Dermatology multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural

Laser Treatment of Stretch marks

Striae_gravidarum By [1] from North Texas, USA (Jamie 100_0283) [CC BY-SA 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons
Netherlands-Flag-icon Germany-Flag-icon Striae also called stretch marks are linear stripes in the skin that arise when the subcutaneous connective tissue tears. Stretch marks occur when the skin can’t keep up with the rapid growth of a specific part of the body. In the beginning stretch marks are red/purple stripes. After a few years the stripes become white scars.

The following groups of people have an increased risk of developing stretch marks such as adolescents, pregnant women, people with weight changes, people who use corticosteroids and bodybuilders. Stretch marks may occur on breasts, upper arms, chest, lower back, belly, buttocks, hips and thighs.

Fractional Erbium:Glass laser

For the treatment of stretch marks the Fractional Erbium:Glass laser/ResurFX is the latest and most advanced laser. This laser is a non-ablative laser and suitable for light and dark skin types. The epidermis remains intact and the skin can retain the barrier function to fight against microbial infections. The risk of other potential side effects such as crust formation is also minimized.

During fractional laser therapy, a fraction of the skin is damaged with safe energy and in a controlled manner. The laser beams penetrate deep into the dermis as tiny columns of heat bundles. The result is a natural stimulation of the connective tissue cells that produce collagen and elastin. The results is new connective tissue that makes the stretch marks narrow and the prominence less visible.

Before the treatment

  • Avoid sun exposure, sun beds and/or use of self-tanning products, 4 weeks prior to the treatment. UV radiation can interfere with the pigmentation in the skin;
  • If avoiding sunlight is not possible, it is important to use a sunscreen with a SPF 50 several times a day to prevent changes in the skin colour;
  • Hair growth in the treated area should be shaved a day in advance. We request you to do this carefully. This prevents unnecessary skin irritation. If you have not shaved (carefully), there is a chance that only a smaller area can be treated;
  • If you epilate or wax hairs, you may do so 5 days prior to the treatment;
  • If desired, you can spread the skin with an anaesthetic cream on the day of treatment. EMLA cream is available on prescription.

The treatment

During the treatment patient and practitioner wear glasses to protect the eyes. The pulses can be sensitive (pricking/burning sensation), but are usually tolerated well. The skin turns red, swelling is almost immediately visible and the skin feels tight. The skin therapist will also apply extra cooling for your skin with a cold pack.

After the treatment

  • Your skin may have a light red to brown discolouration after the treatment. This can last up to 10 days and will eventually fade;
  • The first 4 or 5 days after treatment the skin needs to heal and be left alone. Thermal or mechanical discomfort to the treated area should be avoided;
  • At home you can also cool your skin with a cold pack;
  • You may experience an itchy sensation in the treatment area. This is a good sign and part of the regeneration process;
  • Avoid direct sunlight and apply sunscreen with a SPF 50 during the treatment program and up to 4 weeks after the last treatment;
  • The treated area should be gently washed with lukewarm water and a mild detergent.

Number of treatments

Usually about 3 to 5 treatments are necessary, but with an extensive form of stretch marks more treatments may be necessary. Every treatment gives improvement. Each individual decides the number of treatments according to the desired result. Between each treatment there is an interval of 4 to 5 weeks.

Collagen regeneration is a slow process and usually takes 6 months. The final results will be clearly visible approximately 6 months after the last treatment. The new subcutaneous connective tissue won’t disappear which means that the final results are permanent.

Attribution of the picture: By [1] from North Texas, USA (Jamie 100_0283) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Click here to read our Privacy Statement. We do not use Cookies.