stretch marks

Laser Stretch Mark Removal: Is It Effective?

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Laser skin resurfacing is effective for treating many unwanted skin imperfections and blemishes, including:

  • Acne
  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • Scars
  • Uneven skin coloring

A common question our team at Colair Beauty Lounge & Med Spa receives is, “Can a laser remove stretch marks?” The answer is yes. But how well does laser stretch mark removal work?

Here, we’ll take a look at how laser treatments work on stretch marks, what to expect with laser stretch mark removal and the treatment’s effectiveness in ridding your skin of stretch marks.

Who Is Affected by Stretch Marks?

A common misconception is that only women are affected by stretch marks, and in particular, pregnant women. This notion is quite misguided, as roughly 80% of Americans have stretch marks, including men and teens.

Stretch marks may occur any time there is a rapid stretching or shrinking of the skin. Collagen and elastin, important for skin strength and elasticity, rupture during this quick change, and stretch marks may appear as the skin heals.

Stretch marks commonly affect the following areas of the body:

  • The abdomen
  • The breasts
  • The hips
  • The thighs
  • The buttocks
  • The groin

Common causes of stretch marks include:

  • Growth throughout puberty
  • Pregnancy 
  • Rapid weight gain or weight loss
  • Rapid muscle growth

We understand that stretch marks affect our physical appearance but may have an emotional impact as well. This psychological impact can cause:

  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Body image issues
  • Increased social isolation

Does Laser Stretch Mark Removal Work?

While there are many treatments for removing stretch marks, laser stretch mark removal is one of the most effective and long-lasting treatment options. 

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, with proper laser treatment, patients can see up to a 60% improvement in the appearance of stretch marks. 

The benefits of using lasers for stretch mark removal include:

  • Increased collagen and elastin production in the skin
  • Long-term reduction in the appearance of stretch marks
  • Tighter and smoother skin texture
  • More even skin tone

It’s important to remember that everyone’s skin type will respond differently to laser treatments. The effectiveness of your treatment will depend on factors like:

  • How many treatment rounds you receive
  • How often you receive treatment
  • The expertise and experience of your laser skin resurfacing provider
  • The size and location of your stretch mark(s)

How Laser Treatment Works on Stretch Marks

There are multiple types of laser treatments available for stretch mark removal, including the following.

Ablative Laser Treatment Options

Ablative lasers, like the CO2 laser, work by removing both the outer layer of skin and the layer of skin underneath to encourage new skin growth. 

Once treated, the damaged skin develops new collagen, and the skin heals with refreshed elasticity and firmness, decreasing the appearance of stretch marks.

While ablative laser procedures may take fewer treatments to see results than non-ablative laser treatments, they also:

  • Have a longer recovery period
  • Require more downtime
  • May lead to long-term skin discoloration
  • Necessitate more post-treatment care
  • Typically cost more than non-ablative laser options

Non-Ablative Laser Treatment Options

Non-ablative laser skin removal treatments stimulate collagen growth by only heating skin cells that lie beneath the surface of your skin. This type of laser treatment avoids damage to your top layer of skin. 

Non-ablative treatments can be just as effective as ablative laser treatments without the longer downtime and recovery periods.

Examples of non-ablative lasers include:

  1. IPL (intense pulsed light) lasers
  2. Fractional lasers

Our team at Colair uses both of these non-ablative laser options. Clients who choose to take the non-ablative laser route typically see the following benefits:

  • Improved skin texture and tone
  • Lower cost than ablative laser options
  • Shorter recovery period
  • Less post-treatment care
  • Decreased downtime

When it comes to non-ablative laser treatment for stretch mark removal, we find our clients see the best results through a regimen of multiple treatments spaced around three to six weeks apart, depending on the device used. 

Devices Used for Laser Stretch Mark Removal

Once you have decided which type of laser treatment is best for your skin concerns, it’s time to look at which device options will provide you with the best results. 

At Colair Beauty Lounge & Med Spa, we offer laser treatment through a variety of devices, including:

You can learn more about each laser device we use by reading our blog on the science behind laser skin tightening.

What to Expect During Laser Treatment

If you still find yourself wondering, “Does laser stretch mark removal work?,” and you would like to give it a try for yourself, here is what you can expect during your laser treatments.

Our fractional laser skin resurfacing process is quick and effective. Our team at Colair follows the latest best practice guidelines to provide laser treatments safely. 

Below are the steps you can expect in a typical laser treatment session with us.

  1. We will thoroughly clean the areas of your skin to be treated.
  2. Depending on the size of the affected area, you may be provided a local anesthetic to reduce any potential discomfort and improve your experience.
  3. Once prepped, we will treat your skin with a fractional laser to encourage new collagen growth. A typical laser procedure takes approximately 30-45 minutes but may vary depending on the size of the affected area.
  4. You will receive detailed instructions from your provider on how to care for your treated skin until it has fully healed following your appointment.

While fractional laser skin resurfacing is a quick, effective and minimally invasive procedure, it is important that you seek treatment from a licensed and experienced laser technician. Our team at Colair Beauty Lounge and Med Spa is highly experienced and prepared to provide you with the best care and most effective treatment.

How to Prepare for Laser Stretch Mark Removal

To prepare for laser stretch mark removal, you should:

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure or tanning
  • Avoid self tanner or sprays
  • Avoid harsh cleansers
  • Follow all instructions provided by your care team

Recovery and Results of Laser Stretch Mark Removal

Following your laser stretch mark removal procedure, it is important to be aware of:

  • The recovery process
  • The results you should expect
  • The longevity of your results
  • Potential side effects

Recovery Period

People who have received laser stretch mark removal may continue with daily activities while keeping the treated skin moisturized and protected from the sun. 

Full recovery is expected within 2-3 weeks. Continued treatments may begin following the 2-3 week recovery period.

Expected Results

You can expect to see optimal results between three and six months following multiple treatments spaced a few weeks apart. Keep in mind that laser treatment is a long-lasting but impermanent fix and may require treatment upkeep to see continued results.

Potential Side Effects

During and following laser stretch mark removal, you may experience slight discomfort. Side effects are typically mild and usually subside within a few days. 

It is normal for clients to experience the following side effects after their procedure:

  • Mild skin irritation
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Minimal pain

Who Is a Good Candidate for Laser Treatment?

Pending consultation with your provider, most people are suitable for laser stretch mark removal.

Ideal candidates might include those who are more susceptible to stretch marks, such as:

  • Postpartum women
  • Those who have lost or gained a significant amount of weight
  • Those who have lost or gained a significant amount of muscle 

We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of our certified and experienced laser technicians if you feel unsure of whether laser stretch mark removal treatment is right for you.

Lindalee has been a certified Laser Technician (CLHT, LSO) since 1999, offering Laser Hair Removal, Photofacials, Micropeels, and MORE. She has served as a board member on the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency (ARRA), monitoring and enforcing safety regulations for Laser devices and technicians. She loves educating other Laser Technicians on effective treatments and safety protocols and has provided extensive training and consulting services to Doctor’s offices and Medical Spas.

Lindalee

Lindalee
Lindalee has been a certified Laser Technician (CLHT, LSO) since 1999, offering Laser Hair Removal, Photofacials, Micropeels, and MORE. She has served as a board member on the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency (ARRA), monitoring and enforcing safety regulations for Laser devices and technicians. She loves educating other Laser Technicians on effective treatments and safety protocols and has provided extensive training and consulting services to Doctor’s offices and Medical Spas.