Fractional Co2 Laser Stretch Mark Revision
Men and women are both susceptible to stretch marks on various parts of their bodies such as the thighs, hips, lower back, belly, upper arms, and breasts that typically occur from weight gain. Around 70-80% of pregnant women suffer from stretch marks. Teenagers are also susceptible to stretch marks when going through puberty because of their rapid growth spurts and increase in weight gain. Stretch marks form in the second layer of skin called the dermis. The dermis is the part of the skin that allows it to retain its shape. As continual stretching occurs, this causes the dermis to wear and break down resulting in a stretch mark, which leaves visible lines on the outer layer of skin (the epidermis).
Although there are many treatments that help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, the fractional Co2 laser sets the gold standard as the most superior treatment for white stretch marks.
How does fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision work?
Who is a good candidate for fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision?
Who should not get treated?
How long do fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision treatments take?
Does a fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision treatment hurt?
What should I do prior to a fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision treatment?
Two to four weeks before treatment:
- Avoid sun exposure and this includes the use of tanning beds and self-tanners.
- Those individuals with herpes simplex and prone to cold sores should start an antiviral medication prior to getting a Co2 treatment to prevent an outbreak.
- Stop the use of Retinols/Retin A, Renova, Tazorac or any other anti-aging product.
- If possible stop the use of Asprin, Advil and Aleve or any other anti-inflammatory. Tylenol is ok.
- Stop the use of all glycolic acid treatments.
- Stop minocycline, tetracycline, and doxycycline.
- Stop waxing, abrasive scrubs, and microdermabrasion treatments.
- Purchase several ice packs or frozen peas.
- Buy Cetaphil or another similar facial cleanser.
- Buy bleaching cream and start a regimen four weeks before treatment if you have a tendency to hyperpigment.
What should I do the day of treatment?
- Be on Time: You will need the full amount of time for numbing the skin
- Eat a Meal: 1 to 2 hours before treatment- this prevents a jittery feeling from the numbing cream
- No Caffeine: You should not consume caffeine at least 4 hours prior to treatment.
- Wear Comfortable Clothes and Shoes: Sweats and a button-up shirt work best.
- Arrive without Make-Up or Contacts: Your face needs to be clean prior to treatment.
- Bring a Hat: A wide brimmed hat works best to shield face from sun if treatment is during the day.
How much do fractional Co2 stretch mark revision treatments cost?
How are fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision treatments performed?
Can I go back to work and activities immediately?
How many treatments will I need?
Are there any cosmetic side effects?
Complications with the fractional Co2 laser are rare and every client’s skin is unique, but the following can occur:
- Pain: Most people experience little pain during treatments and after. If mild discomfort occurs after treatment Tylenol is effective for it.
- Redness: A pink skin color may persist for two weeks or two months after treatment. In rare cases it can last three to six months. This tends to be more common in clients who have a history of flushing and blushing easily or those individuals who have existing dilated vessels on the surface of the skin.
- Wound Healing: The fractional Co2 laser treatment causes a superficial wound to the skin that takes approximately a week to heal. The outer layers of the skin may result in mild to moderate swelling. Ice packs can be effective for it. Crusting is rare but peeling is common. Sun sensitivity can occur for 4-6 weeks so it is recommended that you avoid the sun and wear sunblock.
- Pigment Changes: There is a possibility that the treated area may heal with increased or decreased pigmentation. This is rare and occurs most often in darker skin clients and 2 to 6 weeks after treatment. Hyperpigmentation usually fades in 3 to 6 months, though pigment changes are rarely permanent. Bleaching cream can be effective for it.
- Excessive Swelling: Immediately after treatment, some swelling of the skin will occur. This is temporary and will diminish over the course of a week.
- Scarring: Although scarring is very rare, hypertrophic scars and keloid scaring can occur in very rare cases. This is why it is important to note any prior history of scarring, not to pick at skin after treatment, and to follow aftercare instructions carefully.
What areas of the body can I treat with the fractional Co2 laser?
Do I have to treat the whole area or can I treat just the problem areas?
How soon will I see results after my fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision treatment and how long will my results last?
What post-treatment care is needed following my fractional Co2 laser stretch mark revision procedure?
After treatment, it is important to take extra special care of your skin to help it heal quickly and safely. There are important precautions to take to protect your skin:
- Food and Beverages: Drinking at least 64 oz. per day will enhance the healing process by replacing fluids lost from oozing and help reduce swelling. A cold water mist can also be used to relieve burning sensation. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking as they will delay the healing process. Consume foods low in sodium and high in nutritional value. Consuming foods high in sodium will put you at risk for increase swelling and discomfort. Foods high in nutritional value will provide the vitamins, carbs, and protein that your body needs to promote healing and aid in the rejuvenation process.
- Skin Care Products: All of the skin care products you use after treatment should be gentle and non-clogging. Some very gently and inexpensive skin care products are: Aveeno, Cetaphill, and Neutrogena.
- Sunscreen: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is very important to utilize proper and frequent sunscreen. Resuming sun activities are fine with sunscreen after the first 4 months of treatment. Wearing a protective hat is also recommended.
- Moisturizer: Peeling and flaking is normal. You will be given a moisturizer along with your aftercare instructions. This product will be used until gone. After this, you need to continue using moisturizer during the remaining healing process. The moisturizer should be non-irritating and non-clogging so it can be used frequently without causing breakouts. You should apply moisturizer to your skin whenever it feels tight or dry.
- Glycolic Acid, Retin-A, Scrubs, and Toners: Your skin will be very sensitive for the first month or so after treatment, so you should avoid products that might cause irritation. Make sure to read product labels prior to using them to prevent irritation.
- Bleaching Creams: The use of bleaching creams (Hydroquinone) is not recommended while your skin is tender and should be discontinued until skin is healed.