For most people, stretch marks are one of those unfortunate facts of life. Whether stretch marks arise due to pregnancy or substantial weight gain or loss, there is little that can be done to reverse them. You can, however, help prevent them from getting worse.
Maintain a healthy diet to help keep stretch marks at bay. According to the Mayo Clinic, one way to reduce the likelihood of a stretch mark's occurrence is to maintain a normal weight, which has other health benefits as well. When you either lose or gain weight in a very short period of time, the skin loses elasticity and the result can be stretch marks. Hence, slow and steady is the way to go when approaching weight loss. If you are pregnant, work with your doctor in terms of diet plan to ensure you are gaining weight at appropriate intervals. While this isn't a full guarantee that you won't get stretch marks, it can help pace the number of stretch marks you do get.
Apply potions and lotions made especially for stretch marks; this is also thought to help reduce their unsightly appearance. When stretch marks first appear, they can look red and angry. In time, however, they may fade to a silvery white color. Retinol-containing creams may help improve the appearance of newer stretch marks (six weeks old or less). However, because retinol is contraindicated in pregnancy, consult your doctor as to when you may apply a cream like this. Creams containing cocoa butter or vitamin E also work by helping to rebuild collagen and make the marks less noticeable.
Schedule an appointment for microdermabrasion with a dermatologist or esthetician. Dr. Audrey Kunin of DermaDoctor also recommends microdermabrasion--which literally polishes skin with crystals to reveal new skin--to help aid in the process of making stretch marks more unsightly.
Lana Russo has been an editor since 2001. She served as associate editor at the Sterling MacFadden Partnership in New York, as senior editor at Equal Opportunity Publications in Melville, N.Y., and as managing editor at Advanced Research Press in Setauket, N.Y. Russo is a yoga teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Long Island University.