ASCP Skin Deep

MAY | JUNE 2021

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Listen to the ASCP Esty Talk podcast at 37 Stretch Mark Laser Therapy by Maggie Staszcuk DID YOU KNOW 80 PERCENT of the American population has stretch marks? 1 While there are thousands of blogs, websites, and articles that support loving the skin you're in and accepting these marks as a reminder of the life you've lived, there are just as many online posts that promote camou age and removal. Many people see their stretch marks as a badge well earned. Others don't feel quite the same way and will go to great lengths to remove them. WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS? Stretch marks, or striae, are small tears in the dermis that develop from rapid growth or overstretching of the skin. 2 They often occur during pregnancy, growth spurts, rapid muscle gain, or weight gain in general. They do not pose a medical threat, but many people nd them unsightly and want them removed. Stretch marks are, in essence, scar tissue that contains densely packed collagen bers. All stretch marks are dermal injuries that vary in size, color, and depth. In early formation, stretch marks are pink, purple, or red in color. Over time this postin ammatory pigment resolves, and they become white, silvery, or more esh colored. 3 LASER TREATMENT FOR STRETCH MARKS There are many lasers on the market that may be suitable for the treatment of stretch marks. Stretch marks are best treated when newly formed, and using a pulsed dye laser (PDL) can pick up the stretch mark pigment, reducing its appearance. Broad band light (BBL) is another option for treating stretch marks. BBL targets the red chromophore in the skin and shrinks the size of the stretch mark. 4 Deep, enlarged stretch marks may be more challenging to treat with a pulsed light that produces a short wavelength. Fractional laser resurfacing such as CO2 laser or Erbium YAG are more aggressive and have a longer wavelength that safely penetrates to the dermis without harming ADVANCED MODALITIES the epidermis. Fractional laser treatments work by delivering a pixelated laser beam, and each pixilation, or dot of light, is a deep column of treatment into the dermis. 5 Within each treatment column, old epidermal pigmented cells are shed, and collagen remodeling takes place. Since the surrounding tissue is left intact, this treatment results in faster healing. 6 EXPECTATIONS Laser therapy results vary greatly depending on the device, settings used, and condition of the stretch marks being treated. After initial treatment, it is common to experience some erythema (reddening of the skin) and edema (swelling). Edema is most common with fractional laser treatments and should resolve within 2–3 days. 7 Clients may also report a mild sunburn sensation or experience aking skin as new cell regeneration occurs and replaces dead cell tissue.

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