Laser Stretch Mark Removal NYC
Understanding Stretch Marks
What Are Stretch Marks?
Dr. Arash Akhavan is a leading expert in minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures of the face, neck, and body and is an expert in laser stretch mark removal in New York City. Stretch marks, scientifically known as striae distensae, are a common dermatological phenomenon characterized by long, narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin. These marks are usually a different hue from the surrounding skin, making them quite noticeable. They can either be red, hyperpigmented (darker than normal), or hypopigmented (lighter than normal). Stretch marks are typically seen as a form of scarring on the skin, as they often appear during or after periods of rapid growth or weight gain.
These indented lines can show up on various parts of the body, including the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, and lower back. Initially, stretch marks may appear as purple, red, or pink bands on the skin. Over time, they fade typically fade to white stretch marks that can still be noticeable against the surrounding skin. It’s worth noting that unsightly stretch marks are harmless and don’t cause any medical problems, but they can cause distress or self-consciousness due to their noticeable appearance.
At a deeper level, the formation of stretch marks is tied to the structure of our skin. The skin is composed of three key layers: the epidermis (the outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer), and the subcutaneous layer (the innermost layer). The dermis plays a vital role in the formation of stretch marks.
When the dermis is subject to rapid stretching due to various factors, this rapid tension disrupts the normal, organized production of collagen - the primary protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin. Collagen gives our skin its elasticity and resilience. However, when this normal collagen structure is disrupted the collagen and elastin fibers tear, leading to scar tissue formation known as a stretch mark.
There are numerous factors and situations that can lead to the formation of stretch marks, many of which involve a rapid change in body size. For instance, one of the most common causes of stretch marks is rapid weight gain or weight loss. Both scenarios put tension on the skin, causing the dermis layer to stretch and eventually form stretch marks.
Pregnancy is another common cause of stretch marks, given the quick expansion of the skin around the belly area to accommodate the growing baby. Similarly, the hormonal changes during puberty can spur rapid growth, leading to more stretch marks appearing on various parts of the body. Intense physical training that leads to quick muscle growth can also result in stretch marks.
Moreover, certain medical conditions and treatments can predispose individuals to develop stretch marks. For instance, Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens the body's connective tissue, can cause stretch marks. Prolonged use of corticosteroid creams, lotions, and pills can decrease the skin's ability to stretch, increasing the likelihood of stretch marks.
Statistics on Stretch Marks
Contrary to what some might think, stretch marks are exceedingly common. Various studies suggest that up to 90% of pregnant women will develop stretch marks by their third trimester. As for adolescents, it's estimated that up to 70% of females and 40% of males will develop stretch marks during puberty, a time characterized by rapid growth and hormonal changes.
Despite their common occurrence, many people feel self-conscious about their stretch marks. It's essential to remember that having stretch marks doesn't indicate a health problem. However, for those who feel discomfort or a lack of confidence due to their stretch marks, there are various treatments available to improve their appearance, with laser stretch mark removal being among the most effective.
Other Stretch Mark Treatment Options
Stretch Mark Removal NYC – Microneedling for Stretch Marks
Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure gaining popularity in recent years. This treatment involves puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles. These punctures stimulate the skin’s natural healing process, causing it to produce more collagen and elastin—the proteins responsible for skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Results from stretch mark treatments can vary widely among individuals. The depth and color of the stretch marks, the individual’s skin type and color, and the number of treatments all influence the effectiveness of microneedling. Microneedling can be combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or other growth factor solutions such as AnteAGE Growth to boost results. Multiple treatments are always necessary for noticeable improvements.
Microneedling is a great option for patients with darker skin tones, for whom fractional lasers are riskier.
There are various methods for treating stretch marks, each with different degrees of effectiveness. These treatments include topical creams and oils, light and laser therapies, microdermabrasion, and, in severe cases, surgical procedures to treat stretch marks, such as abdominoplasty.
For some, over-the-counter creams and oils containing ingredients like retinol or hyaluronic acid may provide some minor improvement. These products aim to stimulate collagen and elastin production, although their effects are usually mild and temporary.
Light and laser therapies have shown promising results for stretch mark removal. Fractional Resurfacing Laser treatments use concentrated light to stimulate collagen and elastin growth to reduce stretch marks. Laser treatments can also treat blood vessels in the stretch marks reducing redness.
Microdermabrasion is another option for removing stretch marks. This procedure gently removes the top layer of skin using tiny crystals. It is not very effective.
Surgery is also an option for severe stretch marks, such as those resulting from pregnancy. A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty can remove stretch marks on the lower abdomen.
Why Creams Do Not Work
It's easy to understand the appeal of creams that promise to remove stretch marks. The idea of applying a simple product that can erase these marks without a trip to a dermatologist or surgeon seems ideal. However, it's crucial to separate fact from fiction when it comes to these claims.
In reality, creams, lotions, and other topical treatments cannot fully eliminate stretch marks. These are deep scars in the dermis, the second layer of skin, where most topical products cannot reach. While these creams may moisturize and nourish the skin on the surface visible stretch marks, they can't repair the damage done to the deeper skin layers that have been torn and resulted in stretch marks.
The main function of these stretch mark creams is hydration. They work to moisturize the skin, which may temporarily make the skin look plumper and the stretch marks slightly less apparent. However, once you stop using the cream, the stretch marks often return to their previous appearance. Hence, these creams do not offer a long-term solution for stretch mark removal.
That's not to say all creams are ineffective. Some creams containing ingredients like retinoids have been shown to improve the appearance of stretch marks. However, their effectiveness is generally limited to newer, fresh stretch marks and does not provide a comprehensive solution for older, more established stretch marks treated elsewhere. We like combining retinoid use with procedures that generate collagen- fractional lasers in particular.
Arash Akhavan, MD is founder and owner of The Dermatology and Laser Group, one of the top centers for cosmetic procedures in New York City for over a decade. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD is a Board Certified Dermatologist and an Associate Professor at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Akhavan is a Castle Connolly Top Doc, New York Magazine Best Doctor, and Super Doctor featured in The New York Times. Dr. Akhavan is a key opinion leader that has been featured on hundreds of media publications including The New York Times, Allure, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, ABC News, Fox News, Fox 5, NY1, WPIX, and more. He has been featured on nationally syndicated television programs such as The Doctors.
Dr. Akhavan serves as an educator and lecturer for multiple aesthetic device and injectable companies. This allows his office access to newer technologies at an earlier date than other offices, as well as a higher level of expertise in the use of these devices. This, in turn, translates to more effective and safer treatments for our patients.