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Houston and New York Dermatologist Explains How to Minimize Signs of Stretch Marks

Dr. Paul Friedman, stretch marks, pulsed-dye lasers, topical agents, Fraxel Dual laser skin rejuvenation

Dr. Paul Friedman uses pulsed-dye and Fraxel® lasers, as well as topical skin care techniques, to diminish the appearance of that common, frustrating skin condition known as stretch marks.

Houston TXDr. Paul Friedman, a board-certified dermatologist, offers a variety of treatment options for those looking to reduce and improve the appearance of stretch marks. Stretch marks – medically referred to as striae – are pink, reddish-purple, white, or gray indented streaks on the skin. They can affect both men and women, and can appear on numerous parts of the body, including the upper arms, abdomen, breasts, thighs, and buttocks. At the Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center in Houston, Dr. Friedman uses a variety of treatment methods to minimize the appearance of stretch marks on patients.

In a recent blog post titled “Dr. Paul Friedman Discusses Stretch Mark Solutions,” Dr. Friedman talks about this common condition and what can be done. “Stretch marks are difficult to treat, and result from fluctuations in hormones in our skin,” says Dr. Friedman. “Stretch marks tend to appear after rapid growth [in the skin]. They are common around the biceps of men who lift weights, around the breasts and hips of young women during puberty, and on the abdomen of women after pregnancy. They can also occur with rapid weight loss, in [people who take] anabolic steroids, or following application of steroid creams.”

According to Dr. Friedman, while the exact reasons as to why some people develop stretch marks while others do not are still unclear, genetic predisposition is considered to be a factor. Stretch marks are also somewhat bound to occur during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association writes that 90 percent of pregnant women will experience stretch marks, which explains why Dr. Friedman’s most commonly treated patients for stretch marks are those who have experienced pregnancy or weight fluctuations.

“When stretch marks first appear, they tend to be red or purplish,” he says. “These are called striae rubra. The redness can be reduced with a series of pulsed-dye laser treatments. Even without laser treatment, most stretch marks later lose their red color and become dark or white wrinkled streaks – these are called striae distensae. Studies suggest these stretch marks may benefit from non-ablative lasers.”

In comparison to an ablative laser, a non-ablative laser uses lower energy levels over numerous treatments, thus minimizing the risks of burning, scarring, and other side effects. The Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center offers two methods to treat stretch marks: topical agents, such as tretinoin (Retin-A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and glycolic acid; and laser technology, which includes the pulsed-dye laser treatment and the Fraxel Dual laser skin rejuvenation procedure. Specifically, Dr. Friedman says the pulsed dye laser helps turn the stretch marks from red to white. “Non-ablative fractionated lasers may improve stretch marks by stimulating collagen and elastic fiber remodeling or synthesis. This fills the wrinkled stretch marks, resulting in a smoother appearance.”

Research recommends that the most opportune time to address stretch marks is when they’re new, as they more readily respond to treatment. Dr. Friedman also explains that a patient’s treatment options will depend on a variety of factors, such as color differences, how long the stretch mark has been present, and texture issues. “With more mature stretch marks, I will choose non-ablative fractionated technology,” he says. “I will also utilize this technology when texture is more of an issue.”

While treatment for stretch marks can minimize and fade their appearance, it should be noted that it does not make them completely disappear. Dr. Friedman suggests that individuals who are looking to reduce the appearance of their stretch marks contact a specialist for a consultation. He says the laser technologies used to treat stretch marks are typically safe and effective when performed by an experienced board-certified dermatologist. Usually, to see maximum efficacy, Dr. Friedman says that multiple laser treatment sessions are required.

About Paul M. Friedman, MD
Certified by the American Board of Dermatology, Dr. Paul M. Friedman, is the director of Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center of Houston, Texas and practices at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. He was educated in dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine where he served as chief resident and was twice awarded the prestigious Husik Prize for his research in dermatologic surgery. Dr. Friedman is frequently interviewed by the media, and is co-author of “Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin.” Dr. Friedman serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical School, Department of Dermatology, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Friedman is available for interview upon request.

This practice can be reached online at www.dermlasersurgery.com


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