Stretch marks are a particularly frustrating type of scar. Caused by abrupt changes in the stress placed on the skin, stretch marks typically appear during periods like puberty or pregnancy. Unfortunately, while stretch marks may fade somewhat as the years pass, they tend to remain on the skin as scars for a lifetime. That’s why stretch mark removal treatments at Le Reve Skincare & Laser Center in Fort Worth, TX can be so exciting for those who have these unique scars.
How Long Does It Take To Get Stretch Mark Removal?
Stretch mark removal using a laser system will generally take about three to five appointments spaced one month apart to achieve your desired results. This is because the collagen built with laser treatments will need some time to mature and fill in the gaps in the skin that cause stretch marks. As more collagen is produced, the appearance of your skin will become more even-toned and even-textured with time.
Your laser treatments will generally take 30 to 60 minutes to complete most of the time. Usually, the length of your laser treatment will depend on how many areas you are treating; treating multiple stretch marks on larger areas of the skin will likely mean your treatment will take more time to complete.
What Can You Expect From Treatment?
Like any laser treatment, you can expect your stretch mark removal treatment to be relatively comfortable. During your treatment, your skin may be prepped with a topical numbing cream to maintain your comfort. The most important parts of your treatment will be your preparation and aftercare instructions. You should follow these directions closely so your results develop as desired.
It’s important to prepare carefully for laser treatments. Laser treatments will make your skin more sensitive to hyperpigmentation, so it’s a good idea to avoid unprotected contact with the sun, self-tanning products, and tanning beds for at least two weeks before your appointment. You should also stop the use of any irritating skin products, particularly any products containing ingredients like retinol for three to five days before your appointment.
On the day of your appointment, please do not wear any body oil, powders, or lotions on the desired treatment area. While you may shave one day before your appointment, you should not wax, pluck, or use hair removal creams on any desired treatment area for at least two weeks to avoid possible skin irritation. Wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment.
After your treatment, you will need to protect your skin from the sunlight by wearing clothes to cover the skin and using SPF 30 or higher when you plan to be outside. Even if you are treating areas of the body that may not be exposed to the sun, it’s still important to wear sunscreen just in case UV rays pass through thin clothing. It’s better to be cautious to avoid hyperpigmentation.
You will also need to avoid self-tanning products, tanning beds, hot water from showers, hot tubs, and saunas. It’s usually a good idea to keep your skin moisturized with a simple lotion, such as CeraVe or Aquaphor, or by using products like aloe vera gel after your treatment. Hydrating the skin can soothe your skin and help your results develop more quickly.
How Soon Will You See Results?
It will take some time for you to see the results of your treatment. New collagen and elastin fibers produced by laser treatments may take several weeks to mature and create a visible difference in the appearance of your skin. For that reason, you may not notice significant results until after one or two treatments, or at least two months after your first appointment.
Your results will continue to improve with additional time and treatments. Most people will see optimal results about three to six months after their treatments conclude. We can give you a better estimate of how quickly you will be able to see results based on the severity of your scarring and your skin type.
Stretch Mark 101: Most Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches too rapidly during growth periods. Your skin is capable of astounding elasticity, meaning it can stretch and bounce back into place without any trauma to the skin surface. However, the natural elasticity in your skin may not be able to keep up with extreme body changes, such as weight gain, puberty, or pregnancy, and this may cause stretch marks on the body.
Some research indicates that there is a relationship between the stress hormone cortisol and the development of stretch marks. Research indicates that high levels of cortisol in the body, either from stress or a genetic predisposition, may weaken the elasticity of the skin and make it easier to develop stretch marks.
2. Do Stretch Marks Indicate Bad Health?
No, having stretch marks is not necessarily a sign that you are overweight or in bad health. Even very thin people may develop stretch marks during puberty or periods of rapid growth. That said, people who are overweight may have newer stretch marks from weight gain, especially if weight gain occurred within a six to 12 month period, which would be considered rapid.
3. Will Losing Weight Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Not necessarily. While losing weight can help you achieve a more desirable body shape, this change is usually not enough to reduce the appearance of stretch marks alone. Of course, every body is different and you may notice that stretch marks are less apparent if you lose weight. But this is generally because the scarring has faded over time, not because you have lost significant weight.
4. Where Can These Scars Develop?
A stretch mark can appear on most areas of the body, including beneath the arms, the knees, the inner thighs, the stomach, the hips, the breasts, and the buttocks. Usually, a stretch mark will develop in areas of the body that store fat more easily, but many people will experience some stretch marks around joints as well based on how quickly they grew during puberty. Many stretch marks develop during puberty, so it’s not uncommon for teens to have these scars.
5. Do Creams Work?
Some over-the-counter products are recommended to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Common products include skin-lightening creams and certain body oils that are thought to contain properties that encourage collagen production. The effectiveness of these products may not necessarily live up to advertising, however, and that can be frustrating if you are only using over-the-counter products to reduce the appearance of your stretch marks.
6. Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?
There may be some ways you can prevent stretch marks. For example, pregnant women may choose to moisturize the body with cocoa butter and shea butter, which are rich in fatty acids that support collagen and elastin development in the skin. Keeping the skin hydrated may aid in maintaining skin elasticity throughout pregnancy and may prevent severe scarring on the stomach, hips, and breasts.
For adults, another way to prevent new stretch marks is to maintain a healthy weight. If you can prevent gaining significant weight, then you will likely not experience new stretch marks as an adult and you will more easily have successful stretch mark removal treatments. Staying hydrated, eating plenty of since and vitamin C, and getting vitamin D from sunlight (protected with SPF) may also aid in skin elasticity and health.
7. Are Stretch Marks More Common in Women?
It may seem like stretch marks are more common in women because women talk about this type of scarring more openly, but the fact of the matter is that these scars can happen to both genders. The causal factors for developing stretch marks are the same whether you are a man or a woman. Many men may develop stretch marks during puberty or because of weight gain.
Try Stretch Mark Removal Today
Most people who have stretch marks are good candidates for laser stretch mark removal, including men. If you have generally healthy skin, you are not currently pregnant, and you have any severity of stretch marks on the body, then laser treatment may be a good fit for you. You will generally need three to five appointments or at least three to six months to achieve your desired results. Contact us at Le Reve Skincare & Laser Center in Fort Worth, TX to schedule your consultation today.