Scars are formed whenever multiple layers of skin are injured. Accidents, surgery, burn and even acne can cause scarring.
The exact cause of stretch marks is not known, but they are probably a result of a breakdown of collagen and elastin under the skin’s surface. The most common causes of stretch marks are pregnancy, body-building and weight loss. Parts of the body most frequently affected by stretch marks include breasts, abdomen, tights groin and buttocks.
How Does Scar and Stretch Mark Removal Work?
In the past, cryosurgery (freezing), excision, steroid injections, creams and ointments were standard treatments for the removal of scars and stretch marks. Today, several new techniques using lasers are available. The energy from the laser stimulates the skin under the scar to produce collagen. The skin thickens until it resembles the surrounding normal tissue.
Anesthesia is usually not required. Some patients experience slight stinting when the laser is applied to the skin. Multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired result. About 70% of patients notice a marked improvement. To enhance the effect of the laser treatment, your physician may recommend glycolic acid or tretinoin cream both before and after treatment.
Am I a Good Candidate for Scar and Stretch Mark Removal?
New, shallow scars and stretch marks respond better to treatment than deeper, older scars and stretch marks. Candidates with fair complexions tend to see better results. There is a risk of discoloration in patients with darker skin tones. Your physician will review your medical history, age, skin type, pigmentation, and consider your desired result to determine the best course of treatment for you.
What Can I Expect After Scar and Stretch Mark Removal?
The treated area may be red for up to two weeks, but there should not be any other discoloration or markings on the skin. The concentrated laser does not affect surrounding tissue. Treated areas also tend to improve for three to six months following treatment. Some patients who do not see immediate result see up to 50% improvement at their six-month checkup.