When we think of scarring, we often attribute it to a deep cut, stubborn pimple, harsh burn, or some other kind of tangible wound. And yet, some scars appear gradually, without any sudden impact. Indeed, stretch marks, also called striae, are scars, too. These marks can appear when one’s body experiences rapid growth. This is why stretch marks are common during pregnancy and puberty. Of course, stretch marks can also result from weight gain, surgery, bodybuilding, steroid use, and genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome, which can weaken one’s skin and lead to abnormal growth.
Regardless of the cause, if you have stretch marks of your own, you might feel self-conscious about their appearance, especially if they’re located in areas that are difficult to conceal, such as your arms or shoulders. Stretch marks also commonly appear on the stomach, torso, hips, buttocks, breasts, and back. So, what can be done about those sneaky scars? As it turns out, quite a bit, actually. Let’s explore six ways to treat stretch marks.
On its surface, the stiff, spiky aloe vera plant might not seem like your skin’s best friend. However, the extracted liquid can yield several benefits to one’s overall health and skin. In addition to providing heartburn relief, lowering blood sugar, and acting as a natural laxative, aloe vera gel can ease symptoms from rashes and hives, moisturize the skin, and help the skin repair itself in order to diminish scarring, including stretch marks. Of course, not everyone will react the same way to aloe vera or any other substance, so speak with your dermatologist before using it in a medicinal capacity.
Dry skin tends to make stretch marks more prominent and contributes to their formation. By keeping your skin hydrated, you can mitigate these marks. Cocoa butter, a substance high in fatty acids, can hydrate your skin and enhance its appearance overall, reducing stretch marks over time.
Another natural remedy, castor oil, extracted from the ricinus communis plant, shares many qualities with aloe vera. When used under dermatologist supervision, castor oil can help heal wounds, reduce inflammation and acne, promote healthy hair, and more. Its restorative, hydrating properties make it a useful ally against stretch marks.
Collagen is an important naturally-occurring protein that gives our skin its structure and elasticity. While the jury is still out regarding how effective collagen creams and medications are against stretch marks, they may help the skin repair itself. At the very least, introducing additional collagen to your skin is often good for your skin’s health overall. Talk to your dermatologist about which over-the-counter and/or prescription-strength collagen boosters may be right for your skin.
Speaking of collagen, products containing retinoids (Vitamin A) can increase the body’s collagen production. Tretinoin creams contain retinoids and may aid in the fading of recent stretch marks. There are, of course, potential side effects to Tretinoin and similar products, such as red, irritated, scaly skin. As always, your dermatologist can help you determine if this treatment is right for you.
For a more aggressive approach to stretch mark reduction/removal, you might consider various cosmetic dermatology procedures. These options range from mild, non-invasive procedures to invasive surgery. Some of the most effective and common cosmetic procedures for stretch marks include:
These measures contain the risk of various side effects and complications and are often more costly than the previous treatments for stretch marks. As such, consult your dermatologist before considering them.
There’s nothing wrong with or dangerous about stretch marks, but if they’re hurting your confidence or you find them simply annoying, you can do something about it. The cosmetic dermatology experts at Premier Dermatology Partners can give you more advice on stamping out those stretch marks in a way that works for you.
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