Laser Vs Microdermabrasion for Stretch Marks?

I went to my dermatologist for a consulation on stretch marks, and he recommended IPL, but said I should see the specialist who would actually perform the procedure. I talked to the "specialist" and they recommended microdermabrasion over IPL, but from what I understand, IPL would be a better treatment. I was wondering, what do other doctors think about this?

Doctor Answers 4

Laser vs microdermabrasion for stretch marks? Neither!

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Nothing changes stretch marks other than excising them as can be done in a tummy tuck.  No non-invasive treatments make any real difference in the stretch marks other than lightening early ones.  Save your money!

Laser vs microderm

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Unfortunately stretch marks cannot be removed by any non-surgical method. Fresh (red) stretch marks have a better chance of being treated and lightened, but not removed by laser. The only way they can be removed is through surgery. Stretch marks are caused because the skin is stretched beyond its capacity to recoil. Its like a rubber band that is over stretched and can never regain its original shortened length. Any laser that claims to tighten skin has not addressed the basic physiologic problem which is a dermis that is overstretched. The laser will however help the coloration but the stretch marks themselves will persist. You have to ask yourself if the goal is stretch mark removal or if its the discoloration that bothers you. Your best option is to have them surgically remove where appropriate. Unfortunately not all areas are amenable to surgery. Visit with a plastic surgeon.

Do Laser and microdermabrasion erase stretch marks?

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You are truly wasting time and money if you think that either technique will ERASE stretch marks. Stretch marks are NOT superficial marks, but through and through cracks in the skin. At the present time, the ONLY way to erase them is to remove them surgically (tummy tuck) - everything else, understandably has been a total disappointment to the patients.

If your stretch marks are fresh and red/purple - if you wait long enough, the blood vessels in these dermal tears go away leaving the white silvery marks we are used to seeing. If you do not wish to wait, IPL and several vascular lasers will heat the inside of these blood vessels resulting in their quicker obliteration. So you will have quicker onset of mature stretch marks NOT their absence. I suspect the reason you put quotes around his term "specialist" is that you already figured out you were about to be bamboozled.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon


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I am confused by the quotation marks around the term specialist. Does your dermatologist not have IPL, microdermabrasion etc. and therefore referring you to a dermatologist who does? Is the specialist a physician who specializes in the treatment of stretch marks?

IPL is of little benefit in established stretch marks although it may help with newer formed red striae. Microdermabrasion would be of no value on either new or established stretch marks.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

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.