How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

A woman with stretch marks on her hips

Stretch marks on your body are something no one wants, but sometimes they appear despite any prevention measures that you take. Pregnancy stretch marks are the most common kind among women, but bearing a new life inside your body isn’t the only thing that can cause this type of skin deformation.

According to statistics, over 70% of adolescent women (and 90% of those who were or currently are pregnant) and about 40% of adolescent men have stretch marks on some parts of their bodies. Of course, the vast majority of these people want to get rid of this condition, and there are plenty of products on the market that claim to be an effective help against these marks. But are they really?

In order to choose the right treatment method for this condition, you will need to understand what stretch marks are and why they occur. In essence, these marks are scars that occur when your skin gets abnormally stretched. The most common causes for this condition are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Growth spurt (occurs during puberty)
  • Sudden weight loss or gain

When your skin “overstretches” due to one of these reasons, its support structure breaks down. The visible signs of these ruptures are stretch marks. Unfortunately, treating this condition is extremely difficult as these scars appear deep within your skin and there are no cosmetic products efficient enough to remove them.

Stretch Mark Treatments That DON’T Work

  • Creams and similar topical products.
    Regardless of whether the cream in question boasts vitamin E, oils, or cocoa butter as an active ingredient, research indicates that it won’t be efficient against stretch marks. No topical product can prevent or effectively treat this condition because stretch marks come from within. No matter how hydrated and nourished your skin is from the outside, stretching from the inside will damage the layers of collagen and elastin in the tissues causing them to rupture.
  • Massages.
    There is no arguing the fact that a massage is a very pleasant experience, but it won’t affect the torn tissues under your skin. Note that “preventative massage” for stretch marks during the pregnancy is a huge risk for the baby.
  • Dermal rollers.
    The sellers of these roller devices claim them to produce an effect similar to laser therapy. However, this definitely isn’t true. Dermal rollers might be effective in fighting some skin conditions, but stretch marks are too big a problem for them. They don’t trigger the production of new elastin, which is the main factor for effective stretch marks treatment.
  • Microdermabrasion.
    There is a single study that claims microdermabrasion therapy managed to improve the appearance of stretch marks, but this treatment was dangerously aggressive (5 sessions per week for 12 weeks!). Consider the risks of such an aggressive approach if you want to take the chance with microdermabrasion. Note that even the results of this research don’t claim this method to be 100% effective as white stretch marks are unaffected by it.

Stretch Mark Treatments That MIGHT Work:

  • Laser treatment (IPL and PDL).
    Research indicates that using Intense Pulsed Light and Pulsed Dye Laser therapy offers clinical improvement in the appearance of stretch marks (after 5 sessions).
  • Tretinoin.
    This pharmaceutical treatment has proven to offer about 20% improvement. Note that it cannot be used during pregnancy or the breastfeeding period as it can harm the baby.
  • Peels.
    Chemical peels produce the results similar to non-abrasive laser treatments. Trichloracetic acid (TCA) peels, in particular, are considered to be the most effective. However, don’t forget that this treatment is safe only when applied by a qualified and experienced professional.

Stretch marks are a serious cosmetic problem, and getting rid of them completely may be impossible. Unfortunately, preventative treatments are equally weak against this condition. Working out may reduce the risk of stretch marks as regular stretching will “exercise” your tissues, so they won’t break easily. Don’t fall for the hype and promises of “wonder creams” and don’t waste your money on the products that cannot be effective by default.

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