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So you want to get rid of your stretch marks? (Who doesn’t?)
Dr. Joshua Fox in Roslyn, L.I., is one of a handful of doctors now using a laser procedure that just might erase those scar-like hollows. In fact, the dermatologist said he stumbled upon the treatment while fine-tuning his scar-removal technique.
Women – concerned about marks on their abdomens, thighs and breasts (in that order) – make up the bulk of his clientele, though there is a steady trickle of men. “for every eight women, there’s a man,” Fox says. “We had a male weightlifter come in. His stretch marks were 18 years old, really deep – and the treatment worked.” Fox stresses that he’s not quite sure why it works, just that it does, about 50% to 75% of the time.
His hypnothesis: “By aiming the laser, it seems to stimulate the cells that help produce collagen, which will help fill in the depression. It’s just theory.”
“Early studies show positive results,” adds a spokewoman from the American Society of Dermatological Surgery.
Here’s how Fox says he happened upon the procedure. “We were using yellow lasers for port wine stains,” he said. he regularly works with seven kinds of lasers.
We saw how well it took out the redness; so we thought we could use it for red scars. Well, not only did it take out the red, it also helped level out the texture of the scar.
“Stretch marks, under a microscope, are thought to resemble a type of scar,” he continues. And a year and a half ago, he started pointing his yellow lasers toward his patients’ stretch marks.
No anesthesia is necessary for the treatment, which lasts an average of 10 minutes. It feels like a rubber band flicking against your skin, fox says. “I didn’t even get that strong a sentation,” says patient Nancy McGinnity, 46, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y. “It was completely painless.”
Afterward, the client can waltz out of the doctor’s office and carry on with her day.
Sometimes there’s a slight bruising that lasts for 7 to 10 days,” he says, “and in extremely rare cases, a bit of a scale or a crust.”
Each patient first must undergo a test-site procedure, which costs about $200. Then, most return for two to three treatments, to the tune of $300 each.
“I haven’t completed it,” McGinnity says of the treatment on her belly, “but the stretch marks are greatly improved, the elasticity is greatly improved. The texture of the skin is 90% better.”
“Before this,” Fox says, “there was Retin A, which works about 5% to 10% of the time.”
And remember: As the treatment is considered cosmetic, insurance doesn’t cover it.