Skincare

Best Treatments For Stretch Marks

If you are looking for a stretch marks cream, there are a number of self-proclaimed best products. A number of creams and lotions are available which reduce the stretch marks. But how to know which treatment works best for stretch marks?

There are a number of home remedies, which may lighten the appearance of these marks. Some of these are herbal products, tanners, and hyaluronic acid based products.

Stretch marks are medically called striae distensae. They are so common that nearly 88% of the population have them. There are so many reasons, which cause stretch marks such as puberty, pregnancy, hormonal shifts, weight loss etc. These marks usually lighten with time and disappear. Sometimes they are stubborn and are permanently visible even after a long time. Here is when you need a remedy for stretch marks.

This article will explain stretch marks and the best way to reduce their appearance with easy treatment options.

How are stretch marks formed?

Pregnancy and sudden weight loss or gains are the biggest reasons for stretch marks. We all know that skin has a natural elasticity in it. When the skin stretches or shrinks due to any process (pregnancy, weight fluctuation), it interrupts the body’s production of two proteins called collagen and elastin. This causes a skin scarring called stretch marks.

If you look at them, stretch marks look like discolored lines in the skin. It rarely has a reddish or purple tinge in it. Some people also complain about itchy skin and a different pattern of skin on stretch marks.

People of all age groups can have stretch marks. The most common areas of its prevalence are buttocks, hips, thighs, or breasts. These stretch marks usually show up while

  • Passing puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Intense weight training

Some people are also likely to get stretch marks when they use creams or ointments that contain steroids for a long term. That is why steroids are never recommended as a long-term treatment plan for any disease or condition. In extreme cases, the stretch marks are also linked with Cushing’s disease and Marfan syndrome.

Is there a clinical treatment for stretch marks?

If not treated, stretch marks tend to become less visible gradually. But they are skin scars, they never completely disappear. A dermatologist can treat stretch marks by using a number of helpful ointments or creams. The most commonly prescribed chemical agent for stretch marks is tretinoin, which is a type of retinoid.

It is proven by research that tretinoin is helpful to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, it works best for the early appearance of stretch marks. It may not work equally effective on mature marks. For mature stretch marks, there are several treatment options available such as:

  • Laser treatment (pulse dye)
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Radiofrequency treatment
  • Chemical peeling of skin

It is necessary to know that selection of treatment for stretch marks depends upon their reason of formation. A dermatologist suggests the best treatment after examing the skin physically. In severe cases, he may suggest a combination or mixture of any recommended techniques.

Home treatments for stretch marks

There are a number of home-based natural solutions for stretch marks. They reduce the appearance of stretch marks and sometimes act better than medicines. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has found evidence that proves it.

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that everyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding must consult a doctor before using anything on her own. The reason is that many times these stretch marks lightening products contain ingredients that may harm the baby, such as retinol. Popular remedies for stretch marks are as follows.

Topical ointments (creams, lotions, and gels)

The best result is achieved from the topical ointments in any form. They are easy to find and usually don’t require a prescription for purchase. There may be a number of available options, if you happen to check them. Remember that no single products work on everyone or don’t work on everyone.

A person may get the best results from a cream that seems useless if another person uses it. That is why you have to experiment between a numbers of them in order to find one functional product. Additionally, it takes so much time to work. People lose hope in a week or two whereas these creams and lotions must be used everyday for several weeks for visible results.

Herbal remedies for stretch marks

  • Natural products

As per American Academy of Dermatology, there is no research to support that natural remedies lighten stretch marks. But many user reviews tell that using natural products like cocoa butter, olive oil, almond oil, or vitamin E makes the stretch marks fade over the time. Unlike lotions and creams, these herbal products are safe and easy to use.

  • Self-tanner

You may notice that tanning doesn’t help in stretch marks. They don’t tan and even if a person gets a tan, these marks are unaffected. Rather they become more visible in tan. If someone uses a self-tanning lotion, it may help can help to disguise stretch marks. These self-tanners are available easily in the cosmetic stores and online.

Follow these guidelines if you are planning to use a self-tanning lotion.

  1. Try to exfoliate your skin before applying anything. It will remove the dead cells and the thick skin areas i.e. knees, ankles, elbows will need extra care while exfoliation.
  2. Apply the tanner on a completely dry skin. Never apply it to the wet skin.
  3. After applying the tanner, wash your hands with soap. Do not let the tanning product to be on your hands. It may dye your palms orange, if not washed.
  4. If you want a more natural look, blend the tanning product in areas such as ankles, feet, wrists, and hands. It will give you a naturally tan appearance.
  5. When you are applying tan to the thick skin areas i.e. knees, ankles, and elbows, take extra care. These areas tend to absorb more tan. If you aren’t using a diluted tan here, you may get the extremely tan skin.
  6. After tanning, let the skin settle for at least 10 minutes before you dress up. Do not wear tight clothes and don’t do any activity that may make you sweat.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the skin. The research tells that it is helpful to make stretch marks less prominent. It means that any product that has hyaluronic acid in it will help you to get rid of stretch marks. To add here, hyaluronic acid is not suitable for everyone. Consult a dermatologist to know a customized treatment plan by hyaluronic acid, if you want to use it for stretch marks.

How to prevent stretch marks?

Many people suggest that using natural products may help to prevent stretch marks. These products include almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil and vitamin E oil or creams applied directly to the skin. However, The American Academy of Dermatology has no scientific evidence on the efficacy of this preventive aid for stretch marks.

For most of the people that stretch marks are permanent. The may fade over time but never completely go away. In the majority of cases, they disappear after a prolonged treatment. Consult the nearest dermatologist to discuss your treatment plan for stretch marks .

 

 

Areeba Hussain

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. She is an author of six research papers and currently working as a research associate in a Research Lab.

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