Laser Stretch Marks

Will fractional laser treatments help with small skinny stretch marks? 

Doctor Answers 9

How many laser treatments for stretch marks?

My office uses a combination of vascular lasers for red stretch marks and one or more modalities for atrophic white stretch marks.  Microneedling, ProFractional Laser and Infini all have their place in improvement of stretch marks.  Studies show that controlled injury to stretch marks with micro-injuries stimulate collagen and elastin production and encourage 'injured' skin to return to a more normal appearance over time.  Can we totally eliminate stretch marks?  No. but we can make them look a lot better.

Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Laser Stretch Mark Removal

As many others have commented, stretch marks can be challenging, though not impossible to treat with the laser. The marks are essentially a form of scar where there has been a loss of collagen un the deeper layers of the skin known as the dermis. 

Encouraging collagen remodeling via lasers can help the marks become less noticeable. Unfortunately, they will never disappear completely. 

For newer stretch marks which are red or purple (striae rubrae), the Pulse Dye laser works best. This can give nice improvements in the color and help fade the stretch marks after a few treatments.

For mature white stretch marks (striae alba), fractionated CO2 laser will encourage collagen remodeling and help improve their appearance. 

Combining the CO2 laser with platelet rich plasma can be a great option to supercharge collagen remodeling. 

Unfortunately, there are no creams, lotions or potions that will improve stretch marks, despite what the internet tells you. 

Best wishes!

Dr S

Travis L. Shaw, MD
Richmond Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Adressing stretch marks is a difficult task

Stretch marks are perhaps one of the most bothersome issue to patients yet, aside from cellulite. Stretch are areas where the skin has been stretched beyond it physical property and a layer of the skin has become very thin.

Fraxel may help tighten the skin slightly but it will NOT remove the stretch marks. For now the only way of removing the stretch marks are by excision alone (i.e. Tummy Tuck).

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Laser Treatment for Stetch Marks

I use the Palomar Lux 1540 fractional erbium laser for stretch marks. It is FDA-approved for this indication and gives good results. Some time has to pass to see results because the laser works by initiating biologic changes in the tissue, like new collagen and elastic fiber formation. The initial effect of the laser is a micro wound caused by hundreds of tiny beams that penetrate the sklin and coagulate tissue in place. As the body cleans up these microscopic wounds, growth factors are secreted and new tissue replaces the old. Gradually as the weeks go by and more treatments are done, the changes can be seen on the skin surface as smoothing and blending of the stretch marks. The shininess diminishes, and red stretch marks lose their red color. Laser stretch mark treatment takes a commitment for 4-6 treatments, and depending on how extensive a body area needs to be treated, a series of treatments may be needed to get coverage. Discomfort is handled with some anestheteic ointment applied an hour before the treatment and the application of a cold rolling device that chills and soothes the skin. This is an office procedure without down time, but there is some redness and swelling for a day or two.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Fraxel Laser can help you beat those stretch marks

While a tummy tuck is the best way to rid yourself of those terrible pregnancy induced stretch marks, consider getting a Fraxel laser to help you minimize those abdominal stretch marks. When looking for a non surgical treatment consider seeking out a provider who has the latest in technology. ICON Fraxel Laser. 

R. Brannon Claytor, MD, FACS
Bryn Mawr Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Palomar Lux 1540 works best

Until now there were few options for stretch mark treatments. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Palomar's fractional laser treatment for stretch marks, practitioners now have an excellent aesthetic solution for their clients. Palomar's fractional non-ablative skin resurfacing laser minimizes the appearance of stretch marks with no downtime. The Lux1540 laser handpiece improves the unsightly color and skin texture associated with stretch marks, leaving clients with smoother, better-looking skin. A single treatment session typically costs $500 – $1,000, and at least three treatments are usually required.

Marisa Lawrence, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Nothing gets rid of stretch marks

Unfortunately, no lasers or creams can get rid of stretch marks. The best they can do is to lighten those in their darker earlier stages. A stretch mark is a split of the dermis layer of the skin with the outer epidermis layer left intact. Because of this the only way they can be removed is if they are in an area that can be surgically excised such as in a tummy tuck.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Fractional laser treatments are your best bet for treating stretch marks

Stretch marks are very difficult to treat. They form when a person grows quickly, gains weight rapidly, or is pregnant. The skin stretches so quickly that the elastic tissue in the skin actually tears. That is why stretch marks don't go away when the person loses weight or is no longer pregnant. There seem to be genetic factors that make some people more prone to stretch marks than others.

Fractional resurfacing is the treatment of microscopic columns of skin within the treatment area. It doesn't treat all of the skin at once, which could create a large wound, rather it treats a fraction of the skin at a time. The skin in these fractional zones then heals from the untreated adjacent skin. Ablative fractional resurfacing, with the carbon dioxide laser, appears to be the best treatment option for stretch marks. At the very least you should get some fading and blending into the surrounding skin, and in some people (with multiple treatments) they may go away completely. Fractional lasers that do not use carbon dioxide will give you more subtle results, and will require many more treatments.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Stretch mark lasers can work

There is an obvious loss of dermal collagen in stretch marks.  We have found, quite strikingly among our patients, that three lasers can work on stretch marks, even on darker skin types.  We use these three lasers for all types of stretch marks, including red, hypopigmented, and loose stretch marks.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.