How to get rid of stretch marks
28 February 2014
Understanding stretch marks.
Stretch marks also called Strie distensae are a result of a rapid stretching of the skin. It occurs in response to a weight or muscle mass change (like in pregnancy). The thin bands of reddened skin becomes white, smooth, shiny and depressed at a later stage.
Most often Stretch marks develop in areas of dermal damage produced by stretching like the breasts, hips, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and flank. Stretch marks are not an illness but many women are upset by the appearance of suchmarks during pregnancy. There is a high possibility (probably over 50%) of any woman developing stretch marks by the end of her pregnancy.
Getting rid of stretch marks can be very challenging. This article reviews the different treatment available in order for you to make the best decision. Get rid of stretch marks today!
1. What Cream should I use for stretch marks ?
If you are Pregnant:
Anti-stretch mark cream containing hydroxyprolisilane-C, rosehip oil, Centella asiatica triterpenes and vitamin E works. The use of the anti-stretch mark product is proved to be effective in reducing severity of the striae during pregnancy, prevents the appearance of new striae and halts progression of those already present. In women who had no striae at baseline, use of the anti-stretch mark cream was more effective than placebo in preventing new stretch marks(1).
Olive oil does not significantly reduce the incidence and the severity of stretch mark and it could not be recommended for stretch mark prevention (2).
Cocoa butter does not appear to reduce stretch marks (3).
If you are not pregnant:
Use a cream with tretinoin. Topical application of tretinoin significantly improves the clinical appearance of early, active stretch marks in several studies (4) . However, it can take up to a 3 months to see any concrete results (5).
Studies demonstrate that massage can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It was found that a 15-minute massage applied with almond oil during pregnancy reduced the development of striae gravidarum, but using bitter almond oil had no effect on this in itself (6). However you can massage the affected area with any good occlusive moisturizer cream for better results.
3. Occlusive Skin Moisturizers
Occlusive skin moisturizers are moisturizers that prevents water from evaporating in order to increase the water content in the skin. Moisturizing the area with a adequate occlusive moisturizer has been proven to be a simple and effective way to improve the appearance of stretch marks (7).
4. Intense pulsed light (IPL)
There is some evidence that IPL works for treating stretch marks. A prospective study was carried out in 15 women, all of them having late stage striae distensae of the abdomen. Five sessions of IPL were performed once every two weeks. The studied demonstrated an improvement of stretch marks after IPL (8).
Current laser technology permits successful treatment of scars and stretch marks. It is imperative to appropriately classify the type of scars and striae distensae present to determine which laser is likely to be effective (9). The 585-nm PDL (pulse dye laser) is best used to treat hypertrophic scars, keloids, and striae. The use of lasers alone or in combination with other therapeutic modalities can provide a safe and effective reduction in the appearance of both red and white striae distensae. Typically, only 1-2 treatment sessions are necessary to obtain a noticeable result. However you might need up to four treatment sessions. Ablative and nonablative carbon dioxide lasers have also been used in the treatment of striae. Both treatments with the nonablative fractional laser and ablative carbon dioxide fractional laser showed a significant clinical and histopathologic improvement of striae distensae (10). Fractional Laser Therapy is estimated to cost at around $1500 to $2500 depending on your case. If you are taking any retinoid products please mention it prior to being treated since this might be a contraindication.
6. Glycolic acid
Peeling can give smoother skin texture, decreased wrinkling and striae, and improve pigmentary abnormalities. 20% glycolic acid in combination with 0.05% tretinoin has been proven to improve stretch marks (11).
7. Plastic surgery
Depending on the location of the stretch marks, your plastic surgeon might offer you an abdominoplasty (aka tummy tuck). However this procedure is expensive (it might cost you from 2000$ to 20 000$). It also have possible complications including DVT (0.04%) and pulmonary embolus (0.02%) among a few (12).