Stretch marks are scars that form when skin stretches and tears due to pregnancy, weightlifting, rapid weight gain or loss, or adolescence. They are permanent and will not go away unless treated. One common method of stretch mark treatment is microdermabrasion. However, microdermabrasion is generally considered less effective for stretch mark removal than other treatment methods such as
What Is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a professional exfoliation procedure where the outer layer of skin—the epidermis—is lightly sanded in order to remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate skin’s appearance. The treatment is non-invasive and chemical-free and is performed using a concentrated spray of crystals.
In addition to stretch marks, microdermabrasion is commonly performed to reduce the appearance of age spots, acne scars, skin discoloration, and wrinkles.
Microdermabrasion can be performed by a dermatologist in his office or by an esthetician at a spa. However, spa microdermabrasion treatments are not regulated and may be of lower quality than those performed by a trained professional. Over the counter microdermabrasion kits are also available for purchase at most local health and beauty stores, but at-home treatments generate less exfoliation and are therefore not as effective.
Is Microdermabrasion Effective for Stretch Mark Removal?
Microdermabrasion exfoliates the epidermis, but stretch marks form in the dermis—the layer of skin beneath the epidermis. Because the treatment cannot affect skin beneath the epidermis, microdermabrasion cannot have a direct impact on the skin cells impacted by stretch mark scarring and, therefore, is generally not effective for removing stretch marks.
By improving the appearance of the outer layer of skin overall, microdermabrasion may create the illusion that stretch marks are less apparent, but the effect will be temporary and will require repeated treatments to maintain.
Cost, Risks, and Recovery
Microdermabrasion is a solely cosmetic procedure, so it is highly unlikely that the treatment will be covered by your health insurance. The cost of a professional microdermabrasion treatment, on average, runs between $150 and $400, but keep in mind that it may require as many as a dozen treatments to get the full benefits of the procedure. Compare the cost of microdermabrasion to other stretch mark treatments.
Because microdermabrasion is non-invasive and does not require the use of chemicals, it is an extremely low-risk treatment when performed by a dermatologist. The procedure generally takes between 30 and 60 minutes to perform and can be undergone over a work lunch break. Treated skin may appear pink immediately after treatment, but the color will fade a few hours after the procedure.
Alternative Stretch Mark Treatments
Microdermabrasion is generally considered ineffective for stretch mark removal. It is also expensive, and having the treatment performed is inconvenient due to needing to make and attend several doctor or spa appointments. Before deciding to undergo microdermabrasion, consider these alternative methods of reducing stretch mark visibility:
- Stretch Mark Treatment Products: Many over the counter lotions and creams can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. These products are cost-effective and can be applied at home to treat stretch marks and improve skin’s appearance. To find a list of the stretch mark lotions and creams that are most effective for treating stretch marks and reducing their appearance, check out our stretch mark treatment product list.
- Laser Treatment: Laser treatment is a process where a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon uses a focused laser to damage skin in order to promote new skin growth over stretch marks. Laser treatment can be effective in eliminating stretch marks, but it is an expensive procedure. Reaping the benefits of laser treatment will require many months of treatments and may cost between $5000 and $10,000 in total. You can also use our Treatment Cost Calculator to determine what your laser costs might be