Stretch marks are typically caused during pregnancy although they can also occur at any time when a person gains a significant amount of weight. Stretch marks can be large and ugly and can significantly affect a person’s cosmetic appearance. Although they can occur on any part of the body they are most commonly found on the stomach.
Traditionally, bad stretch marks were surgically removed but this requires a long period of recovery and the cost of the treatment is high. Laser stretch mark removal is now the most common treatment method as the results are impressive but the recovery period required is minimal.
Laser stretch mark removal can be used on all types of stretch marks and their appearance can be significantly improved. Although the stretch mark is unlikely to be completely removed it will be far less visible after the treatment. Depending on the colour of the stretch mark, a different type of laser is likely to be used. During a consultation your practitioner will assess the size and colour of your stretch marks and then decide what the best type of laser is for you.
Red stretch marks are typically treated using a Pulsed Dye laser which targets the enlarged blood vessels which is the cause of the redness. Red stretch marks tend to appear earlier than white stretch marks and if treated early enough they will significantly fade.
For white or sunken stretch marks the best results are generally achieved using fractional laser treatment. Fractional lasers work by creating tiny wounds in the deep layers of the skin whilst still leaving untreated surrounding skin. This facilitates the natural wound healing and improves the appearance of the stretch marks. The results are variable but some people will see up to a 50% reduction in their appearance. The procedure is sometimes performed in conjunction with microdermabrasion to give even better results but this will be discussed with you by your practitioner.
Although there is some discomfort involved with the procedure most people find it very tolerable. If you do however have a particularly low pain threshold then you can ask your practitioner to use a local anaesthetic.
There is very little recovery time needed although you can expect to have some redness and swelling for a few days following the treatment. Most people can return to work and normal activities the next day.
In summary, laser stretch mark removal is an effective treatment although the stretch marks will never be completely removed. The results are generally best on red coloured stretch marks which tend to form earlier than the white ones. The best way to find out if you are suitable for the treatment is to go for a consultation. Your practitioner will advise you on what treatment type is best for you and how many sessions you are likely to need.
For information on the cost of laser stretch mark removal you can read the following guide: What does laser stretch mark removal cost?
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