Stretch mark removal is one of the most commonly requested treatments. This page will reveal the truths and myths regarding stretch mark cures, and prevention. More than half of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks- prevention and early management with lasers and energy based microneedling is the key to minimizing stretch marks. Early red to pink stretch marks are much, much easier to treat than long standing white to silvery stretch marks.
- Stretch marks occur when the skin receives uncontrolled expansion
- Pregnancy is the most common cause of stretch marks
- Puberty and growth spurts, as well as weight lifting can cause stretch marks
- Weight loss may also cause stretch marks
- Early stretch marks are red, pink or purple
- Late or old stretch marks are white, silvery or papery in feel
- Early stretch marks respond well to laser and creams
- Old stretch marks can respond to fractional skin resurfacing including lasers and RadioFrequency
- Having a treatment and prevention plan, especially during pregnancy is the key to minimising stretch marks
Stretch marks occur when the skin cannot cope with the expansion or reduction of weight. This rapid change results in breaking the organised bonds of collagen and elastin. These substances form the scaffolding of the skin. Once broken, stretch marks can occur.
Stretch mark removal is one of the most confusing conditions to treat, as most laser companies will have ‘some miracle treatment.’ This is not so. We have access to over 14 lasers, however only a handful of treatments will make any difference to stretch marks.
Early stretch marks- red, pink, purple lines are the best to treat, as they respond very well to vascular lasers. My favourite laser is the V Beam Pulse Dye laser. Clean+ Brilliant laser combined with vitamin A creams can also improve early stretch marks. The best lasers include the GentleLase Pro and the Pulse Dye Laser 595 or V Beam by Syneron Candella. This targets the vessels in early red/pink/purple stretch marks, and can remodel collagen, making stretch marks less visible in colour, width and length.
Old stretch marks (white and papery stretch marks) can respond to RadioFrequency treatments such as eMatrix. Infini RF combined with PRP provides the best results. Fractional Lasers such as CO2, Erbium or Fraxel can also treat old stretch marks.
Older stretch marks are white and are devoid of blood vessels (hence they do not have a pink-red look to them). They are much harder to fade. A series of 3-4 treatments will be required. Results are extremely variable- the most important being your own body’s response to collagen stimulation. My favoured combination is the INFINI RF and PRP combination.
No. I use a special laser that cools the skin prior to delivery of the laser beam. Treatment feels like a rubber band flicking on your skin- slightly uncomfortable for a second or two, but very well tolerated.
If INFINI RF- PRP or Fraxel – CO2 CORE is used I apply a special cream called 23/7- this makes treatments painless.
It depends on the surface area. Small areas take 1-2 minutes, larger areas take 4-5 minutes. Because of the built in DCD of cooling of the laser, treatments are not only fast but painless.
My advice is to undertake a series of 3-4 treatments spaced 10-14 days apart for early red stretch marks. This gives the best results. I always combine the use of a medically prescribed cream called Stratamark for best results. Sometimes I also prescribe a Vitamin A cream as this can remodel collagen.
White stretch marks are a little harder to treat. Patients will require 3-5 sessions of either INFINI RF, Clear+Brilliant or fractional laser. For old stretch marks, treatments should be spaced 4-6 weeks apart.
More on Stratamark stretch mark cream
Following treatment of red stretch marks, the areas will be bruised for up to 5-6 days. Pain following the procedure is minimal, and swelling can be reduced with the application of ice. Red stretch mark vascular laser does not break skin, so healing is uneventful.
Fractional devices used for the treatment of older stretch marks are associated with a longer healing up process- up to 10-14 days with lasers or 2-4 days with INFINI microneedling RF and PRP. The quickest recovery times are seen with the Clear+Brilliant laser- 1-3 days and your skin has completely healed. The flip side is that with this system you may need 5-6 treatment sessions.
If you have early red, pink, or purple stretch marks, you should consider the combination treatment of Stratamark anti stretch mark creams AND laser. This combination works well, and the majority of patients will have a good to excellent outcome. If possible plan for treatment– example – if you are pregnant, plan for treatments as soon as you give birth. The earlier the treatment, the better the results.
If you have old, white and papery stretch marks, you will receive a modest improvement in most cases. Treating old stretch marks are extremely variable- the most important factor is your own body’s ability to produce and remodel collagen and elastin.
Simple- the earlier we treat stretch marks the better the result. Over 50% of women will have stretch marks post delivery. If you consult myself during the end stages of pregnancy, we can start the laser sessions within 10 days of giving birth. This includes laser to your C-Scar should you undertake a Caesarean Section. We also combine laser with Stratamark stretch mark creams (safe in breast feeding, and in pregnancy.)
Red, pink, purple stretch marks can be improved markedly with the combination of laser and Stratamark. Don’t leave it too late to treat stretch marks as the end results are not as good as treating early ones!
Stretch Marks Treatments
Vascular laser for early red stretch marks
- Small area (2 hand sizes) from $590 per session
- Large area (greater than above) from $690
- Discounts apply for packages- enquire during your consultation
Fraxel, CO2 CORE, INFINI RF Microneedling for old stretch marks
- Small area $990
- Large area $1290
- Discounts apply for multiple treatments
- Add $690 for PRP to each treatment
- Plan on 3-4 session for an improvement of 30-50% for old stretch marks
We advice all patients to use both laser and Stratamark stretch mark creams for the best restults.
More on Stratamark stretch mark cream
Call Laser & Lifts at Westside Laser Dermatology to make a booking. The consultation process involves identifying the type of stretch marks you have. I will then formulate a treatment plan using laser, and creams such as Stratamark and Vitamin A. In most cases you can start on a stretch mark laser program the day of the consultation if I am treating early stretch marks, however for old stretch marks, you will require numbing cream for one hour before treatments.
Expect these results after early treatment of red stretch marks. Vascular laser combined with Stratamark creams.
By Dr Davin Lim
Stretch marks treatments- this is one of the most frequently requested treatments for a laser specialist . I get asked about stretch marks at least 4-5 times per day, and my answer is always the same- if they are early red stretch marks- you will receive a noticeable reduction in colour, length and width of your marks. If they are old white stretch marks, variable responses can be expected. I either use the Fraxel laser or the CO2 CORE or better yet, INFINI RF and PRP for white or papery stretch marks. The best results are obtained if I treat stretch marks as early as possible.
A stretch mark reduction plan, especially when you are pregnant is the optimal method- once you deliver, we can laser the stretch marks, and if you have a C Section, we also laser the scar line. Combining creams such as Stratamark with laser delivers the best outcomes.