Removing Stretch Marks
Stretch Mark Treatment Options
Stretch marks can be found on the thighs, abdomen, hips, breasts and buttocks. They are usually a result of damaged collagen and blood vessel dilation, caused by everything from weight gain to bodybuilding and pregnancy. But what treatments are available to those who wish to improve the appearance of their skin?
There are several options available for people who wish to remove the sometimes embarrassing signs of stretch marks. Some of these options work better than others, while some are potentially damaging. These treatments include pulse dye laser therapy, chemical peels and topical alpha hydroxy acid therapy.
Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks
Laser surgery for stretch marks involves a laser that pulses a beam of light through the skin, which encourages new skin and collagen growth. Laser treatment is expensive, ranging between $500 and $1,500 a session. Although some improvement can be seen after one treatment, the average person will require four or more visits, rarely covered by insurance. About half who go this route to reduce stretch marks do not see much improvement, while the other half enjoys a smoother appearance to the skin.
Read more on Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks
Some people with stretch marks undergo chemical peels in order to remove layers of skin that show wrinkles and lines. The new skin is often lighter and smoother, showing fewer stretch marks than before the peel.
A nurse or beauty therapist can give superficial chemical peels, while a physician is able to provide a deeper chemical peel. Superficial peels can be repeated monthly, while deep peels should only be given every six months. Skin heals quickly after a superficial peel, while swelling and redness results from a deep chemical peel and usually takes a few weeks to heal.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
A final option for those who wish to remove stretch marks is the use of alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. These acids are often called fruit acids, not surprisingly because they are derived from fruit. AHAs are sold as creams or scrubs in online stores or drug stores, while AHA peels can be given at a dermatologist's office.
Although alpha hydroxy acids are not proven to reduce the signs of stretch marks, they may improve the appearance of your skin. They are considered safe, but may cause temporary redness or irritation.