Q: I was wanting to know if you guys do laser stretch mark removal? If so I’d like to kow more about it and maybe get a consultation to see what it would cost.
A: Stretch marks remain a cosmetic problem that defies any effective treatment. If there was one really good treatment that consistently worked, we would all know about it as there are millions of women that siffer from this aesthetic concern. While there have been and are many types of treatments that promise the elimination of stretch marks, none have ever been shown to really work well. Therefore, there is no effective treatment strategy known as laser stretch mark removal. That is not a realistic expectation of what lasers can do or any type of stretch mark treatment.
Why do stretch marks elude treatment success? Because a stretch mark is not a superficial skin problem. It may appear that way when looking and feeling them from the outside, but a stretch mark represents a full-thickness skin problem. The dermis of the skin is damaged and permanently thinned. A stretch mark is really a scar with loss of pigment, although they can appear red rather than white. The skin has been stretched to the point where it is partially torn on the underside. This is why no outer or topical treatment will really make them less visible.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I was wondering if you had any procedures that would reduce severe stretch marks. I just had a baby and my baby tummy is very loose and I have really bad stretch marks.
A: Stretch marks are a very common skin deformity that results from Ebook Creation Simplified tissue expansion(e.g., pregnancy, weight gain) followed by deflation thereafter. (e.g., delivery, weight loss) What stretch marks really represent is IRREVERSIBLE skin damage from partial tearing of the dermal component of the skin. The thicker collagen layers have been partially split due to the stretching of the skin. That is why when you run your fingers over them they feel rippled or indented over the stretch mark. There has been a loss of some of the skin’s thickness.
Why some women get them from pregnancy and others don’t is a result of numerous skin factors. These include their native thickness and elasticity of the skin and how much and how fast the skin was stretched. There probably is some merit to apply a topical emollient or moisturizer to the skin during the pregnancy process. Anything that can hydrate the collagen layers to allow it to stretch without deformation (irreversible breaking of the molecular bonds, like a broken spring) would be helpful.
Once the stretch marks exist, however, solving or eliminating them is virtually impossible. While many urban legends exist about ‘magical potions’ and patients who have completely gotten rid of them, there has never been any scientific or documented evidence that these often touted methods really work. It is simply not possible to thicken back up or repair the split dermis anymore than you can restore the tighten of a stretched out rubber band.
That being said, however, there are some treatments that may help reduce their final appearance if they are done early. Early means within less than 90 days after delivery or when they have appeared. The redness of the stretch mark can be reduced by pulsed light treatments (BBL) in my Indianapolis plastic surgery experience. Early treatment may help make the stretch mark do some collagen repair so it is less deep. The key, however, is EARLY treatment.
It is possible to lessen the appearance of new stretch marks if done early enough. In established stretch marks, there are no effective treatments. Stretch marks are not responsive to laser or skin resurfacing and any attempts to do so may result in a worse scar appearance.
Dr. Barry Eppley