Stretch Marks

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are red, purple or pink indented streaks on the body.  They are commonly found on the abdomen, breast, thighs, buttocks, and upper arms.  They will fade to a white or gray over time.  They are commonly found in ladies that are pregnant, those who have gained weight,  those with certain diseases or conditions and medication uses, such as corticosteroids.   During growth spurts, teens may often notice stretch marks appearing on their bodies as well.  Females tend to get stretch marks more.  If one has a family history of stretch marks, they are more apt to get them.   They will fade over time and are harmless.

Stretch Mark Treatment

Stretch marks will be examined by a doctor at an appointment.  A review of medical history will be done and the doctor will be sure to ask about signs and symptoms, as well as when you first noticed this condition.  More test may be needed if the doctor feels there could be an increase in cortisol production.

There are many treatments that one can do for stretch marks.  In the doctors office, one may opt to use laser therapy. Intense wavelengths of light will be used, which will stimulate the collage growth. The location of the stretch marks, the skin color and the age of the patient will help the dermatologist determine what laser treatment is used.  Types of laser treatment include fractional laser and vascular laser. Three to six treatments will be needed for vascular laser, while up to three treatments are needed for fractional laser.

Microdermabrasion is often used on stretch marks.  A hand held device will blow fine crystals onto the skin. They will polish the surface, which will remove the top layer of the skin. Microdermabrasion will help with growth of more elastic skin.

Tretinoin cream can also be used to improve stretch marks, as long as they are pink in color.  However, if one is pregnant, it is best to not use this cream.  Tretinoin will help to rebuild collagen which in turn will make the stretch marks appear to be normal skin.

Using glycolic acid on stretch marks can help to increase collagen production, which makes the skin elastic.  It is an over the counter treatment, however, if a stronger version is needed, a dermatologist can prescribe one.

While there is no proof that this does work, many have found success with vitamin E. One can break open a capsule  and apply to the skin.  It can also be mixed with a carrier oil.  Do note that it is often most effective in woman who have stretch marks that have been pregnant before.

Stretch Mark Prevention

To prevent stretch marks from forming, maintain a healthy weight.  During pregnancy, eat healthy and have a workout regime in place to keep a healthy weight and to keep weight from going on too quickly.  Some are also firm believers that moisturized skin will not get as many stretch marks due to the fact that the skin is less likely to tear and stretch.  Some also feel that applying essential oils to the skin will help to eliminate stretch marks.  Some to try out are Rose, Lavender, Myrrh, Helichrysum, Geranium, and Frankincense. Increasing your vitamin C intake can also help to prevent stretch marks.  You can take it orally and as an added preventative measure, apply it topically to the skin.


7 replies
  1. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    Does one think that coconut oil would be good for stretch marks? I apply coconut oil every day to my skin to keep it hydrated and have never seen one stretch mark. I had my first child last year and was lucky enough to not get any stretch marks. Granted, I am a small person to begin with and when I was almost ready to pop, a coworker told me that I looked like she did when she was only 3 months pregnant. Maybe I did not get the stretch marks because I did not gain a lot of weight with my pregnancy?

  2. Hather
    Hather says:

    I have stretch marks on my stomach, my thighs and my arms. I used to weight about 260 pounds and now I am down to 150. I know that they are a part of me and while others find them ugly, I see them as a reminder to how heavy I was and how far I have come in my battle to get healthy and lose weight. I do apply a high quality moisturizer daily and am going to look into getting a prescription cream from my dermatologist to help them go away further.

  3. Kendace
    Kendace says:

    I have stretch marks from when I had my four children. They do not really bother me. Sure they are unsightly but they are mostly on my stomach, which I do not bare anymore. I guess when I look at them, I just think of the four wonders that I have and cherish them because it was something that I created.

  4. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I have applied cocoa butter every day of my pregnancy and I still got stretch marks. I find them to be ugly but they have started to fade. I did not know that there were treatments in the dermatologist office for stretch marks. I just assumed that once you got them, there was no way to get rid of them. I think that I will consider one of these treatments, and make an appointment with my dermatologist soon. I do want to have more kids, but figured that if I could weed out these stretch marks, I will be good to go for the next child.

  5. Clara T.
    Clara T. says:

    Wonderful article on stretch marks. I have some and while I find them unsightly, I know that they are just a part of life. I have applied an over the counter cream on them and they seem to be diminishing some. I know that I will never fully get rid of them. I have them on my stomach and thighs. The stomach ones do not bother me so much because I never wear shirts that show my stomach as I have a pooch there. But the ones on my thighs just make me feel like I have all the attention drawn there when I wear a swimsuit. For me, it is like quickly undress and hop into the pool so no one can see and then have a towel right there to quickly cover up. I may have to consider applying vitamin C to them, does this work on stretch marks that are already formed?

  6. Martin
    Martin says:

    I am a body builder and have stretch marks on my arms because I gained a lot of weight and muscle mass there. They do not really show up on my skin though as I am very tanned. I do feel that this helps to hid the redness, pinkness or purpleness of them. I wonder for those that want to cover them if they could use a self tanner? This might make them not appear as bad? And a tip that I have found that a dermatologist actually gave me was to keep the skin hydrated and this could help to either prevent them or make them not appear to be as bad.


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