Stretch marks, which commonly occur on women after pregnancy, are also often found on people who have lost or gained a lot of weight. So while stretch marks are more often found on women, men also get them - especially on the back. While there are topical creams that are available to treat stretch marks, one of the newest and most effective treatments available use lasers or light energy - as in the Fractional CO2 laser.
Stretch MarksPhoto Courtesy of www.thedoctorstv.com
Recently seen on The Doctors, Dr. Drew Ordon defines what stretch marks as, "They are scars in the skin, the dermis, from rapid stretching of the skin." Typically associated with pregnancy, weight gain or loss, stretch marks happen when actual scar tissue forms in the skin due to these occurrences. And as Dr. Ordon and cast agree, the most effective treatment is an ablative laser that uses fractional CO2.
Boca Raton Dermatologist Dr. Janee Steinberg has treated many patients with stretch marks. "Successful treatments include resurfacing with lasers such as Fraxel, Thermage, and eMatrix," Dr. Steinberg says, "Usually a series of treatments is recommended as the stimulation of collagen takes place over 6 months or more. We often recommend a combination of several of these treatments depending on the age, severity, and color of the stretch marks and skin."
Fractional CO2 lasers work by ablating the epidermis, which stimulates new skin to form. Along with the new dermis, new collagen is also formed which eventually raises the scar, or the depressed skin. The treatment doesn't erase or cure the stretch mark, however, it does greatly decrease the visibility of the scars by lightening the darker colored portion. Usually used on the face, fractional CO2 lasers are now gaining momentum in treatment on the body, especially for treatment of scars.
During the procedure, unless the area is very large, a cold stream of air numbs the skin to make the procedure bearable. Doctors cast member Dr. Lisa, who has had the procedure done says it does sting but the results are worth the slight discomfort.
While the fractional CO2 laser works for all skin types, it is ideal for lighter skin. For the best results, as Dr. Steinberg pointed out, treatment requires several sessions which are spaced out over a few weeks over several months.