Stretch marks are exactly what they sound like — streaks on the skin, seemingly caused by stretching. Anyone can develop them, but being female, pregnant or overweight, rapidly gaining or losing weight, breast implant surgery, steroid medications and certain genetic disorders increase your risk. They vary in shape and color, and most commonly appear on the abdomen, hips, butt, thighs and breasts. Similar to thin atrophic scars, they derive from the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.
While stretch marks are harmless and fade over time, you may want to reduce or eliminate them if yours are severe or long-lasting. Treatments that may help minimize their appearance include retinoid cream, light and laser therapies and microdermabrasion.
Dr. Seltzer effectively minimizes stretch marks with laser treatments, including:
Laser treatments work by beaming concentrated light at stretch marks, which helps stimulate the skin’s growth of collagen or elastin. By targeting only areas affected by the stretch marks, surrounding skin isn’t exposed to lasers or related potential discomfort. Depending on the type of laser, as well as the specifics of your stretch marks, you may need several or more treatments over a period of time for full results. Dr. Seltzer will determine which type of laser treatments best suit your needs.
Laser therapy for stretch marks is unlikely to cause severe side effects, but you may experience bruising which usually clears within 3-10 days. Less common potential complications include temporary changes in skin color, which may last a few weeks. Scarring is very rare.
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