Stretch Marks + Scars

Stretch marks, also known as striae, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. Over time they may diminish, but will not disappear completely. Stretch marks form during rapid growth of the body, such as during puberty or pregnancy.

Stretch marks are caused by tearing of the dermis. This is often from the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth or rapid weight changes. Stretch marks may also be influenced by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, bodybuilding, or hormone replacement therapy.

Treatments for stretch marks include CO2 laser resurfacing, microneedling, ResurFX, and topical Retin-A cream.

Acne scars are caused by the body’s inflammatory response to acne lesions. The best way to prevent scars is to treat acne early, and as long as necessary. If scars form, a number of effective treatments are available.

Scars form at the site of an injury to tissue. Two types of true scars exist, as discussed later: (1) depressed areas such as ice-pick scars, and (2) raised thickened tissue such as keloids.

Acne scars associated with loss of tissue – similar to scars that result from chicken pox – are more common than keloids and hypertrophic scars.

Scars associated with loss of tissue are:

  • Rolling scars: broad depressions with sloping edges
  • Boxcar scars: broad depressions with defined edges
  • Ice-pick scars: deep narrow, pitted scars

Thanks to the refinement of a number of dermatologic surgical techniques, scars can be treated with a variety of safe, effective procedures that improve the appearance of a patient’s skin and boost the patient’s self-esteem. The following are common techniques and procedures used to improve scarring:

Dermabrasion: The dermatologist removes or “abrades” the skin with a rotary instrument. The skin undergoes a “remodeling” process as it heals, resulting in a smoother and fresher appearance. This procedure is avoided in darker skinned individuals because of the risk of hyperpigmentation.

Fractionated CO2 Laser Resurfacing: The Fractional CO2 Laser System penetrates the skin using multiple laser beams, which reduce skin imperfections and promote collagen regeneration. By creating tiny micro-wounds spaced apart in the skin, the doctor is treating only a fraction of the skin’s surface, minimizing discomfort and healing time.

Fractionated Non-Ablative Resurfacing with ResurFX: ResurFX delivers several micro pores of heat energy deep into the skin without ablating or cutting the surface of skin. This causes the skin to repair itself by removing damaged skin cells, breaking down scar tissue and stimulating new collagen and healthy skin cells. This results in smoother, tighter, more even skin, giving a youthful appearance.

Punch Excision or Replacement Graft: Punch excision of each individual scar is a technique for ice pick scars. In this procedure, each scar is excised down to the layer of subcutaneous fat; the resulting hole in the skin may be repaired with the punched skin glued or sutured at skin level, or the resulting hole may simply be closed with a suture or with a small skin graft.

Subcision: A technique in which a surgical probe is used to lift the scar tissue away from unscarred skin, thus elevating a depressed scar. Occasionally, a filler substance can be placed to elevate the depressed scar after subcision.

Soft Tissue Fillers: Collagen-related fillers are injected in small quantities below the surface of the skin to elevate depressed scars. This is often coupled with subcision which lifts the scar and allows a space for the filler to occupy.

Chemical Peeling: By applying a chemical solution to the skin, mild scarring and certain types of acne may be treated. Chemical peeling enables new, regenerated skin to appear, improving the appearance of the condition.

Your dermatologist will choose the technique or combination of treatment approaches based upon the nature of the scarring, the patient’s medical history.