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Why Abrading Methods for Stretch Marks Fail
Dermabrasion is an abrasive procedure used to get rid of the superficial damaged skin layer with a diamond fraise. This method is performed superficially. If carried out more deeply, it can generate a condition called dyschromia (patchy pigment), some mild scarring or even rupture of the skin at the depth of stretch marks, making things worse.
Microdermabrasion is a technique that evolved from dermabrasion and consists in blasting micro-crystals to abrade or sand the superficial layer of skin. It is good for rough superficial uneven skin texture, as it smoothes it out, but tends to give uneven results. It may be unpleasant and if done too deep scarring is likely to occur.
Lasers get rid of the superficial layer of skin by burning it but are not that effective with old stretch marks, quite contrary they only work for new developed stretch marks. Still, even though the stripes might be pink or red, studies reporting the use of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) treatments emitting 585 nanometers (nm) of light conclude that after five sessions the improvement shown in the length, depth, and coloration of stretch marks is at most, moderate.
And although this type of laser carries a low risk of side effects and complications when operated at appropriate treatment parameters and time intervals, they are not recommended for use on darker skin tones (including African-American) because of the risk of hyper pigmentation.
Cost for a series of laser treatments can run upwards of $2,500 depending on how your skin responds and what the average fees are in your area.
Superficial peels are generally performed with glycolic acid. The practice of glycolic acid treatment over stretch marks is disappointing. This is not unexpected as alpha-hydroxy acids act only superficially, mainly by lessening the bonds of the stratum corneum cells.
Medium depth peels with standard Trichloracetic acid (TCA) at 35% to 50% (mass per volume) applied by a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon, skilled in the use of this type of peel, obtain very irregular results. The side effects have been scarring and dark spots. A benefit of TCA peels (and the reason it can help improve the appearance of stretch marks) is their skin-tightening effect.
Deep peels with phenol are extremely dangerous for extra facial dermal tissue, because of their possibility for life threatening complications; local scarring and enduring hypochromia (a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin found in red blood cells) are some of the outcomes.
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