4 Effective Alternatives to Stretch Marks Laser Treatment

Laser treatment is one of the most popular dermatological procedures to treat striae. But it is not the only option. In this post, learn about the alternatives to stretch mark laser treatment that are equally as effective but may be less expensive.

Stretch marks, also called striae, are irregular scars on the skin that affect up to 90% of the population. They look reddish or purple at first. Later, they turn lighter than your skin color making them obvious.

These irregular visible streaks on your body have been limiting your clothing choices as you try to hide them. They are holding you back from feeling sexy and confident.

There is nothing you can do to eliminate the possibility of having them, more so if you are genetically predisposed to acquire them at any stage in your life.

And once you have them, they will be impossible to treat with natural methods.

Plastic surgery such as a tummy tuck gets rid of stretch marks, too. But it is just an effect that goes with it because the skin is removed and not the actual aim of the surgery.

Fortunately, technology and medical innovations aside from plastic surgery and laser treatment are now available to get rid of stretch marks.

To understand more about how these treatments can effectively minimize the appearance of striae, it is good to know the root of the problem first.

How are stretch marks formed?

The layers of the skin are the epidermis (topmost), dermis (middle), and hypodermis (innermost). Pliable and elastic, you can pinch and lift your skin with ease, and it will return to its original appearance.

But when it expands beyond its elastic limit, the dermis layer gets damaged. This causes lesions that look like stripes from the outside.

You can see them mostly in fleshy parts of the body like the abdomen, chest, arms, hips, buttocks, or at the back of your knees.

Pregnancy, puberty, growth spurts, and sudden weight gain and loss are common causes of striae. Certain medical conditions can also lead to having striae as well as usage of steroidal creams.

And while there are more women who experience having striae, men can also have them. If you have family members that have it, then, you will likely have it, too.

Skin elasticity is highly dependent on the amount of collagen that you have. So, when your collagen level drops, you tend to be more prone to developing striae.

How many laser treatments does it take to get rid of stretch marks?

Typically, you need at least four sessions for laser treatments to notice a significant improvement. Some see the effect on the tenth session. It may depend on how old the scars are, how severe they are, and how your skin reacts.

The laser stimulates the skin to heal and regenerate. The treatment also excites the pigment cells making them create more melanin. In effect, the scar diminishes as it blends in with the surrounding skin tones.

It can cost several thousands of dollars per treatment. And be prepared to return for more sessions until you get satisfied with the results.

Note though that the scars may not totally vanish. Although rare, know that there could be side effects like blistering, discoloration, and infection associated with this kind of treatment.

Effective and Non-invasive Alternatives to Stretch Mark Laser Treatment

Here are more choices for you to try and explore if you find laser treatment to be not an option.

MICRONEEDLING

This kind of treatment uses tiny needles in the form of a derma roller or a pen. As the roller or pen glides, the needles make tiny indentations on the epidermis.

These tiny scars will then induce healing and allow collagen and elastin production. In effect, the stretch marks lighten, and the skin becomes more supple.

Unlike invasive cosmetic procedures, microneedling has almost no side effects, little downtime, and relatively painless. Hence, it is a good alternative to stretch mark laser treatment.

DERMABRASION

Just like microneedling, dermabrasion or microdermabrasion works by stimulating the skin to produce collagen. But instead of pricking, this treatment exfoliates the epidermis.

Crystals are sputtered on the surface, rubbed, and removed, taking away dead skin cells. Exfoliating the epidermis encourages the skin to rejuvenate and make the stretch marks less visible.

Dermabrasion is also a non-invasive alternative to stretch mark laser treatment. You may experience a bit of redness too, which is typical when the skin is scrubbed. But it will eventually go away as the skin adjusts even without intervention.

CARBOXYTHERAPY

Carboxytherapy, on the other hand, works by inducing better blood circulation in the area by introducing carbon dioxide. Better blood circulation then leads to a better appearance and healthier skin.

alternatives to stretch mark laser treatment - carboxytherapy
carboxytherapy

Pressurized carbon dioxide is injected beneath the scars. The higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the area attracts the oxygen-carrying blood cells.

This way, more oxygen is supplied in the tissues and the carbon dioxide is taken away by the cells to be later exhaled by the body.

This kind of treatment is also used on cellulite, wrinkles, and even alopecia, a hair loss problem. Inducing better blood circulation in the injected area makes the skin glow, regenerate, and become more elastic.

The process is quite quick. You may expect a little discomfort at the injection site, but right after, you can continue with your normal routine.

STRETCH MARK CAMOUFLAGE TATTOO

All the treatments enumerated above can help improve the appearance of stretch marks in varying degrees of effectiveness. But these can take time as you may need multiple sessions.

Laser treatment works well with new scars but may not be as effective for old scars. Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo offers a good alternative if you have white stretch marks that are flat and are at least two years old.

This kind of treatment involves injecting the stretch marks with pigment that matches your natural skin tone. This makes the streaks invisible.

A single session of the stretch mark camouflage tattoo will free you from the insecurities of having striae for up to 5 or 7 years if you follow the after-care procedure. You can avail of touch-ups on the fifth year onwards to maintain it.

alternatives to stretch mark laser treatment - Stretch mark camouflage tattoo
Stretch mark camouflage tattoo

Expect to experience a little discomfort. But immediately after, you can return to your normal routine. Hence, this is one of the best alternatives to stretch mark laser treatment.

Invest in Your Skin

While laser treatment could be less costly than plastic surgery, it can cost more than the alternatives that are equally effective.

And if you cannot afford to undergo several sessions and want relatively quicker results, go for the stretch mark camouflage tattoo.

Not sure if you are a good candidate? Book a free consultation with Studio Conceal now!

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What is SMP?

Scalp Micro Pigmentation (SMP) was developed as both a cosmetic procedure for men and women suffering with all types of hair loss, and as a medical procedure to help conceal scars, burns, birthmarks, as well as the full spectrum of alopecia. During the SMP procedure, a blend of unique pigments specifically formulated for the client are deposited into the dermal layer of the skin on the scalp. These deposits create an extremely realistic illusion that replicates hair follicles. SMP is a viable alternative to traditional hair transplant surgery, hair systems, pills, and fibers.. Around the world, thousands of clients live their lives free from hair loss without lengthly maintenance routines, unwelcome side effects or signifiant ongoing financial outlay.

Does scalp micropigmentation look real?

A typical scalp hair from a Caucasian woman is about 77 micrometers in diameters (67 Um in those of Asian descent, and 120 Um in those African descent). Typically, SMP dots placed in the dermis layer are 90-140 micrometers in diameter.

While this might seem a bit larger than a real human hair, this slight difference is virtually indistinguishable from real hair follicles. Often, when viewed 1 foot away, close friends and family will not be able to tell where real hair ends and the SMP begins.

What causes hair loss?

As hair on the scalp goes through it’s normal cycle of growing and shedding, DHT makes the follicles miniaturize. That means they get thinner and shorter because the growing cycle doesn’t last as long. The growing cycle becomes so brief that new hairs can’t grow through the skin. For women, hair loss can be caused by an imbalance of thyroid hormones, pregnancy, disease and certain medications.

How long will SMP last for?

With proper care and treatment, including using high sunscreen when outside, SMP will commonly last for many years. For a healthy client with a normal immune system, we expect that the color will last with original vibrance for about 4-6 years, with gradual fading of the pigment to last up to 8 years.

Fortunately, if a touch up is needed, a fee is charged which is generally cheaper per session than the original treatment fee. It’s important to note that each individual is different so an estimated range of longevity will be provided at our consultation meeting.

Will SMP fade, smear, or turn blue as the years pass?

Any pigment applied to the dermal layer of the skin will eventually fade, but we expect SMP to last several years or more, before even minimal fading is noticed. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun often breaks apart some tattoo inks for easier absorption by the body, resulting in increased fade rates and slight smearing. As the inks are degraded, their chromophores are often altered resulting in changed color. If this occurs, we can easily offer touch up sessions, or revise the ink color by adding additives to mute, neutralize, or warm up the tone again.

Is SMP reversible? Is receiving SMP treatment painful?

Yes, SMP pigmentation can be removed with an electro-optic Q switched laser, which is used to heat and break-up the SMP pigmentation for easier absorption by phagocytes in the dermis. SMP is fairly easy to remove in most cases because the pigment is not deposited as deeply as normal tattoo ink. The electro-optic laser, however is expensive and therefore, many clinics which advertise laser removal do not actually own one.

As for pain, it depends on the individual. In some cases, clients have fallen asleep while I have completed treatment. In other cases, clients experience pain across the temples or above the ears during treatment. Most clients rate their pain on a scale of 1-10, as 3-5 during treatment.

How long will it take for my final SMP appearance to form?

A normal client depending on hair loss extent, will take two to four treatments to achieve their final appearance. Most treatments are 2-3 hours long with small breaks as needed. The first treatment often places a very light application on the scalp to assess fading and density levels. The normal reaction from many clients is to assume that the SMP is too light. However, this is a normal part of the treatment and allows me to better treat the scalp in later sessions. The second treatment is 10-14 days later, and adds the majority of the density to your new look. Treatments three or later are usually for completing the look, addressing darkness matching or to even the density across the scalp.

What will my scalp look like immediately after treatment?

The area of the scalp that has been treated will have some redness for 24 hours after treatment, though this tends to be less visible on darker skin tones. In addition, the pigmentation will be darker for up to 7 days after treatment, again, depending on your skin tone. Thereafter, the pigmentation will appear to become lighter and softer as the pigment filled scabs begin to flake away. These scabs flake away in the first 3 to 10 days. As this happens, it appears to the observer that the SMP dots are shrinking. When the healing process is complete, the final dots are often 90 to 170 Um in diameter and blend seamlessly into any natural hair. By about one month, after any treatment, the pigments will begin to “set” and thereafter, fading will be almost zero.

How do I choose a hairline? If I have hair left, can I leave it long?

If you are unsure of what style or type of hairline will work or you, I will be there to help. With an artistic eye and experience on how to fit a hairline to head shape and age, I can help recommend what’s best. Over the course of our sessions, we can tweak and adjust the hairline for the perfect, natural result.

Depending upon the pattern and extent of your current hair, some clients are able to maintain a longer length. Scalp micropigmentation can help thicken areas so that less of the scalp is seen showing through. However, if there is a strong pattern of hair loss or just not a lot of hair density left, the client is recommended to crop it shorter.

Can Studio Conceal camouflage my transplant scar?

Yes, absolutely! By replicating tiny hair follicles inside the scarring and blending the color around the scarring area, transplant and surgical scars can see massive improvement in concealment.

DOES THIS TREATMENT REMOVE STRETCH MARKS?

Other than a tummy tuck, or the literal removal of skin, there is no proven way to remove stretch marks. The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo only helps to conceal and diminish the appearance of stretch marks so that they are less perceptible to the naked eye. Think of it as having a permanent filter, taking away the white contrast of your scars.

IS THE TREATMENT SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?

Generally, yes! However, there are a small number of people who the treatment would not be suitable for. Your stretch marks and scars need to be at least two years old, lighter than your skin tone and completely healed. Booking a virtual consultation can help determine if you’re a candidate for this procedure and is required for all clients.

CAN I GET TATTOOED IF MY SKIN IS ALREADY TANNED?

We prefer to match only your natural skin tone, and require that our clients postpone their session until their tan has faded. This ensures that we are able to custom blend an ink color that will look most natural whether you’re tanned or not.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TAN?

Your camouflaged stretch marks and scars will not change color. If you tan, your skin’s overtone will darken, but your stretch marks will remain the same color as your natural skin-toned ink tattoo. Overall, your stretch marks will still be camouflaged because the “white” is no longer there. In short, there’s less of an obvious contrast. Here’s a great video explaining what happens to your stretch mark tattoos when you tan.

WILL IT HURT? DO YOU NUMB YOUR CLIENTS?

The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo is a penetrative skin procedure so a small amount of discomfort will be experienced. Usually on a scale 1-10 (10 being most painful), the average consensus is a 6 or 7. We do not numb our clients to avoid any interference to the purity and insertion of pigment into the scar. In addition, your pain receptors will be heightened if you’re on your monthly cycle, and so we suggest you book your session/touch ups accordingly.

CAN I GET THE TREATMENT WHILE PREGNANT OR BREAST-FEEDING?

Congratulations on your pregnancy, but unfortunately, we are unable to treat women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. We look forward to treating you once your little one is weaned and your scars have been fully healed (usually within two years).

HOW WILL I LOOK IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS?

There’s little to no downtime. Most Clients can resume work the same day, or even fly home after their session. It’s normal to experience redness and swelling immediately after the procedure for 1-3 days. For the first 3 days, you’ll be given strict instructions on how to minimize inflammation, speed up the wound healing phase, and how to “ice” the area and keep it clean. Over the next few weeks, the redness will dissipate and go through a variety of shades (from dark to light) until your skin heals. We’ll be in contact with you every step of the way.

HOW QUICKLY WILL I SEE RESULTS?

Everyone’s skin is different. Variables include age, diet, hormones, general health, overtones, sun exposure, etc and so it’s impossible to give an exact number of days it will take you to heal. On average, it takes 45-60 days, but if you’re prone to hyper-pigmentation (you naturally scar dark), it will most likely take longer to heal. During your consultation, we can discuss and assess your skin’s estimated timeline and variables.
*Here’s a recent case study of our fastest healing client to help you speed along your recovery!

HOW LONG WILL THE RESULTS OF THE PROCEDURE LAST?

The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo is a penetrative skin treatment that’s only been around for 6-7 years. According to our industry, it’ll last 5 years, or more provided that the correct after-care procedures are adhered to. You may or may not need a touch up after 5-6 years. Remember, a stretch mark is a scar and so the skin is trickier to penetrate. In addition, as we age, all tattoos transition and change on our skin because there’s less elasticity and melanin production. This can effect your stretch mark camouflage tattoo, as well.

WHAT IS THE COST OF THE PROCEDURE?

The total cost of the procedure varies greatly per technician and is dependent on the location and severity of the stretch marks or scar requiring treatment. Studio Conceal charges anywhere between $500-$2,000/ per area. We require an initial consultation (in-person or virtual) free of charge with zero pressure, during which the final cost can be determined by a formal quote.

DO YOU OFFER PAYMENT PLANS?

Yes we do! We’ve partnered with United Medical Credit to offer easy, reliable financing for all camouflage services and training. It’s really easy to apply and only takes 3 minutes to get approved. They’ll do a soft credit check to determine your options and will be in contact with you in 24 hours. Apply for financing of tattoo treatment or training here, hassle free.

STRETCH MARK CAMOUFLAGE TATTOO VS. LASER TREATMENTS?

While Laser Treatments do work on stretch marks by damaging the skin’s outer layer and forcing it to heal itself, they do not put color back into the skin. So almost all clients who get Laser Treatments for their stretch marks still have noticeable stretch marks. In fact, many of our clients have had many Laser Treatment procedures prior to walking into our studio. Another huge difference is the cost of that treatments. Laser Treatments could run $1,000 to $3,000 per session, and can easily end up costing the client over $10,000 overall.
*Here’s a short video going over the differences of microneedling vs. laser vs. the stretch mark camouflage tattoo