Healthy skin has an “elastic” response that enables it to resume its normal composition after a certain amount of stretching due to weight gain or pregnancy or following a growth spurt such as those that occur during puberty. When skin is stretched beyond this normal capacity, it’s usual characteristics are distorted and damage occurs that can cause the skin in the area to appear shiny, darker or lighter, or thinner than surrounding tissue. In addition to growth “spurts,” weight gain and pregnancy, stretch marks are also more likely to occur in older people whose skin has lost some degree of natural elasticity and as a result of hormonal fluctuations, including fluctuations in cortisone, which can cause collagen fibers to weaken and become less flexible and resilient.
While there are plenty of product on the market that claim to help reduce or remove stretch marks, the fact is, they are largely, if not entirely ineffective in helping skin return to its normal appearance and composition. Over-the-counter products are designed to treat the most superficial layers of skin to help skin feel softer, but they are not designed to reach or remodel the deeper layers of skin where stretch marks form.
Lasers use highly-focused beams of energy to reach specific layers of tissue, and they’re adjustable so they can precisely target the underlying cause of stretch marks and help remodel damaged tissue. The focused laser energy is emitted via a special handpiece, stimulating the body’s natural production of collagen, one of the building blocks of skin that’s responsible for skin’s elasticity and resiliency. Once treatment is complete, collagen production “ramps up” and skin is naturally remodeled so it appears and feels firmer and smoother and stretch marks fade away.
Initial benefits can be achieved with two to three treatments, but most patients benefit from a series of six treatments spaced several weeks apart to promote ongoing collagen production and skin remodeling. The specific number of treatments will depend on the extent of the stretch marks, the skin’s texture and other factors.
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