Dr. Paul L. Leong, MD

It's Your Face, Trust it to a Specialist

Stretch Marks

bodyI appreciate that problematic stretch marks can be a bothersome and emotional topic for many patients. Many people will gain and lose weight in their lifetime, which can lead to accelerated stretching of the skin and unsightly stretch marks (also referred to as striae). Stretch marks occur when your body mass accelerates faster than your skin. Eventually elastic fibers in the skin begin to pull and break when stretched to the limit. Stretch marks are especially common after pregnancies (pregnancy marks) due to rapid weight gain and hormonal fluctuations (approximately 90% of women will get stretch marks in the last few months of their pregnancy). Hormonal imbalance can cause tearing in the outer layer of skin called the epidermis. Heredity, diet, ethnicity and exercise also play a role in the formation of stretch marks. Both men and women can get stretch marks, however it is more commonly seen in women, most likely due to higher level of hormonal fluctuations. Common areas of the body prone to stretch marks include, but are not limited to: the arms, thighs, breasts, hips, lower back, stomach and buttocks. Unfortunately there is no way to prevent stretch marks, however maintaining a good skin care regime and keeping your skin well hydrated can help.

Consultation

I would be happy to speak with your regarding the nuances of stretch mark reduction treatment. We also offer stretch mark and skin care consultations with our Registered Nurse and Medical Aesthetician Kim who completes most of the laser and skin care treatments. Kim has been in the cosmetic field for over 20 years and is very knowledgeable and experienced about all aspects of stretch mark treatment. During your consultation, we can provide exact costs of treatment (which varies based on the size of stretch marks and locations).

Treatment for Stretch Marks

Many creams claim to be effective treatments for stretch mark removal, but I personally do not have a lot of faith in these superficial creams. There is little support or evidence indicating that these lotions or creams actually have an impact on the appearance of stretch marks. What I have found to be the best stretch mark reduction tool is the use of lasers to encourage the growth of new healthy skin. At Sistine Plastic Surgery, we conveniently offer two different lasers that help reduce the appearance of bothersome stretch marks.

During your consultation, we will decide which laser would work best for you based on the characteristics of your stretch marks and how much downtime you can afford. A very important detail to understand about stretch mark treatment, even with the most effective laser treatment available, is that the goal is to improve the stretch marks, not fully resolve them. This is similar to treating acne scars – completely restoring the skin to its previous condition is usually not possible. Unfortunately, full resolution of stretch marks is not possible.

Video: FDA Approves Laser Treatment to Reduce Stretch Marks

Cortex Co2 Erbrium Yag Laser

CortexThe Cortex Co2 Erbium Yag Laser is an effective and revolutionary device that helps to achieve improvement in stretch marks by initiating a natural healing process that accelerates the formation of new, healthy tissues. The Cortex CO2 Ebrium Yag works by transmitting laser beams deep into the dermis to eradicate old, damaged surface skin while stimulating new healthy growth deep from within. Cortex laser treatment is completed in the office and is generally a one-time treatment, but additional treatments may be beneficial. Numbing cream is applied to the treatment area prior to the procedure to increase comfort. The procedure is relatively quick, depending on the treatment areas that need to be covered. Treatment with the Cortex Co2 Erbium Yag Laser typically involves about 7-8 days of downtime. If you cannot afford the downtime and would prefer a series of treatments, the 1540 Palomar Starx Lux 500 might be a better option for you.

1540 Palomar Star Lux 500

Palomar-Starlux-500The 1540 Palomar Star Lux 500 is the only FDA approved laser treatment on the market to significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The 1540 Star Lux 500 improves the unsightly color & skin texture associated with stretch marks, leaving clients with smoother, better looking skin. This fractional resurfacing treatment is non-ablative (less aggressive), which means minimal downtime. A series of only 4-6 sessions one month apart is usually required to rejuvenate skin and reduce bothersome stretch marks. Numbing cream can be applied approximately 30 minutes prior to the treatment to lessen any discomfort.

Contact Sistine Plastic Surgery

To learn more about Stretch Mark Reduction treatment or to schedule a consultation to talk more about this procedure, please contact Sistine Plastic Surgery today.

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