Laser stretch mark treatment is a relatively new process that helps repair surface-level damage to the skin. People have been treating stretch marks medically for a long time but the technique of using lasers to restructure the skin is relatively new. The theory behind the process is that by removing the upper layer of skin that has the striae (stretch marks) and helping the underlying skin to redevelop and restructure itself there will be no marks left when it heals.
There are different kinds of laser treatments that can be used to achieve this effect. With each treatment, there are different kinds of machinery that are used. In most cases, these are categorized into either ablative lasers or non-ablative lasers and they both work in slightly different ways. Ablative lasers focus on repairing the underlying skin without removing the upper layer of skin so that when the new skin surfaces it doesn’t have stretch marks. The non-ablative lasers work on the surface level and they remove the uppermost layer of skin with the stretch marks so that when the new skin grows it is nice and smooth.
Cost depends on the kind of laser treatment you are going for, where you are getting it done, and the amount of work involved. It could cost as little as $500 dollars or several thousand. As a rule of thumb, ablative treatments will be more expensive than non-ablative treatments. When you are getting laser treatments for stretch marks also keep in mind additional costs such as consultation, lab fees, office fees, and post-treatment medication. The good thing is that stretch mark treatment does not involve a significant investment of time. The process itself is quite short and since it is not an invasive treatment, the recovery time is also quite short. At a maximum, the laser treatment will not last more than 2 hours and complete recovery of the skin is possible within a few weeks.
Insurance rarely helps to bring down the cost of the treatment as it is classified as a cosmetic procedure. While laser treatment is highly effective for the appearance of the skin, it can also help with pain, which is something that is considered a medical problem. If your case falls in the category of getting treatment to address discomfort, you might be able to get some coverage from your insurance policy. If it is purely for stretch mark removal then it will be harder to find insurance coverage.
How long the smooth skin lasts depends entirely on the condition of the skin before the treatment and also on how well you take care of the skin after the procedure. In some cases, you will need more than one procedure to get the best result. In other cases, you might need a combination of ablative and non-ablative procedures. It all depends on how far you want to go with the treatment and at what point you feel as though it looks good enough.
These techniques don’t completely remove stretch marks and the result isn’t going to look like the skin on any other part of your body without stretch marks. However, it significantly reduces the number of striae in the area which gives the appearance of smoother skin. From a distance, you can barely tell that there is a difference and it’s only on very close inspection that you can see the traces of striae left.