is not carried out properly. It is also possible for the treated area to swell and to turn red during or shortly after the procedure. Your doctor should explain the potential risks and recovery times prior to treatment.
Laser treatments for stretch marks require a big investment of your time and money. Be sure to have good understanding about the procedure as a whole before you favor into this type of treatment. A good rule of thumb is to set a realistic expectation of what these treatments can achieve. Early intervention is the best possible remedy for enhancing the appearance of your stretch marks. Just remember that stretch marks do not cause any harm to your health other than making you feel anxious. Take your time to do your research before you invest your time and money to this kind of treatment.
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*Results not typical - This article makes no guarantee of results.