The skin is a rather impressive organ that protects us from a variety of harmful bacteria. Even though our skin is durable, it can be pretty fragile too. Stretch marks are a good example of the fragility of your skin. Women and men all over the world face this problem.
These dastardly marks that appear on your body often have a negative impact on your self-esteem and self-image. Therefore, many people search for effective ways to remove these marks.
This article covers everything you need to know about stretch marks and getting rid of them.
What are Stretch Marks?
A stretch mark is a scar that forms when your skin shrinks and stretches quickly. These instant changes tend to impact the elastin and collagen in your skin by rupturing it. Stretch marks appear when your skin begins to heal. Even though stretch marks mostly fade away over time, opting for stretch mark treatment can make them less noticeable quickly.
One thing you need to know is that these narrow bands don’t form on everyone’s skin. A fluctuation in your hormone levels tends to affect the development of stretch marks. Moreover, you might also form stretch marks due to genetics.
When Can You Develop Stretch Marks?
You are most likely to experience the development of stretch marks during these times:
- Growth spurts that occur during puberty
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Rapid muscle growth due to weight training
- Applying corticosteroid to your skin
- Having Marfan Syndrome or Cushing’s disease
Stretch marks can develop during various phases of life when the skin is subjected to rapid stretching, typically linked to sudden growth or weight changes. Commonly, they occur during puberty, as the body undergoes rapid growth spurts, and in pregnancy, where the skin stretches significantly to accommodate a growing baby. They are also associated with rapid weight gain or loss, muscle building, and certain medical conditions or treatments, like corticosteroid use, which can weaken the skin's elasticity.
The appearance of stretch marks is influenced by factors such as genetics, skin type, and hormonal changes, making some individuals more predisposed to them than others. While they initially may appear red, purple, pink, or dark brown, depending on your skin tone, over time, they typically fade to a lighter, more silvery color, becoming less noticeable.
What do Stretch Marks Look and Feel Like?
The color of your skin influences the prominence of these marks. At an early stage, stretch marks often feel slightly raised and itchy. With time, the color of your stretch marks fades away and the bands tend to sink beneath your skin. So, when you run your hands over a mature stretch mark, you may feel a slight depression.
Stretch marks, or striae, have a distinct appearance and texture that varies over time. Initially, they can present as raised, red, pink, purple, or dark brown lines, depending on your skin tone, appearing slightly inflamed and feeling slightly itchy or tender. This is when the skin's deeper layers have been stretched, and blood vessels are more visible. Over time, these marks gradually flatten and fade to a paler, more silvery or white hue, blending more with the surrounding skin.
In terms of texture, new stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be more sensitive to the touch, whereas older ones become softer and often have a slightly depressed, wrinkly texture, feeling like fine indents or ridges on the skin. The extent and appearance of stretch marks can vary greatly depending on the individual's skin type, the cause of the stretch marks, and how long they have been present.
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are just like any other scar; they tend to be permanent. However, luckily, there are a few treatments you can opt for to make your stretch marks less noticeable. Moreover, opting for a good stretch mark treatment option can also help you alleviate any discomfort or itch that you may experience.
One thing you need to know is that no single treatment works for everyone. In fact, some products might not work for some people at all. However, there’s no harm in trying.
Here are a few ways through which you can diminish stretch marks.
Stretch Mark Creams, Lotions, and Gels
There are many products that help with stretch marks by reducing their appearance. These products are somewhat effective at lightening your stretch marks. However, it is important to note that not all stretch mark removal creams are effective. If there’s one cream that is rather effective at getting rid of your stretch marks, it’s the Stretch Mark Cream by ML Delicate Beauty.
When trying on a stretch mark removal lotion, cream or gel, make sure to keep a few points in your mind.
#1: Apply them on Early Stretch Marks
If you plan on using creams, gels, or lotions, make sure to apply them on early. These types of treatments aren’t very effective on mature stretch marks. Once your stretch marks turn white and pale, there probably won’t be any point in treating them.
#2: Massage the Product
Creams, gels, or lotions won’t be effective unless they seep into your skin. The best way to allow the product to reach in the depths of your skin is to massage it gently.
#3: Be Patient
These products aren’t a one-time solution. You can’t expect your stretch marks to magically vanish overnight. When you start applying any stretch mark removal cream, make sure to do it every day for weeks to see the best results.
#4: Home Remedies
Another way you can try to get rid of your stretch marks is through – home remedies. Some of these remedies include massaging olive oil, cocoa butter, almond oil, or vitamin E onto your stretch marks. However, many researchers suggest that home remedies are not always effective at getting rid of these marks.
Tanning is not an effective way of hiding your stretch marks. In fact, when you tan, your stretch marks tend to become more evident. However, a self-tanner is a great way to camouflage both early and mature stretch marks. While this method can help you conceal these marks, they can’t help get rid of them.
#6: Prescription Medicine
Prescription medicine can be used to make your stretch marks less noticeable. There are two main ingredients you can use – tretinoin and hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid and tretinoin (a retinoid) can help lighten your stretch marks greatly. Moreover, you can also use retinol, another type of retinoid that can help fade your early stretch marks.
If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, make sure to check with your doctor before treating your stretch marks as many products contain ingredients that may be harmful to your baby such as retinol.
Some people also opt to get procedures from their dermatologists. The following procedures can help make your stretch marks less evident:
- Chemical peel
- Laser therapy
Dermatologists often use more than one procedure to give you the best results. For instance, your dermatologist can treat your stretch marks using a pulse dye laser and radiofrequency.
One thing you need to know is that there are some side effects of almost all procedures such as redness or swelling. However, this will disappear within a few hours or days. A certified dermatologist will not only help minimize the effects of the procedure, but they will also recommend the most suitable treatment for you according to your health, age, and the time period you’ve had your stretch marks.
Will My Stretch Marks Go Away When I Lose Weight?
One very common question that many people ponder over is whether their stretch marks will go away if they lose weight. Your stretch marks can reduce in severity and in some cases, even disappear completely. Even if your stretch marks don’t go away, there are many benefits of losing weight. If your stretch marks don’t vanish on their own or at least fade until they aren’t noticeable, there are high chances that the damage is way too deep and will take a long time to go away.
When you lose weight, the appearance of stretch marks may change, but they don't completely disappear. These marks occur when the skin stretches rapidly, causing the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear. Weight loss can make these marks less pronounced, especially if it's gradual and the skin has time to adapt.
However, they typically remain visible as slightly indented lines on the skin, possibly lighter than your regular skin tone. The extent to which they fade depends on factors like skin type, age, genetics, and the care given to the skin. While weight loss can improve their appearance, other treatments like topical creams, laser therapy, or microdermabrasion might be more effective in reducing their visibility.
Stretch marks aren’t very easy to get rid of, especially when they have progressed a little too much and gone white. You can try any of the above techniques to get rid of stretch marks. The most effective way to get rid of stretch marks is a body stretch marks cream, gel, or lotion.
Are you facing a stretch mark problem? Have you tried any of the above treatments? Let us know in the comments below!
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Christine Wright is a trusted beauty expert and an esthetician who is loved by editors and bloggers. She is a prolific writer on the topics of natural, chemical-free skin and body care. She also does reviews on store brand beauty products, with fairness and a real point-of-view. She is well-known of creating products for specific skin types, especially to those with ultra-sensitive faces.
Opinions expressed are those of the writer.
My pregnant wife is using stretch mark removal dermalmd serum for her stretch marks and it really works splendidly. I sometimes get small patches of irritated skin due to my psoriasis, and that i tried it on it and it worked better than any of the creams i’ve bought and been perscibed. I know everyone’s skin type is different but this stuff is awesome, we will be sure to order more.