Stretch marks are something that virtually everybody has heard about a loved one or personally has dealt with. It is a very common, sometimes quite unsightly, dermatological condition that is searched thousands of times a day by frustrated patients looking for treatment options as nobody, male or female, seems to like their stretch marks. The exact cause of striae is still somewhat unclear as it is believed to be a combination of factors including hormones and mechanical stretching that can occur during rapid weight change, pregnancy, increased muscle mass, adrenal conditions, and normal adolescent growth spurts.
While Striae can become less noticeable over time, they rarely resolve or improve without intervention. Most of us have been told over the years that nothing can be done about these pesky marks once they appear. However, depending on the age, depth, color, and location of these atrophic lesions treatment can vary from topical tretinoin, hydrating creams, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, micro-needling, CO2 ablative laser, radio frequency, and various light-based devices. Numerous therapeutic strategies have been suggested, but no consistent treatment modality has ever really been established until recently.
Treating Stretch Marks with 1565nm Non-Ablative Fractional Laser (ResurFX)
Currently, lasers and therapies such as the ResurFX 1565nm non-ablative fiber laser lead the way in achieving clinically successful results. Inspired by the success with ResurFX treating acne scars and rhytids, it only makes sense to use the ResurFX on stretch marks. The revolutionary technology can improve multiple aspects of stretch marks with less down time and lower risks associated with traditional ablative CO2 lasers. Not all treatment modalities can be used safely all over the body like ResurFX can, this is of great importance considering stretch marks are most commonly found on the buttock, shoulders, arms, abdomen, thighs, and flanks.
ResurFX uses non-ablative small fractionated infrared laser dots that penetrate the skin without damaging the surface. Microscopic thermal zones are produced by beams from the laser at specific depths in the dermis stimulating collagen production. Compared to the Fraxel Restore 1550nm laser that requires 6-8 passes and more discomfort, ResurFX 1565nm only requires 2 passes for its stretch mark treatment. A first pass is used with higher density (more columns of laser dots) at the deepest point of each stretch mark where more collagen production is needed to firm and tighten the skin. A second pass is then applied over the borders of each lesion with fewer columns of dots at higher energies to flatten any ridges around the stretch mark. Smoothing raised areas of skin improves the topography and overall appearance.
Not only does ResurFX improve the casting of shadow hat make stretch marks appear darker but they overall shrink in surface area. The combination of this double pass approach has proved to be one of the most effective treatments for stretch marks on the market today. A bonus feature is the integrated cooling scanning technology used in the tip that also makes the procedure much more comfortable than other laser treatments.
How Many Treatments Are Needed To See Results?
A series of 3-4 treatments spaced about 4-6 weeks apart is typically needed for best results. Downtime is minimal with mild post-procedure swelling and erythema that can last about 3-4 days. Swelling typically resolves within the first 12-24 hours. Use of topical over the counter steroids such as hydrocortisone 1% and cool compresses post procedure helps to minimize these greatly. Gentle cleansing with only tepid to cool water are to be used the first 2-3 days post procedure. Avoid using any scrubs or irritants such as Retin-A, Benzoyl Peroxide, acid or high alcohol containing cleansers or any astringents whatsoever.
It is also imperative to keep your skin well moisturized, even while sleeping, and avoid any type of friction or chemical secondary injury. Aquaphor or a post-treatment salve recommended by your treating physican or nurse can be used on the treated area a few times a day as needed to keep skin hydrated and protected. SPF 30-50 must be applied over areas likely to be exposed to the sun.
With Austin Cosmetic Surgery having one of the very few ResurFX sophisticated, new machines in Austin and Central Texas, we are achieving outstanding outcomes with an extremely high patient satisfaction rate. Contact us today at