Shrinking Stretch Marks (and Sentences) - Melissa Clements, MD - Oklahoma City
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Shrinking Stretch Marks (and Sentences)

Shrinking Stretch Marks (and Sentences)

My editor, aka my 24-year-old daughter, assures me that while I am a capable wordsmith I have a lot to learn as a blogger. It seems that I need to develop a skill set distinct from that employed in writing about events such as the Sack of Rome by King Alaric and the Visigoths.

Today let’s talk about the vexing topic of depressed, atrophic scarring and do so in a “bloggy” manner. I am working on shorter paragraphs and less “doctor speak.”

Stretch marks and acne scarring are very common problems for which treatment historically has been difficult and disappointing. The development of dermatologic lasers has filled a void where previously explanations and ineffective lotions and potions left suffers with little hope of improvement.

Stretch marks (straie) result form rapid stretching and tearing of the collagen layer in the dermis of the skin. This often occurs in the setting of rapid weight gain in adolescence and pregnancy, body building, and in a variety of medical conditions. The resulting scars, which can be quite deep, may appear red when underlying blood vessels show through to the surface of the skin. The destruction of the dermis may result in the appearance of both vertical and horizontal striping.

The inflammatory attack of the pilo-sebaceous (hair follicle-oil gland) unit in deep inflammatory and/or cystic acne can leave sufferers with depressed and/or pitted scarring. Treatments range from fillers, excision of deeply scarred areas, mechanical sanding of the skin (dermabrasion), chemical peels, to highly effective laser treatments. Combination therapy may be indicated.

Lasers that deliver energy that is absorbed by red blood cells and vessels can collapse small vessels that give newer stretch marks and acne scars a pink or red hue. However, they are inefficient in triggering the development of new collagen and elastin fibers that resculpt and fill the depressions left by the scarring. Fractional lasers have a much better track record when it comes to collagen and elastin fiber stimulation and reconturing of scars. They result in plumping and contracting the defects from the bottom up.

There are a number of fractional lasers on the market. Multiple of said lasers (including Fraxel) reside right in my office. The PicoSure laser is proving to be most powerful of these devises. With PicoSure results are achieved more quickly and more comfortably with fewer treatments and no downtime. Amazingly and uniquely, all skin types and colors can be treated with PicoSure!

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