There is a new treatment for stretch marks that channels the body's natural healing powers: a laser. Kristen Shaughnessy checks it out in the latest Healthy Living report.
Dermatologist Arash Akhavan uses the only FDA-cleared laser device to treat stretch marks. He says it operates on the same principle that our bodies use to heal wounds.
"What it does is it sends in an a beam of light — little micro-columns of light — that trick the body into thinking it's been wounded, and your body starts to naturally heal these wounds, the same way it would as if you were in the kitchen dicing vegetables and you slipped with a knife and you got a cut on your finger," Akhavan said.
"Our body automatically knows that wound is there, and it sends in growth factors and the necessary cells to replace, to repair that wound," Akhavan continued.
"The laser sits against the skin and it has a cool tip for patient comfort," he demonstrated on a patient, seen in the video above. "It sits against the skin, and we press and then we pulse."
Stretch marks are most common in pregnant women, body builders, and people with rapid weight gain or loss.
"The laser is a quick and easy procedure, it's fairly comfortable. For example, for the abdomen, we can treat it in about 10 to 15 minutes," Akhavan said. "After the procedure, you're typically red, usually for a few hours; sometimes that can even be as much as a day or two."
Studies show three to five treatments will reduce stretch marks by 50 to 70 percent.
"The same technology is actually used — this fractional laser resurfacing — for wrinkles and general face rejuvenation, acne scars, and surgical scars," Akhavan said.
Stretch mark treatments range from $750 to $1,500 per treatment.