This article will be talking about laser stretch mark removal before and after treatment. Stretch marks are those thin scars or marks that are found on different parts of the body, it can reduced some people’s self esteem and pride in wearing most clothes like sleeveless, short dresses or crop top. Some people feel distressed about the appearance of these marks on the surface of their skin.
Stretch marks is caused when there is a tear in the collagen and elastin fiber of the skin. Another name for this tear is striae atrophicus or striae distensae. Stretch marks are form in the layer of the skin that has the connective tissue (the dermis). These marks appear when the skin stretches too quickly causing the collagen and elastin, which support the skin to rupture.
This mark can appear as a pink, red or purplish lines across the skin. They can appear on the following part of the body:
- Lower Back
RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING STRETCH MARKS
There are certain factors that can increase your chances of having stretch marks, these factors can be:
1. Pregnancy: Pregnancy is one phase that comes with lots of hormonal changes like decreasing skin elasticity when the levels are high. Also, as the fetus grows, the skin along the abdomen are being stretched out. This stretching mostly occurs on the abdomen and breasts, sometimes on the thighs, and buttocks.
2. Obesity and rapid weight gain: When you have a body mass index (BMI ) of over 30, you are at risk of having stretch marks. This is as a result of the body gaining more weight and increasing in size making the skin to stretch as well. The more weight you gained, the more chances of developing stretch marks.
3. Puberty: Puberty is one characteristics that makes the body go through so many changes. Among other changes like voice change, physical changes, body weight and height, stretch marks are most times formed too. During puberty, stretch marks most commonly appear on the back, hips, and knees
4. Bodybuilding: Doing exercises to gain muscles within a short period of time is known as bodybuilding and it is a risk factor for stretch marks. This is because the skin elasticity can tear since the skin itself cannot keep up with the rapid growth.
5. Using oral steroids: Taking or using some oral steroids can make the skin elasticity to decrease. When it decrease, the skin becomes less able to stretch without rupture and this can lead to stretch marks.
6. Genetics: When you have a family history of stretch marks formation, it is very likely that you will develop same. Your genes can also determine if the marks will fade away on their own or require treatment.
7. Skin color: Light skinned people are most likely to develop stretch marks than those with dark skin.
There are types of stretch marks that can appear on the skin, these marks could be:
(a). Red stretch marks: This type of stretch mark is normally seen in light skinned and medium skin tone. It is caused when the trauma to the skin leads to small blood vessels that appear in the area as part of the normal healing process.
(b). Dark stretch marks: This is common to skins that are vulnerable to hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin around an injury starts to darken. The mark can also be textured (indented) or white stretch marks. To remove these marks, you can use non-surgical method of treatment like laser stretch mark removal. This method is advanced and has no-downtime approach.
PROCEDURES TO LASER STRETCH MARK REMOVAL
Laser stretch mark removal uses a wavelength of light to heat the skin, this causes the skin to produce new collagen and elastin. It also eliminates the scar tissue that is responsible for the stretch marks appearing. It can also be used to smooth skin layer, tighten the skin and accelerate regeneration.
There are two procedures to this method of treatment which are:
- Ablative laser procedure: This method is suitable for people with large and many stretch marks because it can remove the layers of the skin one at a time while treating deep marks. This method allows new smooth skin to grow without stretch marks developing.
However, ablative laser procedure can cause hyperpigmentation (the darkening of the skin).
- Non-ablative laser procedure: This can be used on all skin type and color because it is less aggressive than ablative laser procedure. A copper bromide and argon laser is used to reduce the mark appearance. Apart from this function, it can stimulate new collagen production and improve skin color and texture.
IS LASER STRETCH MARK REMOVAL EFFECTIVE
Laser procedures have become a good and effective treatment option for removal of stretch marks. There are so many research reviews that show laser stretch mark removal as being effective. These researches and studies were all published by the National Library of Medicine, USA.
A study in 2017 has 21 women with stretch marks, laser treatment was used on them monthly for 2 months. The results all showed a significant reduction in stretch marks 6 months after their last visit. Although patients with darker skin noticed hyperpigmentation that lasted for several months.
Another study in 2011 involved 51 patients with stretch marks on their chests, thighs and abdomen. Two to four laser procedure spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart was used on them. An overall improvement of 51% to 75% for all patients (both white and red stretch marks) were recorded in their clinical assessments for six months or longer after the last treatment.
The patients were all examined after their treatment 18 and 24 months later, there was no sign of stretch marks recurrence. There was also an increase in collagen production and thickening of the dermis a month after the last procedure.
The study in 2013 was carried out to know the effectiveness of laser treatment for stretch marks. 47 patients went through breast augmentation within 2 months. Out of all the patients, 10 developed stretch marks. They were treated with a laser with a wavelength of 1550nm, the treatment recorded high satisfaction index of 90%.
A study in 2003 had 20 patients with white and red stretch marks . Each of them received two 585nm of laser treatment (one session every 6 weeks) for 12 weeks. The result showed that the procedure has a reduction beneficial effects on the red stretch mark. The white stretch mark on the other hand did not record obvious changes. However, the total amount of collagen was increased and the tissue elasticity increased as well.
Another study in 2008 confirmed that laser stretch mark treatment is effective for red stretch marks. 29 patients with red stretch marks were treated with a 1064nm laser. More than half of the patients (55%) noted the effectiveness of the procedure and subsequent reduction in the stretch mark.
LASER STRETCH MARK REMOVAL BEFORE AND AFTER
With all these scientific evidences, we can conclude that laser stretch mark removal is effective for reduction of the marks and increase in collagen production. The number of sessions you will need depends on how severe your marks are and the type of laser to be used. Average treatments is 4 treatment with couple of weeks at interval.
Before the procedure, there are some things you should avoid, which are:
- Applying perfume, body sprays, deodorants or anything that can irritate your skin especially the treatment areas.
- Waxing, sunbathing, tanning, collagen injection or using chemical peels for at least two weeks before the procedure so as to reduce burns.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal tea or supplements and aspirin. These things can increase the risk of bleeding.
After the procedure, your skin will be vulnerable so it is important that you protect it by doing the following:
- Stay away from the sun
- Wear sunscreen when you are outside to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays.
- Avoid the use of tanning products and beds.
PRO AND CONS OF LASER STRETCH MARK REMOVAL
Before undergoing the treatment, you should understand the pros and cons of this procedure. The advantages are:
- It uses less time as compared to other treatment methods. It can take like 30 to 90 minutes.
- The procedure does not involve surgery.
- There may not be visible marks after treatment unlike other methods like injection.
The disadvantages are:
- Laser treatment is expensive. It can cost between $400 to $1500.
- There are side effects like slight swelling, hyperpigmentation and slight tingling or mild burning.
Laser treatment is a non-invasive way of removing stretch marks that occur when there is a tear in the collagen or elastic fiber of the skin. This marks do not have any health risk but the appearance can fight against one’s self-esteem.
The effects of laser treatment are excellent and the side effects can go away after sometime. You can also adopt steps like good skincare, healthy foods and avoiding exposure to ultraviolet rays in order to prevent the stretch marks from coming out.