Stretch Mark Treatment
Stretch marks ("striae") are caused by rapid stretching of the skin. Commonly seen after pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, or rapid growth during adolescence, stretch marks initially present as red or purple marks. Stretch marks are, in fact, "scars" caused by over-stretching of the elastic middle layer of the skin known as the dermis. Over time these reddish stretch marks fade to leave silver or white streaks which may also feel "crêpey" to touch.
Up until recently, treatment for stretch marks has been underwhelming. For a number of years, the red colour of "new" stretch marks has been removable by treatment with the Candela Perfecta™ V-Beam pulsed dye laser (the same laser used to treat red birthmarks). However, as the colour will eventually fade, this early intervention for stretch marks really only addressed a temporary phase of disfigurement and the end result was still the same.
The new fractionated lasers are delivering promising results in the treatment of these residual stretch marks. The Fraxel re:store® Dual laser is thought to stimulate collagen (the building block of body tissues) in the damaged dermis, resulting in the diminution of stretch marks. This laser technology is very new but is the only thing that has come close to managing this common problem.
Laser Dermatology offers the Candela Perfecta™ V-beam pulsed dye laser for the treatment of red / purple stretch marks if they are causing a degree of distress in the short term (understanding that they will fade naturally over time). The Fraxel re:store® Dual lasers are used on faded stretch marks. Multiple laser treatments are required and are recommended at four weekly intervals.