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How To Deal With Stretch Marks

Updated January 15, 2021

Woman lounging at spa

If you think every scar tells a story, you would certainly want to know why we get stretch marks. These unpleasant streaks usually appear on the abdomen, the armpits, or the thighs and are reddish or purplish in color.

When you carefully observe the physical manifestation of these marks, you notice they are in the areas of the body that are expanding rapidly. As the dermal layer of the skin stretches out, it appears torn and cracked.

These marks can sometimes also appear as brown marks, depending on the tone of your skin. Some people also observe depressed streaks on their buttocks and waistline.

Are stretch marks permanent?

Stretch marks are scars you get when your skin tears due to rapid weight gain or other body changes. Once stretch marks appear, they can’t simply go away. However, the good news is that you can improve the appearance of stretch marks and blend these to the surrounding skin.

What causes stretch marks?

There are many reasons why stretch marks appear. However, common causes are pregnancy, puberty, or rapid weight gain. A fluctuating weight is a very common cause of stretch marks.

When a woman is pregnant, her skin is expanding at a rapid rate, especially after the sixth or seventh month. That’s the time when most women observe visibly noticeable stretch marks. This is why many expectant moms consider reducing their food intake. However, you should not change your diet without consulting your doctor. Moreover, when there are options like retinoids that may improve the marks by building collagen to thicken the skin.

Are you looking for the best cure for treating your stretch marks? Here are five things to know about stretch marks treatments.

How to deal with stretch marks

Although you may not be able to prevent stretch from appearing, there are several ways to correct this skin condition. Intense pulsed light therapy, platelet-rich plasma therapy, microdermabrasion, and microneedling therapy, are a few popular ways of improving the appearance of stretch marks.

There are many cases of successful stretch marks treatment by means of a pulse dye laser, which is a common laser that’s often used in dermatology for treating vascular lesions including cherry angiomas and port-wine stains. They are a popular treatment for striae rubra. As the name suggests, these marks are red in color.

However, once these marks mature and become silver or white, they are more stubborn to treat. Doctors believe that nano-fractional radiofrequency therapy is successful for treating striae alba, and according to published reviews, radiofrequency in collaboration with other treatment methods such as platelet-rich plasma therapy or microneedling are beneficial. However, it is sometimes difficult to compare the effectiveness of all the lasers since each paper employs various protocols and different treatments.

Apart from using natural remedies to deal with stretch marks, here are a few tested ways to enhance the appearance of stretch marks.

Retinoid

The topical vitamin A derivative boosts new collagen production. According to a 2014 study published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, affected individuals who used retinoid daily for over 16 weeks, successfully reduce the appearance of red or new marks. Nevertheless, don’t use it if you are pregnant.

Using A Rich Cream or Lotion

Another potent way of getting rid of striae is to use a petroleum-based moisturizer that effectively forms a protective seal over the skin. This treatment results in healing the skin for minimizing stretch marks.

Fractional Lasers

Several dermatologists recommend treating stretch marks with a fractional laser, such as the Fraxel Dual. You will observe notable results after four or five treatments over the course of three months. This treatment method makes stretch marks almost invisible and reduces their appearance to a significant percent.

Microneedling

Microneedling with radiofrequency can poke tiny holes in the skin for boosting healing, to help you get rid of all abnormal scars. Moreover, a radio-frequency laser heats underneath the skin and builds collagen to tighten stubborn marks. This technology is particularly useful for treating stretch marks in patients with dark skin since there are no chances of triggering hyperpigmentation.

Using a Self-Tanner

You can also benefit from a self-tanner if your skin is fair to medium. Thanks to a self-tanner, you can hide unpleasant striae. The best part is that there is no smell or irritation.

Natural ways to remove striae (stretch marks)

Like all scars, stretch marks are permanent. However, natural remedies and other treatments can make them less noticeable and alleviate the itch. According to researchers, all products containing hyaluronic acid or Centella prevent stretch marks. Our skin naturally contains hyaluronic acid while Centella is an herb.

There are other natural products that help reduce stretch marks and minimize their appearance if not make them disappear forever. However, it requires strict discipline and a regular skincare routine.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is a safe home remedy for reducing striae. It is safe for pregnant women to use throughout their pregnancy. The best time to apply it is before going to bed at night. Massage it well so that your skin absorbs the lotion completely. With regular use over a prolonged period, you will notice that the stretch marks have faded away.

Lemon Juice and Cucumber

Thanks to the natural acidity of lemon juice, you can successfully reduce scar formation whereas the soothing effect of cucumber juice leaves the skin fresh. Take cucumber juice and lime juice in equal parts, and mix them together. Apply this mixture on the scars so that your skin soaks it up.

Castor Oil

Stretch marks have a dried and shriveled look. You can enhance their appearance with moisture and nourishment. A great way to nourish stretch marks is to smoothen them by applying castor oil. However, the remedy only works when you use it regularly.

5 facts about stretch marks

1. Miracle Products Don’t Promise Overnight Results

Many of today’s heavily advertised miracle creams or lotions do little to prevent or reduce stretch marks. However, it never hurts to use a high-quality product that is manufactured by a trusted brand.

Creams, moisturizers, and lotions that contain active ingredients such as tretinoin can help to improve the appearance of your stretch marks. This derivative of Vitamin A is often prescribed for reversing aging and treating acne.

Tretinoin boosts collagen remodeling to heal scars. Since stretch marks are nothing but a form of scars, tretinoin helps a great deal in improving the width and length of these marks.

When you looking to buy products, make sure you choose a brand that uses botanical ingredients such as onion bulb extracts. This ingredient has shown promising results and is a must-try option to treat stretch marks.

Keeping your skin hydrated is another potent way to prevent these marks. Use premium-quality moisturizers to massage your belly area that contains shea butter and cocoa butter as major ingredients.

2. Laser Treatment

Laser treatments are the most effective treatment method to correct stretch marks. However, make sure you get the procedure done by a professional and trained doctor who uses a microfine laser for reaching deep inside into the sublayers of the skin.

The laser procedures boost your body’s natural healing process and successfully remove the damaged tissues. The body rebuilds the skin by using fresh collagen. The resulting effect is improved skin color and texture that minimizes the visibility of stretch marks.

Fractional resurfacing lasers using micro-needling are able to build collagen for enhancing the skin’s textures and make it thicker. Although stretch marks never fade out completely, they are less visible as they begin to appear more similar to the surrounding skin.

3. PRP

Another effective stretch mark treatment involves injecting platelet-rich plasma into the affected area directly or to use PRP with microneedling. PRP boosts tissue repair, cell growth, and collagen production and is actually a high concentration of cellular compounds from your own blood.

If you choose PRP for scar reduction, the stem cells, and growth factors and function together to reinforce skin cells that are beneath the superficial layer of skin. This method targets hyperpigmentation, skin laxity, and is a potent way to improve the overall skin texture.

The treatment method also improves sagging and makes the skin look taut and smooth.

4. Older Stretch Marks Can Be Stubborn

Striae rubra or newly formed stretch marks appear as raised red lines. Doctors believe that it is easier to treat younger stretch marks than older lines. A surgeon, dermatologist or a vascular surgeon employ a pulsed-dye or NG-YAG laser for targeting the blood vessels. The deeper and wider stretch marks with redness and pigmentation have the best chances of improvement.

Over time, stretch marks gradually fade to white-ish and thinner lines. These are referred to as striae alba and are notoriously hard to remove. However, there are always exceptions. People who have thick stretch marks can be reduced to thin lines and a depressed stretch mark is sometimes made flat.

5. Stretch Marks Never Disappear Completely

Not to scare you away, but there is no magic cream or treatment that can make these marks disappear for good. Nevertheless, you will be surprised to see how you can improve their appearance by getting rid of the pigmentation and stimulating new collagen and elastin production.

It may take several months to treat your stretch marks, but you can expect dramatic results once you choose the best stretch mark treatment.

Bottom line

It is always best to prevent and manage stretch marks by minimizing your weight gain and moisturizing regularly. For treating stretch marks, there is a wide range of creams and lotions that are specifically manufactured for reducing and stretch mark visibility.

Striae may also develop owing to genetic factors. It is best to consult a professional dermatologist or surgeon who can recommend the best possible treatment to help you determine the best course of action.