Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
Last Updated on May 27, 2021 by Dr Sanusi Umar MD
Scar Removal and Stretch Mark Removal Treatment in Los Angeles: A scar is a fibrous tissue that forms in response to an injury in a bid to repair itself. On the other hand, a stretch mark is a type of fibrous tissue that forms linear marks on the skin that are of a lighter hue compared to adjacent skin. So Can you get a scar removed? And Can stretch marks be removed? Almost everyone deals with these cosmetic imperfections. However, they’re often an embarrassing and even emotionally painful challenge. Stretch mark removal and scar removal treatment are possible through the advent of laser technology.
Various types of lasers apply heat to targeted areas beneath the skin to dissolve scar tissue, boost collagen production, and repair broken blood vessels.
The result of our scar removal treatment at Dr. U Skin Clinic is a dramatic improvement in the skin’s appearance–more even pigmentation and texture.
What is a Scar, and How Do Stretch Marks Form?
Scars are the result of damage to the skin. After the skin is damaged in any way, from a surgical cut, traumatic injury to a burn or acne, the tissue naturally repairs itself through the healing process. During this time, irregular collagen formations can cause scarring.
A stretch mark, in particular, is a scar with tearing as its specific form of damage. Rapid subcutaneous volume growth stretches the dermis layer of the skin faster than the body’s ability to produce collagen and causes the dermis to tear. This is often due to:
- Pregnancy (the most common)
- Rapid weight gain
- Hormonal changes (especially during puberty)
- Steroid medications
- Diseases affecting the adrenal glands (Cushing’s syndrome)
- Genetics (being prone to scarring or stretch marks)
Stretch marks can be short and thin or several inches long and wide. They form in a linear pattern and are usually red, purple, or white in color. Stretch marks are a permanent form of scarring and are best reversed when treated as early on as possible. During the stage when the stretch mark has just formed, it will often appear red in color. These marks most commonly affect women in “vulnerable” areas, or areas with a high body fat concentration (i.e., belly, hips, thighs, buttocks), but can also affect men. They are commonly seen on the upper arms and biceps of male bodybuilders.
Can You Get a Scar Removed? How the Treatment Works
Here at Dr. U Skin Clinic in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, Dr. Umar uses both the Fraxel laser and Vbeam laser for stretch mark removal and scar removal treatment. The type of laser he chooses depends on the patient and the scarring to be removed or reduced.
Scar Removal Treatment Using: Fraxel Laser
Fraxel laser is a non-surgical scar removal technique that rebuilds collagen, proven to be the most effective and efficient treatment for scar removal. Fractional lasers use heat to target a deep layer of tissue through focused pulses of light. This light breaks up the scarred tissue and generates collagen production, which shrinks the stretch mark or scar and smooths the skin. Fraxel can not completely remove stretch marks or scars once formed but can dramatically reduce their appearance.
This laser is safe to use on people of all ethnicity and skin tones. Most patients require three to five sessions to achieve optimal results, and treatments should be scheduled at intervals of about four to eight weeks.
Each treatment with Fraxel laser takes about 30 minutes, and there is no downtime afterward. You’ll be able to return to your regular activities immediately following the procedure.
Scar Removal Treatment Using: VBeam Laser
Sometimes, bright red stretch marks or scars are a sign of broken blood vessels or active new blood vessel formation beneath the skin instead of significant tissue damage. This discoloration can be dramatically reduced using the VBeam laser instead of the Fraxel laser. Also, a non-invasive, non-surgical technique, the VBeam laser seals off these broken blood vessels and breaks down the tissue causing the red appearance on the skin.
Its wavelength (585-595nm) is readily absorbed by the blood’s hemoglobin, enabling this heat energy to enter the blood vessels and coagulate the damaged tissue. After that, the body’s natural metabolic process eliminates the nonfunctional vessels, clearing away the discoloration.
VBeam laser is contraindicated in people with darker skin tones. Most patients require two to six sessions to achieve optimal results, scheduled at intervals of six to eight weeks.
Each treatment requires about 15 to 30 minutes, and there is no downtime after the procedure. You can immediately resume your schedule and activities uninterrupted.
Scar Removal Treatment Using: Dermal Fillers
This non-laser treatment can also be an effective way to conceal a scar. Using a dermal filler, Dr. Umar can elevate the skin where it has been depressed from the scar. This treatment will generally be combined with one of the laser options listed above for the best possible outcome.
Scar Removal Before and After Photos
Seeing the scar removal results before and after treatment, both of the below patients were pleased with their Fraxel laser procedures.
Can Stretch Marks be Removed?: Stretch Marks Removal Before and After
The result of your stretch mark or scar removal treatment will largely depend on the phase of your scarring. Addressing the scar after it has recently formed is the best time to laser off stretch marks or scars. At this phase, the scar will usually appear reddish in color. Stretch marks that have been present for a long time tend to appear grey, dark purple, brown, or white and are more challenging to eliminate.
The results may not be visible for several months. Every treatment creates a small change that you will not see immediately, but the cumulative result will show a vast improvement over time. The number of sessions you need to reduce the appearance of your scars or stretch marks depends on a few deciding variables:
- How long you’ve had the scars or stretch marks
- The size and quantity of scars or stretch marks
- Your skin color and ethnicity
How to Prevent Stretch Marks From Forming
Keeping the skin hydrated and supple will allow for more elasticity, reducing the likelihood of stretch marks.
In a German study of pregnant women, those who moisturized during pregnancy versus those who did not favor regular moisturizing and massaging the area of prevention. Only one-third of women who moisturized saw stretch marks form, whereas two-thirds of women formed stretch marks in the other group.
Scientists and researchers have found specific chemicals that successfully aid the prevention of stretch marks. Look for these active ingredients in your skincare products to prevent this type of scarring:
- Vitamin E
- Gotu kola
- Hyaluronic acid
Additionally, any mitigating factor, e.g., bodyweight fluctuations, hormonal medications, etc., should be revisited or avoided.
Side Effects of Stretch Mark Removal and Scar Removal Treatment
With Fraxel laser, the skin may be red and/or swollen afterward, and the texture may feel rough at first. This should subside in a matter of days to weeks if it does occur.
With a VBeam laser, some patients do see redness, swelling, and bruising. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full week to subside.
Cold compresses with ice will help speed up the healing process after either procedure.
Research on Hypertrophic Scar Treatment and Prevention
In 2020, Burns and Scarring published a report describing current strategies for treating hypertrophic scars  a particular form of scarring which results from abnormalities in skin wound healing processes (i.e inflammation, followed by proliferation and regeneration).
Current therapies include:
Pressure therapy (i.e. applying pressure to the affected site)
- Steroids (i.e. to inhibit inflammation)
- Laser therapy (i.e. for faster reduction in scar formation and overall treatment effectiveness)
- Resection (i.e. cutting of the tissue)
- Botulinum toxin A is used to relax muscle tension, a factor that causes scar tissue to become thicker and wider. At the moment, researchers still need to further investigate this approach, particularly in terms of dosage requirements.
Future possibilities for the treatment of hypertrophic scarring include:
- anti-angiogenesis to prevent new blood vessels from forming and feeding the scar tissue
- stem cell therapy and fat grafting to potentially reduce the formation of abnormal tissue.
Right now, the actual mechanisms behind the formation of hypertrophic scarring are not well understood. Research in the above areas may help to shed more light on these processes.
Contact Dr. U Skin Clinic for a Free Consultation
Dr. Umar offers a commitment-free, cost-free consultation better to understand stretch mark removal and scar removal treatment and discuss the best course of treatment for you.
Frequently Asked Questions: Scar Removal and Stretch Mark Removal Treatment
Do the scar removal and stretch mark removal treatments hurt?
There will be some pain from the treatment, but this is minimal for most patients. People often describe the amount of pain as compared to a rubber band snapping on their skin. For patients with a low pain threshold, there are pain management options.
Will my scar or stretch marks disappear completely?
The notion that you can laser off stretch marks or scars is not entirely true; the appearance of these imperfections can be reduced, but they would never be eliminated. But the success of your treatment, of course, depends on the type, age of stretch mark, size, age, and depth of your scar tissue.
Dr. U and his team at the Dr. U Skin Clinic are happy to answer any questions you may have about both scar removal and stretch mark removal. To ask Dr. Umar himself, click the button below:
- Oxford University Press USA. “Scientists find new ways to prevent skin scarring.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2020