Stretch Mark Removal

Stretch Mark Removal: Causes, Side Effects and Treatment Options

Many people hate how stretch marks look on their body, so they look for a stretch mark removal treatment to aid them in the relief that the anxiety from stretch marks brings them. Approximately 80% of woman have stretch marks. Stretch marks are scarring of the skin that have an off hue colouring to them. They are linear, appearing on the surface of the skin. Stretch marks, or striae distensae, are very common and are rarely a sign of a medical condition. They will often appear on the buttocks, abdomen, chest, armpits, thighs, upper arms, and breasts on individuals and are typically painless. They are seen commonly in those that have recently gained or lost weight, those that are obese, and those that are pregnant. Stretch marks can also occur due to growing too fast, during hormonal changes and during puberty. Stretch marks can be genetic, so a woman whose mother had stretch marks is more likely to get them if their mother had stretch marks after delivering her.

Other factors that can make an individual more susceptible to having stretch marks include those that are body building. A fast gain of muscle mass could potentially stretch the skin past it’s limits. Corticosteroids can lead to stretch marks if they are used heavily or an individual has used them for a long period of time. People with darker skin tones are less likely to have stretch marks. An individual may develop stretch marks from a nutritional deficiency as well.


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What are some stretch mark removal options?

There are many different options for stretch mark removal. Those include:

Fractional Laser

The fractional laser works well for a stretch mark removal option. This is an FDA approved treatment that is fast and easy. The treatment has a very high patient satisfaction rating, with the laser being precisely controlled. The process can work on any part of the body, and can treat new or old stretch marks. Both men and woman can equally use this treatment. Fractional laser benefits include little to no downtime, smoother looking skin, no surgery, and an overall improved skin appearance. Fractional laser treatment is a process that is very well tolerated by many individuals, and can work on both those that have light and dark skin tones. The process can be performed in as little as half an hour. For optimal results, 3 to 5 sessions are normally needed. Regular activities can be performed right after the treatment. Side effects are minimal, such as some temporary redness after the treatment that can last at most a few days. Infection is a very rare risk. The process has very little pain, but in many cases pain management is offered. In most cases, fractional laser treatments are highly effective in treating stretch marks. Both the epidermis and dermis are treated. An anesthetic cream will be applied to the skin for up to an hour, then washed off. A gliding gel will help the robotic hand piece glide over the skin. Usually within half an hour, the treatment is completed. A cooling machine is used to help keep the individual comfortable. Post treatment, the skin will be red in colour for up to 5 days. A mild sunburn sensation may be felt for about an hour after the treatment. When choosing a skin specialist to perform fractional laser treatments, make sure he or she has been properly trained to do the procedure, and always ask to see stretch mark removal before and after photos, as well as ask who, if anyone will be assisting with the procedure. Anyone that is assisting should have specialized training in fractional laser treatments. Per one treatment of laser treatment, the cost typically seen is an average of $600.

Retinoid Creams

Retinoid Creams can help to improve the appearance of a stretch mark, but usually only if they are still pink and red in colour. Those that are pregnant or nursing may wish to avoid this treatment until after pregnancy or nursing is over. Retinoid Creams have been designed to rebuild the collagen in the skin, which will help to make the skin look normal. However, this cream can irritate the skin and will not be effective on older stretch marks.

Blue Light Therapy

Blue light therapy is used to help remove stretch marks. Individuals will see an improvement in the skin, however, complete stretch mark removal is not an obtainable goal. This therapy works the best on newer stretch marks.


Microdermabrasion can be used for stretch mark removal. A hand held device will blow crystals onto the skin to polish the skin. The crystals will then be vacuumed up with the dead skin cells, which will reveal a newer looking skin. Microdermabrasion will reveal fresher looking skin, but will not completely fade away the stretch marks. Average cost of a microdermabrasion session is about $250.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels have been used to treat individuals with stretch marks. A chemical solution will be applied to the skin, which will remove the top layer of the skin. New skin cells are then activated, revealing fresher looking skin. Multiple chemical peels may be needed to see desired effects. This process will help to fade the stretch marks, however, it is good to note that chemical peels will not erase stretch marks all together. Cost of a chemical peel will vary depending on the type of peel, area of treatment and age of the stretch mark, but typically run anywhere from $75 to $600 or more per treatment.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is generally very expensive for stretch mark removal. A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, can remove stretch marks on the stomach. It is rarely recommended by skin specialists. It can lead to scarring of the skin and has a large number of risk associated with it. Cost associated with cosmetic surgery or the tummy tuck typically run anywhere from $3,000 and up.

How does one know which stretch mark removal option is best for an individual?

There are many factors that one has to look at when picking a stretch mark removal option. The age of the stretch marks will be the biggest factor to consider. Other factors to tell the skin specialist include how much one expects to pay for a treatment, as well as how many treatments the individual is desiring to have. Another factor will be what the expectations are for each treatment or what the expectations of what the skin should look like post treatment.

When looking for a solution for stretch mark removal, look to your skin specialist for help. He or she should be able to help decide which treatment is the most effective one for an individual. Do note that some procedures will simply fade the stretch mark, and not make it completely go away. Your skin specialist will most likely want to know when the stretch marks were first noticed, if cortisone skin creams are used on a regular basis, and what medications are being taken. When first consulting with the skin specialist for stretch mark removal, do ask what is likely causing the stretch marks, what treatment options are the best based on your scenario, and what the pros and cons of each treatment are.



11 replies
  1. Stacey
    Stacey says:

    I hate the stretch marks that I have. I could not have read this article at a better time. In two years we have decided that we are going to go to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary. I have stretch marks from gaining weight from my two pregnancies. I would love to be able to look sensational for my hubby again. But I cringe at the thought of wearing a swimsuit. I know that regardless he loves me but I just am not loving myself right now. I would much rather have a treatment done that is going to do the work that I want it to do. I would have to say that the fractional laser sounds the best. It will remove the old and the new stretch marks that my body has, and I will not have to worry about them just being faded away. Bravo on this article! It made me realize that I can get rid of these little monstrous scars for once and for all!

  2. olaf
    olaf says:

    I have had microdermabrasion done for my stretch marks. I will say that I was not completely satisfied with the results. I wanted them to completely fade away, however they are still there. Granted the stretch marks do not look as bad as they once did, but I was looking for a way to get rid of them completely. I guess that based on what I have read, the fractional laser sounds like it would be the way to go!

  3. Jody
    Jody says:

    Stretch marks are one of my biggest enemies. In college, I gained almost 100 pounds. And then two years ago, I lost most of it. So naturally I got quite a few stretch marks. I do not mind the ones on my stomach because I never let anyone see them on me. But I have the stretch marks on my upper arms and my thighs. Now those are the ones that people do see. I go swimming quite a bit in the summer and like to wear tank tops and short or skirts. But I just feel that people are judging me based on my stretch marks that are rarely unsightly. However, I am very proud of the journey I have made to lose the excess weight. So now I must find a way to make my skin look better. I have looked into some of these treatments before, but I would rather just do a treatment that I knew was going to work and completely get rid of the stretch marks. I refuse to do any surgery of any kind. I was interested in microdermabrasion but it seems like this option just fades them. I guess the laser is the way to go. I will be doing a bit of saving or seeing if my dermatologist has a payment plan so I can have this done. I deserve it after all from all the hard work I have put into losing the weight.

  4. pink
    pink says:

    I need to find a stretch mark removal solution that works 100%! I am so over these stretch marks, and with December just right around the corner, I figured it was time that I did something about these unsightly marks before summer rolls around again. I am going to schedule a consultation with my dermatologist to see what she recommends to me. I am glad that I read this article as it will give me some insight to treatments that she may talk about.

  5. many thanks!
    many thanks! says:

    Thanks for this article on stretch mark removal. I have had a few of the processes done, such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels, however, neither of them were for stretch marks. I will say that each process was nice and neither of them hurt. I found microdermabrasion to be rather soothing. I did not know that either of them could be used for stretch marks though to lighten them up.

  6. maxie
    maxie says:

    I must say that I found this article to be exactly what I was looking for. I have damaged my body so much over the years with excessive weight gain and yo-yo dieting. I finally found a sensible eating and exercise plan that helped me lose close to 150 pounds. And now I have decided that I needed to do something about my skin. So an early new year’s resolution for me to is make an appointment with a dermatologist to have something done about the stretch marks I have on my abs and my arms. I find them to be rather disguising and want them gone. I look forward to asking him or her about the fractional laser treatment. I like that it is an FDA approved process and is very safe. Plus it means a lot to me that many have been extremely satisfied with it. And there is no downtime and I can resume activities right away is a huge incentive. I am hoping that next year at this time my unsightly skin will be a thing of the past!

  7. crystababe
    crystababe says:

    The best stretch mark removal option for me was the fractional laser treatment. My best friend had it done and raved over it. I decided I wanted to look gorgeous like her so I opted to have the treatment done as well. It did not hurt at all and I am extremely satisfied with the results. Stretch marks now are a thing of the past for me. My skin looks incredible and it is hard to believe that a year ago, I had those ugly marks to remind me of a very painful time in my life emotionally. I urge anyone that is having issues with stretch marks to consult with a dermatologist to help them out. You can be as pleased as I am!

    • Nasma
      Nasma says:

      Please I would like to know what clinic you went to and what were the costs , and how many sessions you needed and how old were your stretch marks , thank you

  8. Patty S.
    Patty S. says:

    I have very little confidence with my skin right now. I cover up my thighs, back, and abs with clothing. I will not even let my husband of six months see me naked. How sad is that? I know that he loves me unconditionally, but I just feel that if he saw me naked with all these stretch marks, he would run away. I want to feel beautiful again and just want to find a stretch mark removal method that works for me. Has anyone had any of these treatments done and if so, what was the experience like? Were you satisfied with the results and would you recommend the treatment you had opted to have done to others?

    • Sara
      Sara says:

      Hi. I know how you are feeling. I will not allow my new husband to see me naked either :( it’s a horrible feeling to feel insecure with oneself. I have had a tummy tuck and it did not yield the results I had hoped for. I am wanting more stretchmarks removed even if they have to do them individually. I feel that the small scar from the excision would be better than the stretchmarks themselves and it would feel better to the touch. I am seeing a new surgeon on Thursday afternoon. I am hoping it goes well as I have no confidence in lasers etc.

  9. ginger
    ginger says:

    I am in the process of having the fractional laser treatment done for my stretch marks. I have had 2 sessions done and have 3 more to do. I am satisfied so far with the results and feel that once I have all 5 completed, my skin will look so much better. I schedule the treatment during my lunch break, and have the procedure done within 45 minutes. Then I am able to go back to my office job. I love that it is not taking time away from my job and that it really does not hurt at all. My doctor showed me before and afters and the results were great. I can not wait to be added to his portfolio book!


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