How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
Stretch Marks occur when our bodies undergo a sudden and rapid change in size.
They’re commonly seen during pregnancy, for example, or during growth spurts through puberty. Some people also experience stretch marks due to rapid weight gain.
90% of women will get stretch marks at some point during their pregnancy, so these natural lines are nothing to be embarrassed out. However, that hasn’t stopped men and women from constantly searching for natural stretch mark remedies.
So how do you get rid of stretch marks?
Common Ways To Remove Stretch Marks
Today, we’re going to list the most common and effective ways to remove stretch marks from the body.
Use a Moisturizer
Stretch marks occur when your skin stretches to a point where certain inner layers become torn. In some cases, you can avoid this tearing by using a moisturizer. Moist, supple skin is less likely to tear than dry, cracking skin – which is why hydration has a lot to do with stretch marks.
Try applying a moisturizing lotion directly to your stretch marks. Or, take a proactive approach and apply lotion where you think stretch marks are going to occur.
Even applying a moisturizer to old stretch marks can diminish their appearance.
What’s the best moisturizer to use? One 2010 study from India found that the best moisturizers contain all natural ingredients. Avoid chemical-filled over-the-counter moisturizers and make your own stretch mark-fighting moisturizer out of wheat germ oil, olive oil, and aloe vera. That study showed that this moisturizing blend was the most effective way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Retin-A is most often used to treat acne. However, a recent study from the University of Michigan has showed that Retin-A can be equally as effective at treating acne.
That study showed that people who used Retin-A on new stretch marks were able to sharply reduce the appearance of those stretch marks.
Retin-A is simply a topical form of retinoic acid. It boosts collagen production in the skin, helping to improve elasticity, remove cellulite, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and remove stretch marks.
Another University of Michigan study also showed that Retin-A removes liver spots, so it’s an all-in-one skin treatment.
There are three important things to know about Retin-A: first, you should absolutely not take any form of retinoic acid if you’re pregnant or nursing. Second, you’ll need a prescription to get it in most parts of the world. And third, you’ll need to limit your exposure to the sun while using Retin-A (at least in the treated areas). Retin-A makes your skin more likely to burn.
Apply Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is found in a number of different skin care products – especially moisturizers. It’s available over-the-counter, although you’ll need a prescription for formulas with high concentrations of glycolic acid.
Gylcolic acid works by improving the overall elasticity of your skin. It’s an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA. You may recognize AHAs from their other most common usage: in chemical skin peels.
Just like with Retin-A, you’ll need to keep treated skin out of the sun after applying glycolic acid. Unlike Retin-A, however, glycolic acid is safe to use if you’re pregnant or nursing.
A Combination of Glycolic Acid and Retin-A
What’s better than using glycolic acid or Retin-A? Using both creams together. Some people will treat their skin with Retin-A prior to applying glycolic acid.
Just remember that you should not take Retin-A or any form of retinoic acid while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s been shown to cause severe birth defects.
Use Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is one of the world’s most popular stretch mark cures. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least effective methods on this list.
Vitamin E oil hasn’t held up very well in studies. One 2000 study showed that vitamin E oil was only effective at treating women who had previously suffered stretch marks in pregnancy, and that “there is no evidence of benefit for general use.”
That being said, vitamin E oil does provide gentle moisturizing and nourishing benefits to the skin. It’s also pure and natural.
Some people will combine vitamin E oil with a “carrier lotion”. Add vitamin E oil to your favorite moisturizer, for example. This can help it spread more easily and increase your chances of removing stretch marks.
Potato juice is probably the cheapest stretch mark removal method on this list. Potatoes are rich with essential fatty acids and phytochemicals like carotenoids and polyphenols. Potatoes also contain tons of vitamins and minerals – including vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
To apply potato juice to your skin, simply cut a potato into thick slices and rub the slices gently over your stretch marks. Make sure the juice is evenly applied over all your stretch marks. Leave the juice on your skin for 10 minutes, then wash it off with lukewarm water.
Apply Egg Oil or Egg Whites
Egg oil – also known as egg yolk oil or ovum oil – is extracted from the yolks of chicken eggs. It’s packed with fatty acids, including omega-3s, and it’s found in all sorts of different skin care products.
When used regularly from the first trimester, egg oil has shown some powerful benefits: it doesn’t just reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It prevents stretch marks from appearing at all!
If egg oil doesn’t work for you, then some women have had success using the other part of the egg: egg whites. Egg whites are packed with vitamin A and collagen, making them an excellent treatment for stretch marks. Simply apply egg white to your stretch marks, let it dry for 20 minutes, then wash it off.
Try Essential Oils Like Lavender, Rose and Myrrh
When it comes to essential oils, scientific evidence has been mixed. There are plenty of essential oils supporters out there, but there has yet to be a peer-reviewed study on how essential oils treat stretch marks.
Nevertheless, a quick search online will reveal lots of anecdotal evidence in support of essential oils. The most popular essential oils for removing stretch marks include:
Take a Vitamin C Supplement
All of the stretch mark removal methods listed so far have been topical treatments. Tackle your stretch marks from both the inside and outside of your body by taking a vitamin C supplement.
That’s why some dermatologists recommend raising your vitamin C intake to 500mg per day. To put that number in perspective, the U.S. Food and nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends a daily value between 70mg to 100mg of vitamin C per day, with the safe upper limit being 2000mg per day.
You can also apply vitamin C in the form of a moisturizing cream. Sometimes, doctors will recommend vitamin E creams for stretch mark treatment.
Try Laser Treatment
Cosmetic laser technology has vastly improved over the past few years. Today’s cosmetic lasers can safely remove all different types of skin imperfections: from stretch marks to wrinkles to tattoos.
Pulsed dye laser treatments are particularly popular for treating stretch marks. One study showed that lasers set at 585nm showed the best results removing stretch marks in women who had recently given birth.
Laser treatment is particularly effective on lighter-skinned people, or on anyone who has a high contrast between the color of their stretch marks and the pigment of their skin.
For older, more ingrained stretch marks, try undergoing fractional laser treatment. This laser treatment will smooth the surface of your skin, although it can leave painful scars behind. Only undergo fractional laser treatment when dealing with extreme stretch marks.
Laser treatments are also the most expensive ways to remove stretch marks: pulsed dye laser treatments typically cost around $450 per treatment, while fractional laser treatment costs around $1000 per treatment. In both cases, you’ll need about 3 to 6 sessions.
Cut Out Stretch Marks With Surgery
If you’re extremely self-conscious about your stretch marks, then surgery might be a valid option. Some women undergo abdominoplasties to remove stretch marks. During an abdominoplasty, the doctor tightens the tummy while also physically cutting away stretch marks from the skin.
Abdominoplasties can be life-threatening. They also require 2 to 4 weeks of downtime following surgery, and 3 to 6 months before you’re fully healed.
Some women will undergo multiple types of cosmetic surgery after a pregnancy, like a breast lift, tummy tuck, and liposuction treatment at the same time. If you’re already undergoing one or more of these procedures, then you may want to ask your doctor to remove your stretch marks.
It’s important to note that insurance typically doesn’t cover stretch mark removal surgery, as it’s considered an elective cosmetic procedure.
Drink More Water
Our skin, like all organs in the body, performs better when it’s hydrated. Dehydrated skin loses its elasticity. Drink more water, and you may be surprised at how less likely you are to develop stretch marks.
Looking for the best ways to get rid of stretch marks? The wide collection of natural remedies and cosmetic tips listed above should help you permanently remove stretch marks from your body!