Have you recently given birth? Go through a growth spurt in adolescence? Lost a significant amount of weight? Or gained a bit of holiday weight that you just can’t seem to get rid of but has left seemingly-lasting marks? All of these factors and more could lead to stretch marks, the pink, red purplish streaks or silvery-white indents most commonly found on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks and thighs. Sometimes they can even cover large areas of the body.
Stretch marks (striae) are stubborn and resistant to any cream treatments because of their inability to penetrate deep enough into the skin. However, there are stretch mark treatments that can fade, and improve significantly, but won’t completely remove them.
All stretch marks don’t all look alike. They vary depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them and where they are on your body, as well as on the type of skin you have. Common variations include: Indented streaks or lines in the skin, Multiple pink, red or purple streaks, Bright streaks that fade to a light pink, white or grayish color.
See your doctor if you’re concerned about the appearance of your skin or if the stretch marks cover large areas of your body. Your doctor can help determine the cause of the stretch marks and can discuss possible treatment options.
The pulse dye laser (V-Beam laser) is an effective modality in the treatment of fresh and red stretch marks. A new resurfacing procedure, named fractional resurfacing or Fraxel affords a new solution for the treatment of stretch marks. This laser resurfaces the skin gradually, 20 to 30 percent at a time, which allows for rapid healing while eliminating the risk of rawness associated with traditional laser resurfacing procedures. This laser procedure is extremely safe to be used on any area on the body.
Patients typically will need 4 to 5 treatments with this laser procedure for the treatment of stretch marks. Patients can expect improvement in the quality and texture of their stretch marks. However, it is important to note that you can’t fully eradicate stretch marks with any currently available technology.