Can a Laser Really Get Rid of My Stretch Marks?

For so many women, stretch marks are an unavoidable and unpleasant side effect of pregnancy. They can also affect bodybuilders and anyone else who has gained or lost a significant amount of weight in a short period. Some people are even unlucky enough to acquire them during the growth spurts of puberty.

Although maintaining a stable weight and taking good care of one’s skin are certainly steps in the right direction, the unfortunate truth is that heredity and hormonal changes play a considerable role in the formation of stretch marks.

Woman with stretch marks on her abdomen
Michael Heim / EyeEm / Getty Images

There are many oils, creams, and lotions that are purported to improve or even prevent stretch marks. While Retin-A has been shown to be marginally effective at reducing the apparent depth of stretch marks, and there are those who swear by treatments with other lotions, most medical experts agree that the claims are mostly hype.

With the advent of the use of lasers for cosmetic purposes, though, hope for the treatment of this cosmetic problem seems to have been renewed.

Can Lasers Remove Stretch Marks?

So, can lasers really erase stretch marks?

The answer is no. Since stretch marks represent a permanent change in the dermis (the deeper layer of skin beneath the surface layer known as the epidermis), there is no amount of resurfacing that can erase them.

However, studies have shown that laser treatments can lessen the depth of stretch marks in some patients, with an improvement rate between 20% and 60%. The improvement is believed to be largely due to the laser’s stimulation of increased production of collagen and elastin in the dermal (deeper) layer of the skin, where stretch marks are formed.

How Lasers Can Help

Lasers are most effective on immature stretch marks. Immature stretch marks are red. Many doctors say that they are nearly useless on more mature (or white) stretch marks.

Furthermore, laser treatment for darker skin types is generally considered inadvisable, largely due to the risks of causing hyperpigmentation changes in the skin.


In short, there is no “cure” for stretch marks. Worse yet, preventing stretch marks is not entirely in your power, especially during great hormonal fluctuations, such as pregnancy and puberty. If your mother has stretch marks, there’s a good chance that you will have them, too.

A Word From Verywell

Only you can decide whether a 20% to 60% improvement in the appearance of stretch marks is worth making several trips to the plastic surgeon’s office (not to mention shelling out a few thousand dollars).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can lasers remove old stretch marks?

    Lasers can be used on old stretch marks, but are not as effective as the treatment of newer stretch marks with a reddened appearance. A different type of laser called Fraxel, can be used to treat older stretch marks but is not as effective as treating newer ones.

  • How many sessions does it take to remove stretch marks?

    Depending on the depth and number of areas being treated, three to five appointments are scheduled about one month apart. This spacing of laser appointments allows collagen to fill in the stretch mark areas.

  • How long does laser stretch mark removal take?

    Each laser session is estimated to be between 30 to 90 minutes in length, depending on the size of the area where the stretch marks are located.

  • Can lasers remove stretch marks permanently?

    Stretch marks are a type of scar and cause permanent changes to the dermis. Lasers can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but do not permanently remove stretch marks.

  • Is laser stretch mark removal painful?

    Generally, laser treatment for stretch marks is not considered painful, but there may be some discomfort during the procedure. Topical numbing cream may be used before and after treatment to help relieve discomfort.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Stretch marks.

  2. Ud-Din S, McGeorge D, Bayat A. Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albaeJ Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016;30(2):211–222. doi:10.1111/jdv.13223

  3. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Laser/light therapy for stretch marks.

  4. Wollina U, Goldman A. Management of stretch marks (with a focus on striae rubrae)J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2017;10(3):124–129. doi:10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_118_17

By Blyss Splane
Blyss Splane is a certified operating room nurse working as a freelance content writer and former travel nurse. She works as a freelance content writer for healthcare blogs when she's not spending time with her husband and dog.

Originally written by Natalie Kita