Laser treatment for stretch marks has become the latest fad in town with even beauty salons offering them at reasonable prices. Clinics are advertising laser treatments as if they are the last man standing when everything else has failed. It is obvious that laser stretch mark removal surgery is being assumed as the most effective combat against stretch marks. Before you too go down the road and spend hundreds of dollars on this, it is important that you review if this treatment is really worth it.
Skin suffers stretch marks when it undergoes rapid expansion due to a number of reasons. This expansion or stretching is so quick that it actually tears the elastic tissue in the skin. Unless and until these tears heal, there is no way that stretch marks will go away completely even though the skin shrinks back to its original size.
Laser stretch mark removal is considered a viable alternative to other treatments when it comes to removing these unwanted streaky. There are basically two types of laser treatments for stretch marks:
When stretch marks are fresh, they appear red in color. They change their appearance with time and sometimes they remain red for months. If your stripes are still red, then pulsed-dye laser treatment can help you in fading them.
It is a common assumption that since it is a ‘laser’ treatment, it will be quick, painless and will give instant results. Well none of these notions are true. Typically, a pulsed-dye laser treatment requires 2-6 sittings with each sitting spaces 4-6 weeks apart. The treatment is painful, though not a lot. Most describe it as a feeling of rubber band snapping on the skin. The treatment also leaves bruises which take a week to fade away.
Results from a pulsed-dye laser stretch mark removal surgery vary between 25% effectiveness to 75% effectiveness. So irrespective of what cosmetic magazines tell you, there is no way that the treatment will erase your stretch marks completely.
Non Ablative Fractional Resurfacing
If stretch marks are old and now appear to be white in color, non ablative fractional resurfacing is opted for. As the name suggests, this laser treatment treats one fraction of the skin at a time. In this treatment, a microscopic column of skin is treated through laser. It is then given time to heal and join with the adjacent untreated area. After this fraction of skin heals, another section is picked up and so on.
Just like pulsed-dye laser treatment, fractional resurfacing takes multiple sittings. Usually 4-5 treatment sittings are required which are gapped 6-8 weeks apart. This treatment is a bit more painful than pulsed-dye laser and therefore one would require prescription-strength painkiller and topical anesthetic. The treatment itself feels sharp as if the skin is being snapped by electric zaps.
Fractional resurfacing can be effective up to 50%. Considering it is used mainly to treat old, white stretch marks, this is a great result.
All in all, laser treatment for stretch marks is definitely better than other options such as using topical creams. Even if it just reduces the appearance of stretch marks, it might be worth it for those who are suffering from acute stretch marks and obviously for those who can afford.