How to Reduce Old Stretch Marks

by Jonathan Croswell ; Updated August 14, 2017

Stretch marks frequently develop on and around the stomach.

stomach image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Stretch marks are a form of scar tissue that develops when the body mass underneath the skin expands or contracts faster than the skin can adapt to. This form of scar tissue is often discolored at first, and can range from appearing in isolated spots to consuming large sections of skin. Plastic surgery is an option for eliminating stretch marks altogether, but it can be a costly procedure that may leave some scarring in its place. If you are looking to diminish the appearance of your stretch marks, there are several things you can do before resorting to surgery.

Moisturize the skin. Bodybuilding.com recommends using cocoa butter or products containing cocoa butter to soften the skin, infuse it with nutrients and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Moisturizer should be applied to the skin twice daily--ideally, once in the morning and once at night before bedtime.

Apply vitamin E oil to your stretch marks after showering. vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can clear toxins from your skin, leaving it healthy and vibrant. This can help treat the scar tissue present in your skin. Vitamin E oil can be extracted from gel capsules containing the oil, or you can purchase it from some pharmacies and grocery stores.

Clean your skin with a loofah or skin brush twice a week. This exfoliates the skin around and on your scar tissue, removing dead skin cells and diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. Exfoliating should only be done a couple times a week--any more than that, and you run the risk of damaging your skin.

Seek out a microdermabrasion treatment from a doctor or dermatologist, if topical home treatments fail to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Microdermabrasion uses a fast-rotating object to clear away skin cells from the top-layers of the skin. This also clears away stretch marks while stimulating your skin's creation of new, healthy cells to replace them. How effective this treatment is on your stretch marks depends on their severity, but some progress should be seen.

Consult a plastic surgeon about the possibility of plastic surgery. This is one of the most costly options, but it can fully eliminate your stretch marks and leave you with the skin you want.


  • While tretinoin creams have proven effective on some stretch marks, MayoClinic.com reports that these creams are only beneficial to scars less than six weeks old and isn't effective on old stretch marks.

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About the Author

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.