Here at Keller Plastic Surgery and Rejuvalase Medical Spa in Santa Barbara, CA, we offer several options for patients looking to reduce the appearance of their stretch marks. Today we’re going over some common questions about stretch mark removal so you can be armed with knowledge and make the best decision for your needs.
Is Stretch Mark Removal Permanent?
How Long This Treatment Lasts Depends on Several Factors
The benefits of stretch mark removal with lasers can last for many years, but there are some factors that can play a role in its longevity. Stretch marks may re-appear, or new stretch marks may arrive during times of significant hormone or weight fluctuation. Taking good care of your skin should help extend your results for as long as possible.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Since each case is individual, we can go over how many treatments you may need, and what kind of laser stretch mark removal may be the most helpful for you. During a consultation we will consider the texture and color of your stretch marks, as well as their size and the area they’re present in.
All of this will help us determine the type of treatment that would be the most useful for you, and whether a single treatment or a series would be the most helpful. Some patients find a single treatment is enough to reduce the appearance of their stretch marks, while other patients may opt for a series of up to six treatments to really get the most out of their results. Each session is usually spaced about three weeks apart.
How Do Stretch Marks Form?
Stretch marks form below the surface of the skin. They are actually a type of scar. Rapid changes to the skin, such as shrinking or growth, can break down the elastin and collagen that are responsible for healthy skin. Stretch marks are what’s left behind after your skin heals from this change.
One thing that makes stretch marks different from other scars is when you touch one, you may actually feel an indentation along it, whereas if you were to get a scar from a cut on your body, the scar would likely be raised and less rippled in appearance.
Why Have I Developed Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks can be frustrating, and this is especially true if they catch you by surprise. While it’s true they can develop during pregnancy, the fact is anyone can get stretch marks regardless of their age or gender.
Stretch marks can develop during puberty as a result of quick growth spurts, and they can also develop due to weight fluctuations. Hormonal fluctuations may also play a role, and some individuals may be more genetically predisposed to their development than others. Some corticosteroids may contribute to the formation of stretch marks. Other less common causes behind stretch marks can include:
- Marfan or Cushing’s syndrome
- Eating disorders
How Cushing’s and Marfan Syndrome May Contribute to Stretch Marks
People with Cushing’s syndrome will usually have an excess of cortisol. This steroid hormone can make skin more fragile, and thus more prone to stretch mark scarring, especially along the thighs and abdomen.
Marfan syndrome affects the body’s connective tissues. This, in turn, contributes to skin fragility. Patients with Marfan syndrome may notice stretch marks appearing on the lower back, hips, and shoulders. These areas of the body are often heavily used, so fragile skin may become stretched and scarred in those areas.
Am I Guaranteed To Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
Developing stretch marks during pregnancy is very common, but isn’t a guarantee. Rising hormone levels as well as changes to the body during pregnancy can both contribute to their formation. During pregnancy, you’re most likely to discover stretch marks on your abdomen and breasts, although it’s also common for them to appear along the lower back, hips, thighs, and buttocks.
If you have close relatives who developed stretch marks during pregnancy, you may be more likely to develop them yourself. Younger women may also be more likely to develop them when compared to older women.
Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?
Pregnant women in particular are often wondering if there’s anything they can do to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. There’s no truly proven way to prevent stretch marks, but there are some things that may help stave them off.
Skin that is healthy and well hydrated is oftentimes more supple. Drinking plenty of water may help your skin be less likely to break down as it stretches. Other home remedies such massages or creams haven’t been proven to work, but some women take the preventative measure anyway. In the end, there may not be much you can do to prevent stretch marks, but we can help you if your stretch marks begin to impact your self-confidence.
Can I Treat Them at Home?
Taking good care of your skin or using specialized creams may, in some cases, help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, if you want to see dramatic results, our laser treatment is a more powerful and effective solution.
We also urge anyone tempted by the many creams and remedies they see online to practice caution. Just because these creams are readily available doesn’t mean they’re all safe. Doing some extra research before you buy could potentially save you from worse skin troubles in the future. Make sure you’re buying any creams from a trusted source.
What Different Treatments Do You Offer?
We personalize the stretch mark treatments we offer based on the needs of each patient. For instance, some stretch marks are purple or red, while others leave the skin rippled and pale.
For lighter stretch marks, which are often older as well, a fractional laser may be the most effective option. In general, the best laser treatment for your stretch marks will depend on what kind of stretch marks you have, as well as your skin tone. We also offer microneedling for patients who want stretch mark improvement without any lasers involved.
What Results Can I Expect?
Our laser treatments will reduce the color intensity of your stretch marks, and can help reduce inflammation around the treated area. Your natural production of collagen will be stimulated during this treatment. Collagen is one of the key building blocks of our skin, so you should see your results continue to improve over time as this new collagen gets to work improving the texture and tone of your skin.
The end result should be stretchmarks that have been greatly reduced and improved in appearance. The results from microneedling aren’t usually as dramatic as laser results, but it can still offer great benefits by improving the overall health of your skin and helping the stretch marks improve in tone and texture.
A Closer Look at Fractional Laser Treatment
A fractional laser treatment is one of the options we offer to address stretch marks. In addition to stretch marks, it is also used to treat other surface imperfections such as sun damage, age spots or discoloration, scarring, lines and wrinkles, and more. It can be used almost anywhere along the surface of the body.
This treatment works by dividing a laser beam into thousands of tiny treatment zones. Each of these treatment zones can target a small section of your skin for powerful, pin-pointed results.
A Closer Look at Microneedling
If you’re looking to treat a range of skin concerns along with your stretch marks, microneedling may be a good fit for you.
This treatment is also known as collagen induction therapy, as its main purpose is to trigger collagen production in a targeted area. It’s a minimally invasive treatment option that uses a specialized microneedling device. By helping to rebuild damaged skin, this is a safe and effective way to help treat numerous skin conditions which can include:
- Acne and acne scarring
- Other various Scars
- Age spots
- Enlarged pores
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Hair loss
- Sun damage
Additional Microneedling Benefits
One of the many benefits this treatment offers is the fact that it can increase your collagen production while protecting the top layer of your skin at the same time. It’s quick, simple, safe, and most patients can expect to see an immediate improvement after treatment.
Of course as the collagen continues to work its magic, especially if you come in for repeat treatments, your improvements should continue to develop over time.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Stretch Mark Removal?
Since our treatments can be used for a variety of stretch mark types and skin tones, almost anyone can be a good candidate. In the end, a consultation is the only way to know for sure. During a consultation we can go over your goals and present you with your treatment options. Our mission is to set you up for success and satisfaction.
Repair Your Skin
If you’re ready to learn more about how we can support the health of your skin, reach out to Keller Plastic Surgery and Rejuvalase Medical Spa in Santa Barbara, CA, today to set up your consultation. Our professional team is ready to help.