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What Can I Do About Stretch Marks?

Maybe you’ve lost some weight. Maybe you’ve been pregnant. Or maybe you just had a period of rapid growth when you were younger. Whatever the cause, stretch marks can serve as a visible reminder of the changing character of your body and your skin. And even if the issues that cause stretch marks occurred long ago, those long, horizontal marks can still hang around for years afterward, making you feel self-conscious about your appearance — and maybe even taking a toll on your self-confidence. 

Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of stretch marks so your skin looks and feels smoother. At Open Water Medical, we use the state-of-the-art CynoSure® Icon™ laser to gently break down stretch marks and restore skin’s healthy appearance. With the Icon system, there’s no downtime, and you can have your treatment right in our office — even during your lunch break. Here’s how it works.

What causes stretch marks?

Stretch marks are caused by an “overstretching” of your skin that occurs during weight gain, pregnancy, or a period of rapid growth. Some types of medicines, like corticosteroids, can make your skin more prone to stretch mark development, as well. Typically, stretch marks are long striations that have a different color and texture than the surrounding skin.

Stretch marks might be reddish or pinkish, or they may appear pale and silvery compared to the surrounding skin. They often feel like tiny ridges in your skin when you pass your fingers over them. While these marks can appear anywhere, they’re most common on the belly, thighs, upper arms, and hips.

How the Icon laser system gets rid of stretch marks

The Icon laser works by gently breaking down stretch mark tissue, creating a kind of “controlled damage” that stimulates your body’s natural healing processes. As the laser energy penetrates your skin, it targets the damaged stretch mark tissue, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. The energy heats up the damaged tissue, breaking it down while triggering healing responses in the deeper layers of skin. These responses cause your skin to form new, healthy tissue, as well as elastic collagen to help your skin reform to your contours. 

Prior to treatment, a numbing cream is applied to the area to keep you relaxed and comfortable as the laser does its work. Most treatments take a half hour or less, but your treatment session might be a bit longer, depending on the number of marks you’re having treated. While you’ll see results after just one treatment session, many people benefit from a series of four to eight treatments spaced out over a period of months in order to see the most benefits and optimal results.

What to expect after your treatment

There’s no downtime after laser stretch mark treatments, and you can go back to your regular routines right after your appointment. Immediately after your session, you might notice some redness in the treatment area, but that will clear up shortly afterward. 

As for the results of your treatment session, because laser therapy relies on your skin’s natural healing processes to help your skin look clearer and feel firmer, it can take a few weeks to see the outcome of your treatment. During that time, your body will be removing the damaged tissue broken down by the laser energy while also creating new skin and collagen to improve your skin's appearance and texture. With deeper or more pronounced stretch marks, you’ll notice continued improvement following each treatment session.

Learn how lasers can eliminate your stretch marks

Stretch marks may not cause any physical problems with your skin or your body, but they can definitely take an emotional and psychological toll on your confidence and self-esteem. With laser treatments at Open Water Medical, there’s no reason to suffer from the effects of visible stretch marks. All it takes is one treatment to start to see noticeable results. To learn more about laser treatments at Open Water Medical and how they can help restore your skin, book an appointment online today.

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