8 Things To Know Before Doing Laser Treatment For Your Scars and Stretch marks
If you have a scar or stretch marks that bother you, cosmetic treatment can help. Dermatologists use a laser to reduce the appearance of scars and minimize pain and itching. Laser treatment can also prevent scars from forming after surgery. The laser helps stimulate new, healthy skin growth. Although laser treatment cannot completely remove scars, it can make them less noticeable and uncomfortable. People can get laser therapy on many types of scars, including surgical scars, acne scars, and scars from injuries. It is also safe to use on the face. A laser may seem like a magic wand that can make any scar disappear. Medical lasers, however, are nothing to play with. To get impressive results and avoid serious side effects, it’s important to know these basic facts before you have laser treatment for a scarHow does laser stretch mark removal work?Most types of laser treatment use light to penetrate to the dermis and stimulate collagen growth. The top layer of skin disintegrates, and the healthier skin underneath replaces it. Because these forms of laser therapy allow the skin to heal itself, they’re generally very safe, minimally-invasive procedures. Other types of laser removal are even less-invasive, using light to target damaged blood vessels below the surface of the skin without disrupting the skin itself.While laser treatment is generally highly effective in removing stretch marks, the success of the procedure depends on how old and how visible your stretch marks are. Many patients require up to ten sessions of laser treatment before the stretch marks will disappear completely.Before a person undergoes laser treatment, a doctor will examine the scar and mark the skin with a pen to identify the area for treatment. The following is an example of how the treatment process may work:
A doctor will clean the area around the scar and may inject local anesthetic or apply a numbing cream to the area.
If the scar is on the face, they may ask the person to wear protective goggles.
The doctor will place wet towels or gauze around the scarred area to absorb laser pulses that would otherwise affect healthy skin.
The doctor will pass the laser over the scar tissue. They may occasionally apply a cooling saline or water solution.
After the treatment is complete, the doctor will apply an ointment and a clean dressing to cover the area.
The treated area may remain red for several hours after the procedure. There may also be mild swelling and stinging that might feel similar to a sunburn.
After the procedure, doctors often recommend applying moisturizing lotion to the area at least twice daily and refraining from applying makeup until the redness has gone away. Laser treatments can be painful, especially on the face and neck. Dermatologists can provide a numbing cream beforehand and ice after—and it goes by quicker than you’d think!Which types of scars can it help with?Laser treatment can help with many common types of scars, including acne scars and injury scars. Doctors tend to recommend it for superficial scars. Deep scars or scars that restrict a person’s movement will typically respond better to more intensive treatment. A doctor may recommend laser treatment for the following types of scar:
The American Academy of Dermatology says that laser treatment is not a cure for scars and does not remove them completely. In some cases, a doctor may recommend a combination of therapies, for example, using injectable fillers alongside laser therapy to make the scar less noticeable.
Different types of lasers
Different types of lasers target different skin issues, including everything from brown spots to stretch marks to rosacea. Lasers can also tackle acne scarring, wrinkles, and tattoo removal. Depending on the age, visibility, and number of your stretch marks, your dermatologist may suggest one of a few different types of laser therapy. Fraxel and the fractional CO2 laser work best for stretch marks that are white or silver. These lasers work by poking microscopic holes in the top layer of your skin to stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin in the dermis. On the other hand, the pulsed dye and KTP lasers work best for stretch marks that are red or purple. These methods target your skin’s damaged blood vessels without penetrating the skin.
How to prepare
Before the procedure, a dermatologist will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should:
Avoid sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing, chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.
Avoid perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.
Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding.
On the day of the procedure, the individual should avoid using lotions, deodorants, perfumes, or any other products that could potentially interact with the laser treatment. The skin should also be clean. Depending on the part of the body that requires treatment, a doctor will usually suggest wearing clothing that is easy to take off and put on, such as a soft button-up shirt and loose-fitting pants.
What can you expect after laser treatment?
If you’re thinking about getting laser therapy for your stretch marks, it’s helpful to know what to expect. Talk to your dermatologist about how long your recovery period will be and what you can do to keep your skin healthy during that time. Immediately after your treatment, you’ll probably notice that the treated area is red and a little tender. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. In fact, it’s a good sign – it means the top layers of skin have been successfully removed and new skin is starting to grow in place of the old skin. Some patients also experience blistering, but this is only temporary and nothing to worry about. Your skin will probably heal within a few days, though it may take as long as a few weeks, especially if you’re receiving treatment particularly for stubborn stretch marks.The best news of all is that your results will be permanent – meaning you can kiss your stretch marks goodbye forever and say hello to fresher, smoother skin. You might have a series of sessions spaced overtime to complete your treatment, but once they’re done, you won’t need much follow-up with your provider.
There’s a risk of burns or injuries from the heat of the laser, scarring, changes in the skin’s pigmentation, and bacterial infection. A doctor should discuss potential side effects and risks with the individual before performing laser procedures. The side effects may depend on the type of laser, the severity of the scar, and the person’s skin tone. Some of the more common side effects include:
It is also possible that the laser scar treatment could prove ineffective or worsen the scar’s appearance. This is why it’s important to pick a reputable medical centerlike ours to minimize your risk.To give a patient long-lasting results and the most improvement, a dermatologist may schedule a series of laser treatments. This is often necessary when using a type of laser called a non-ablative laser. You won’t have downtime with this laser, but to see the desired results, you may need a few laser treatments.To give patients the best results, dermatologists also often use more than one treatment for scars. For example, if a patient has deep acne scars, a dermatologist may treat the scars with a laser. The patient may also get a filler. It can take months to see the results from laser scar treatment, and you may notice little improvement at first.
A thorough physical examination must be conducted
Current medications, whether maintenance, supplementary or topical, must be discussed with your dermatologist. Certain oral medications, like aspirin, may be temporarily discontinued prior to laser procedure because healing may be delayed. Oral and topical medications that contain a retinoid must be stopped before the procedure.If your lifestyle requires you to be out in the sun most of the time, or if you have a sunburn from a recent outdoor activity, then laser procedures may not be best for you at the moment. Lasers could burn your skin further or produce a discoloration that is very difficult to treat.There is actually no strong evidence of whether or not lasers have an adverse effect during pregnancy. Because of the lack of clinical data, dermatologists usually recommend pregnant patients to avoid laser treatments until after delivery. The patient must volunteer information regarding previous procedures like chemical peels, and other laser treatments, so as to ascertain that your skin has already recovered from the previous treatment and help avoid any untoward events.Smoking should be stopped if you are serious about improving your skin condition, whether or not lasers are involved. Not only does it delay healing, it also speeds skin ageing.And lastly, the patient should be honest about his/her expectations from the desired laser procedure. Always keep in mind that results may vary from one patient to another. Although it is both the patient and the dermatologist’s desire to address your concern as soon as possible, some procedures may take a while before you can have noticeable improvement, and it is very important that the patients have an understanding of this.
Doctors may use laser therapy as a single treatment or in combination with other approaches to reduce the pain, itching, and the appearance of scars. The laser ideally allows new, healthier-looking skin to grow in place of scarred skin. If you are concerned about a scar’s cosmetic appearance, you can consult with one of the many dermatologists at our medical center to discuss the various treatment options.
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