Are you wondering how to get rid of stretch marks? Stretch marks, technically known as striae, are pink, reddish or purplish indented streaks, often found on the belly, breasts, upper arms and thighs, usually related to pregnancy or weight gain. Over time, they often fade to white, grayish or silvery-colored. They usually do not disappear completely, though; once you have them, they will probably always be visible if you look closely. Women get them more often than men, but men can get them, too.
Stretch marks are harmless and don’t require any medical treatment. Many people want to get rid of them, though, because they don’t like the way they look, especially if they are very noticeable. We’ll tell you about the various treatments for stretch marks as well as about the best anti-stretch mark cream we’ve found. First, though, we’ll tell you what causes stretch marks and what you can do to prevent them.
Stretch marks are generally caused by skin stretching, often due to rapid or significant weight gain. Pregnancy frequently leads to stretch marks in women, due to stretching of the skin as well as hormonal changes. Obese people may develop stretch marks. Weight lifters sometimes develop them, especially on the arms. Teens may develop them during growth spurts.
Some medications, including corticosteroids, increase the likelihood of developing stretch marks. Certain illnesses, such as Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and adrenal gland disorders may also cause stretch marks.
There is not much you can do to prevent stretch marks. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing them is to maintain a healthy weight (1). Women need to gain weight during pregnancy, though, and the weight gain by necessity will be fairly rapid.
Stretch marks will usually fade some in time, but if their appearance still bothers you, there are treatments that can make them less visible. Treatments usually do not get rid of stretch marks completely, however.
It is important to have realistic expectations before beginning any type of treatment for stretch marks.
Tretinoin cream – This cream works best on recent stretch marks, those that are just a few months old and are still red or pink in color. It works by rebuilding collagen, so stretch marks look more like normal skin. It’s not safe for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women and you shouldn’t get pregnant while using it. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or may become pregnant, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
Laser therapy – Depending on the type of laser therapy used, this treatment can rebuild collagen, increase the amount of elastin and/or stimulate the production of melanin in the skin. The best type of laser therapy for you will depend on the location of your stretch marks, how long you’ve had them, and the color of your skin. Multiple treatments are usually required. Here is more on laser removal of stretch marks.
Microdermabrasion – This treatment involves abrading the skin with tiny crystals, essentially sanding away imperfections by removing the top layer of the skin. This stimulates the growth of new, healthier skin. It is most often used to treat older stretch marks. As you might imagine, you may experience some pain or discomfort during and after the procedure.
These treatments are all about equally effective (1).
The best stretch mark cream we’ve found is Insta Natural Stretch Mark and Scar Cream. It contains a number of natural ingredients, including vitamin C, grapeseed oil and evening primrose oil, which nourish and heal damaged skin. It reduces the appearance of stretch marks, is affordable and doesn’t require a prescription from a doctor. People that tried it rated it 4.8 out of five stars. To learn more about our favorite stretch mark cream, just follow the link.
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(1)Mayo Clinic: Stretch Marks