Stretch Marks Getting Under Your Skin?
Smoother Skin Doesn't Have to Be a Stretch, Doctors Say, Because Treatment Options Abound
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks continued...
Retinoids: Retinoids have been shown to be fairly effective in increasing collagen and elastic production during the early stages. But you should avoid them if you're pregnant or nursing. Retinol, tretinoin, and the prescription medications Differin, Renova, Retin-A, and Tazorac are examples of retinoids.
Glycolic acid plus retinoids: Using these together may provide better results. But again, retinoids aren't used when you're pregnant or nursing.
Laser treatment: This popular treatment option is used by many dermatologists, and they are also being tried on stretch marks, as well.
"Lasers promote synthesis of healthy, new collagen, which has been damaged when stretch marks appear," says New York dermatologist Linda K. Franks, MD. She uses lasers at her practice to treat red/purple and white stretch marks.
For red and purple marks, Franks uses a vascular laser that targets swollen and inflamed blood vessels and helps with skin cell production and increased collagen production. Treatments usually require three to six sessions at an average rate of $450 per session.
"Vascular lasers won't take away the superficial skin but will take away the redness," she says.
One laser that may help minimize older, more entrenched stretch marks is the fractionated laser, which hits tiny "fractions" of the skin, often in a grid-like pattern. Franks describes the process as "smudging" the lines of stretch marks, which makes them less distinct.
Expect to pay up to $1,000 per session for these treatments, and be prepared to pay for at least three sessions.
Just don't expect perfection.
"People are resigned to the fact that stretch marks are permanent and can't be fixed, but there are ways to treat them," Franks says. "There will always be some left, though, whether you're treating the red ones or the white ones."
She estimates that patients will see about 30% improvement but is quick to add that almost everyone who does the treatments is usually quite pleased.