VIRGINIA BEACH--There's a new tool in the battle against stretch marks. The FDA recently cleared the first fractional laser specifically for older marks left behind during puberty, weight loss or pregnancies past.
"It breaks up the tissue that's abnormal in the stretch mark and it also stimulates your body to repair it. So, it stimulates a natural repair process that builds new collagen," explains dermatologist Dr David McDaniel, director of the McDaniel Laser & Cosmetic Center in Virginia Beach.
The non-surgical treatment uses an erbium laser to breakdown the stretch marks and improve the appearance of the skin by triggering new tissue production and helping to improve the stretch marks' color.
McDaniel says most healthy patients need three to five sessions to get the best results. Each procedure lasts as little as 20 to 30 minutes and there's minimal pain and no downtime.
He says patients see continued improvement for six months to a year after completing treatments.
"I think with, definitely with this treatment and the next one, they'll be completly different and changed," says new mom Hana Webster.
She had her first laser treatment for stretch marks in early October, six months after the birth of her daughter Fallyn. The pregnancy left the 21-year-old with severe and widespread marks on her stomach and sides.
A month after her first procedure, Webster and McDaniel are pleased with the results.
"The most noticeable change is the fading of the color. The color's improving, but where she had shallower stretch marks, you can begin to see that they're improving. The deeper ones are actually a little better, but it's not as obvious," he notes.
Hana's hopeful for big changes by beach weather.
"Well, hopefully by next summertime, I'll be able to be completely in a bathing suit and not have to worry about it," she adds.
Dr McDaniel says you should consult your doctor to see if you are a good candidate for fractional laser treatments.
As for the cost, because the number of treatments varies from patient to patient and the size of the surface area treated, the total cost is determined on a case-by-case basis. Generally, expect to pay from $150 per treatment to several hundred dollars.