Stretch marks are a type of scarring on the skin formed when the dermis has been stretched continuously over time and the connective tissue becomes damaged. Stretch marks can be light colored, scar-like lines or raised, purple to pink welts; they appear during times when the body has grown quickly, such as during puberty, or when you have gained or lost weight quickly, such as during and after pregnancy. Some people are more likely to get stretch marks, with genetics playing a key role, but there are a few tricks to help get rid of colored stretch marks.
Getting Rid of Stretch Marks
Prevent the stretch marks. Obviously, preventing stretch marks from appearing is easier than healing them. Keeping your skin hydrated and supple, and drinking a lot of water can help you avoid stretch marks. Exfoliate your entire body daily with a gentle scrub and moisturize with an ultra-rich moisturizer like Bio-Oil or one enriched with cocoa butter.
Eliminate the stretch marks as early on as possible. Although stretch marks will fade over time, the longer you wait to treat them, the more likely it is that they will stick around for good.
Research your options before spending a fortune. Options include creams, scrubs, lasers and micro-dermabrasion. Decide what is right for you and what is within your budget.
Try less-expensive options before spending a fortune. Use drugstore varieties of creams and ointments, tinted body makeup and self-tanners to help eliminate the look of stretch marks. Retin-A (Tretinoin cream) can be applied topically to fade the color, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) increase cell regeneration by eliminating the top layer of skin.
Look for more drastic measures if these at-home remedies aren’t working for you. Micro-dermabrasion removes the top layer of the skin by sloughing dead cells away. Endomologie is a machine that uses rollers and suction to deeply massage stretch marks and increase circulation. Laser treatment can help light-colored stretch marks fade faster.
Alternative therapies such as seaweed wraps or olive oil have not been proven to be effective, so it is important to be realistic. Surgical procedures often are effective, but they can be costly. Do your research.
If you are pregnant or nursing, check the ingredients of any topical products.