Laser Stretch Mark Removal
Your skin does not bounce back to its original state once you’ve stretched it out by being pregnant, gaining or losing weight rapidly, or stretching it through heavy bodybuilding. What does happen is that you’re left with stretch marks — thin red, blue or purple lines running throughout your skin.
You may see stretch marks most commonly on your belly, thighs, upper arms and lower back. They form as a result of broken blood vessels that popped as you added pressure on them from the weight gain. Blood vessels in the second layer of your skin are very sensitive. They’re made out of a form of collagen that easily reacts to sudden trauma.
After a while, the dark colors recede and you’re left with more translucent white or silver lines. Your Manhattan dermatologist can take measures to reduce their vivid appearance, but they are difficult to completely remove once they appear. Laser stretch mark removal is a technique, however, that’s proving quite successful for greatly reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
When to Seek Treatment
Stretch marks aren’t painful and they aren’t dangerous or life-threatening in any way. They can, though, put a damper on your self-esteem or keep you from wearing your new bathing suit in public. When you get tired of looking at your stretch marks or after you’ve wasted countless time and money on scam creams that don’t work, call your New York dermatologist to talk about the latest laser treatments that nearly remove the unsightly lines completely.
Laser stretch mark removal isn’t the ideal method for everyone. For example, lasers usually lighten the skin when applied, so it’s the best treatment for people with light skin. It also depends on the kinds of stretch marks you have:
- White stretch marks are the most difficult to remove because it’s nearly impossible to add pigment back into the skin after it’s lightened with the laser. And once stretch marks turn white, they’ve already gone through a healing process that means the blood vessels are repaired.
- Dark purple, red and blue stretch marks respond dramatically to laser treatment on all kinds of skin types. The stretch marks are relatively new when they’re still dark-colored, and the surge of collagen rushing to the area works well to kick-start the healing process, increasing the chance that they’ll nearly disappear.
- Textured stretch marks are rough to the touch, but they usually respond well to laser treatments. They are deeper and wider than small narrow stretch marks and have more area that needs healing.
How Laser Treatments Work
Once your dermatologist in NYC determines that you’d make a good candidate for laser treatment, you must prepare to make a commitment to the process. Everyone responds differently to lasers; your stretch marks may be gone after only three or four treatments, or you may need as many as 20. In addition to the time, you need to prepare for the costs as well, since laser treatment is considered cosmetic and isn’t covered by insurance.
The procedures are done in your Manhattan dermatologist’s office on an outpatient basis. Before beginning, you’ll don a pair of eye shields to cover your eyes so you don’t accidentally look at the laser. A wand is then passed over your stretch marks and pulses of light are emitted directly into your skin. There are different kinds of lasers available to your skin doctor. The option chosen depends on the severity of your stretch marks, how deep they go, where they are located on your body, your goals and your general health and tolerance of the process. Various laser options include:
- Ablative lasers work very much like dermabrasion or chemical peels. They’re designed to take off layers of your skin so that new skin can grow back in its place. These work best on textured stretch marks that leave small grooves in your skin.
- Non-ablative lasers are used to treat deeper stretch marks. The light that’s emitted boars into the second layer of your skin, where the broken blood vessels causing your stretch marks lie. While non-ablative lasers may take longer to work, they’re the most successful for long-term stretch mark removal. Pulsed dye lasers are non-ablative and commonly used to treat skin disorders like stretch marks.
- Fractional lasers create tiny holes along the stretch mark so that the light can be more targeted and in much stronger doses onto your discolorations. Fractional lasers may be ablative or non-ablative and sometimes are used in conjunction with other lasers for a more complete treatment.
Risks Associated with Laser Treatments
Fortunately, there are few risks that come with laser treatment to remove stretch marks. The most important step you can take to reduce those risks is to follow your New York dermatologist’s instructions closely after each treatment.
The possible risks can include:
- Nerve damage
- Incorrect healing
- Disappointing results
- Blotchiness on your skin
- Skin color changes
Deeper laser treatments are longer-lasting than surface laser stretch mark removal. But as long as you follow directions and don’t stretch your skin out anymore with sudden weight fluctuations, you should enjoy smoother, healthier-looking skin for many years. You’re still going to age, but it might be a bit more gracefully.
Immediately after the procedure, your skin is covered with ointment and possibly a bandage. Depending on how deep the laser went, you may have needed anesthesia. In that case, you may feel some pain at the location of the treatment once the anesthetics wear off. Slight redness and minor swelling are common. Following most laser treatments for stretch marks, however, you’ll be able to return to your normal activities right away, although you may want to take the rest of the day to rest.
Listen to your dermatologist NYC. Stay out of the sun. When you do expose your new skin to the sun, always wear sunscreen. The healing process between treatments can take anywhere from one to eight weeks, depending on how deep the laser went. By and large, you can expect to:
- Develop a scab over the spot
- Watch your skin turn pink for a while
- Be directed to use special creams and lotions
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about Laser Stretch Mark Removal? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, award winning, top rated dermatologist, Dr. Susan Bard of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, please contact our Midtown NYC office for consultation with cosmetic and laser dermatologist.Dr. Susan Bard has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.
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