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Fractional CO2 Resurfacing to fade Stretch Marks?


Stretch marks don't have to be such a struggle, just ask for your aesthetic physician's help.

For many women, stretch marks rank right next to cellulite as one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. Once stretch marks, or striae, appear, they're impossible to truly erase, but there are new laser options available to reduce the appearance of the often embarrassing scars.

Fractional resurfacing treatments such as Fraxel bring about a skin self-healing process that can also diminish the appearance of stretch marks. Fractionated CO2 devices differ from traditional CO2 lasers which use a large beam of light to penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen growth. Both lasers treat deep wrinkles, age spots, scars and more, but recovery was often difficult with the older technologies. Fractional resurfacing is different because rather than using one large beam, it uses several smaller columns of light. These columns leave areas of healthy skin between them, causing less damage and maintaining a good result. CO2 lasers are however a more aggressive treatment and may be more appropriate for those with a greater amount of sun damage or deeper wrinkling.

stretch marks before and after
Courtesy of Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York

Dr. Lori Brightman of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York says, "Stretch marks are difficult to treat. The only proven treatments include fractional lasers, like Fraxel, and fractional bipolar RF, sublative rejuvenation, as well as pulsed dye lasers for the red or pink stretch marks." These technologies can stimulate collagen growth to tighten the skin, making stretch marks look less visible, while also evening out skin tone.

Dr. Drew Ordon of The Doctors recently described the fractional laser treatment for stretch marks and said that stimulating the collagen also reduces the appearance of stretch marks and helps raise the depressed areas of the skin, both of which contribute to the overall result. Dr. Brightman says return visits are needed for each treatment to achieve optimum results. "It requires multiple treatments to help rebuild the collagen," says Dr. Brightman. If you're planning to have stretch mark reduction procedures done to get ready for bikini season, you should start now to ensure enough time is available for a full course of treatment.

Dr. Lori Brightman
Dr. Lori Brightman

Dr. Brightman is a Board Certified Dermatologist specializing in Mohs micrographic surgery, dermatologic surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and laser surgery. She graduated cum laude from Boston College, and received her masters in medical science and medical degree from Boston University Medical School. She was also the recipient of the Bertha Curtis Humanitarian Award. Dr. Brightman is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Lasers in Medicine & Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Medical Association.