What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are a result of the damaged and torn elastin fibers and collagen found in the second layer of the skin called dermis. Because of these two, the skin is able to return to its original shape when stretched.
However, in cases of skin stretching beyond what the skin can normally accommodate, injury happens to the dermal connective tissues and this results to unpleasant-looking stretch marks. Prolonged high cortisol levels in the body and defective gene results to low production of collagen.
You can find these annoying linear streaks in the body parts where fat deposits are plenty such as thighs, abdomen, chest, lower back, buttocks, shoulders and upper arms. Apart from excessive skin expansion, weakened or diminished production of collagen also causes the formation of stretch marks.
Different Types of Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks
Laser therapy, in general, is an expensive method of reducing the visibility of stretch marks. What laser therapy does to stretch marks in general is to remove the damaged connective tissues, repair the torn blood vessels and enhance elastin fibers located in the dermis.
1. Pulsed-Dye Laser:
Pulsed-dye laser therapy responds best to newly formed stretch marks because it aims to correct, and improve the blood vessels responsible for circulating oxygenated blood supply to the location of stretch marks. When there is better oxygen consumption and blood circulation in the area, the condition of dermal connective tissues is enhanced, leading to improved collagen synthesis. While your stretch marks are still red, pink or purple, better consult a dermatologist now for a session of pulsed-dye laser.
2. Fractional Nonablative Laser:
Nonablative refers to utilizing non-abrasive and non- erosive method of reducing stretch marks appearance. Hence, you can benefit fast recovery if you treat your stretch marks using fractional nonablative laser. With this, concentrated list pulses are delivered by a hand piece to stimulate coagulation in the dermal connective tissue, resulting to enhanced skin appearance and less visibility of the stretch marks. This type of laser is effective in old stretch marks. Treatments are done every 6 to 8 weeks. After 4-5 sessions, texture of stretch marks is remarkably improved by 50%.
To simply put it, microdermabrasion is a procedure that removes the dead skin cells from the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. This method of laser therapy leads to the improvement of the skin’s texture and hyperpigmentation and encouragement of new epidermal layer.
Since microdermabrasion affects the top of the skin only, you cannot expect drastic improvements with regards to your stretch marks, which are rooted in the deeper layer of the skin called dermis. If you want to improve the texture of your skin where minimal amount of stretch marks is located, microdermabrasion could work for you.
4. Laser Skin Tightening:
The objective of laser skin tightening is to tighten skin that has become loose with age, after pregnancy or tremendous weight loss. In laser skin tightening, the infrared light deeply heats the target soft connective tissues, resulting to the coagulation of soft tissues, which leads to the tightening of the lax skin.
Benefits of Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks
Laser therapy is recommended for people who wish to reduce the visibility of their stretch marks. In laser therapies, stretch marks are not completely removed. In short, laser therapies only make your stretch marks less noticeable. If you still wish for your stretch marks to undergo a laser therapy treatment, consult a dermatologist first to determine which type is best for your stretch marks.
Disadvantages of Laser Treatment
The biggest disadvantage of any laser therapy treatment is the costs. This is a cosmetic procedure, hereby available on the National Health Services and not covered by your health insurance. Laser therapies require more than one session; depending on which type of laser therapy you will undergo, one session may cost $400 or more. Usually, medical doctors recommend a minimum of 4 sessions to see the expected results. The exact number of sessions depends entirely on the severity of your stretch marks and your skin color.
Stretch marks are linear streaks brought about by the damaged or reduced production of connective tissues lying underneath the skin. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy or growth spurt, and rapid muscle building lead to damaged connective tissues. Reduced collagen production is brought about by consistently high cortisol levels inside the body. Usually you can found Stretch marks on thighs, hips, buttocks, tummy, breasts, shoulders, back of the knees and lower back. One method of diminishing the appearance of stretch marks is laser therapy.
There are 4 types of laser therapy treatment. Pulsed-dye laser works for fresh stretch marks while fractional nonablative laser is effective in improving the appearance of skin with white or old stretch marks. Microdermabrasion has been designed to generate growth anew of the epidermis by removing dead skin cells while laser skin tightening helps bring back the firmness of skin that has become loose and saggy. Laser therapy treatments cost a lot, and they require repetitive sessions before seeing positive results.