Stretch marks are the result of rapid body changes over a short period of time. The end result is (often unpleasant) scar like indentations on the body. They are red to begin with but do fade over time. These stretch marks, or striae, are most often seen on overweight or pregnant individuals and can occur on the back, upper legs, under arms and abdomen.
Despite being relatively harmless, they can be unsightly and in the same way people look to remove moles or other skin conditions various cures/treatments have been created for stretch marks.
Treatment for Stretch Marks
There are 3 main categories when it comes to stretch mark treatment. Home remedies, pharmaceutical options and surgery type treatments. For each of the methods detailed below be sure to consult with a skin care expert about any side effects before trying it, especially with the homemade treatments.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
There are literally dozens of “home remedies” which are designed to deal with the issue of stretch marks. The most popular include:
- Sugar Scrubs
Sugar is combined with lemon and an oil to create a sand type mixture. This is applied directly to the stretch marks and works by exfoliating the skin to encourage the production of new skin tissue.
- Coconut oil
Praised for years over it’s benefits coconut oil is now being used on skin as a treatment for stretch marks. The coconut oil is rich in fatty acids which are beneficial to skin, so applied directly the theory is that it will help with skin reparation.
- Cocoa/ Shea Butter
Emollients like Cocoa and Shea butter are used to help repair the collagen and elastin within the skin tissue. These can also be applied directly onto the skin in an effort to repair the damage and promote regrowth.
- Aloe Vera
In a similar way to coconut oil, aloe vera has often been associated with skin health. It’s used to soften and moisturize the skin in an effort to help reduce any redness in stretch marks.
All of these home remedies are unproven to have any dramatic effect on stretch marks. If you find one that works then stick with it, but take any recommendations with a pinch of salt.
Topical Medication Treatments
Some over the counter medications have been shown to help reduce stretch marks when applied. These include:
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A has been proven to help promote healthy skin and create collagen. Taken either as a capsule supplement or used in various creams and oils you may be able to speed the fading process with this treatment.
Tretinoin is made from an extract of Vitamin A. Applied directly as an oil or lotion to the stretch marks it work by transferring through the skin and helping collagen production. This has been proven to reduce stretch marks.
Pharmaceutical options have been shown to help fade stretch marks, but don’t expect anything drastic. You may see some results or you may not, there isn’t yet a true cure available.
By using lasers to target the red blood vessels directly the Pulse Dye Laser Treatment has proved that it can reduce the redness in stretch marks. This treatment won’t truly cure any stretch marks, but it will help blend them in so they are less noticeable. Unfortunately the laser surgery can take a long time and is fairly expensive.
Stretch Mark Treatments
Stretch mark treatments are being created every year, but there are a lot of unproven solutions out there. Be sure to talk to experts and get advice before spending your money on something which won’t do anything. Before using any treatments, consult a skin care specialist who will be able to advise you about any side effects.