Women are being offered a treatment that promises to zap away stretch marks. The laser therapy can dramatically reduce the tell-tale white streaks by up to 75 per cent, its developers claim. Although pregnancy is one of the most common causes of stretch marks, they also affect teenagers and young women without a family.
Growth spurts and weight fluctuations can result in marks on the thighs. The medical term for the marks, caused by a tearing of the layer of skin known as the dermis. Men can also become victims, with affected areas including the arms, legs and back.
As well as tackling stretch marks, the laser can treat surgical scars, acne scars, dark skin patches – known as melasma – and other skin conditions.It works by creating columns of heat within the affected tissue which kick-starts a natural healing process that stimulates the growth of fresh, healthy tissue. Previous surgical approaches, including other laser systems and topical creams, had a poor record.
Nine out of ten women – around 23million – are affected by stretch marks, which mean there is a huge market for the cosmetic treatment, currently available only privately. The developers say only four sessions are needed for the best results. But they come at a price, with the full course costing £1,200.
Clinical studies have shown that patients treated with the Lux1540 laser achieved an average improvement of between 51 per cent and 75 per cent in the appearance of their striae.’ The treatment had little or no impact on patients’ daily activities. A minority needed local anaesthetics and there were no long-term side-effects.