Stretch Marks

I used to be quite heavy, but I’ve lost some weight. The tummy has gone, but because the skin had stretched so much to cover all that extra mass, I’ve now got stretch marks. Here’s the deal: there’s no way to completely rid yourself of these. Them’s the breaks. Better you know it now before dropping loads of cash on surgery or miracle cures or wrinkle removing laser surgery of the gods. There are a lot of products, specifically geared to women and mothers, but there are none of them that will fix stretch marks. However, you can get rid of some of the appearance of those stretch marks. Because you can help with the appearance of stretch marks, there’s no need to dress in the 1930s era swim suit or to walk around wearing formless sweatsuits all the time. Your stretch marks shouldn’t embarrass you that much, but no worries. You can make them less noticeable.

Quick Fix for Stretch Marks: Body Makeup

There are specific products like concealers and body make up that tend to be thicker and last longer than facial makeup. These will help cover up your stretchmarks…while not cheap, it is definitely fast.

Causes of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, most often, are scars. These scars happen with sudden weight gain or loss, due to the skin having to stretch/deflate without naturally getting used to it. These marks can be purple, red, pink or (like the kind I’ve got) white. They typically will fade as time goes by, they’re rarely a serious problem and are not painful. You can check with a doctor to be absolutely sure, though.

Best Ways to Treat Stretch Marks

Tretinoin cream.

Tretinoin creams (such as Retin-A, Remova Emollient and Avia (which you can find at Amazon)) are the best bang for your buck for getting rid of fresh stretch marks. Tretinoin, which comes from an acidic Vitamin A form, stimulates collagen grown, and collagen helps with smooth and firm skin. That, of course, helps minimize the appearance of stretch marks from loose skin. Keep in mind, though, they are only effective when applied to new stretch marks (ones that are still red, purple or pink in color); Tretinoin doesn’t work on older stretch marks. These should also be avoided by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy.

This procedure involves a device that targets the blood vessels that lie beneath the stretch marks. By pulsing them with quick bursts of light, the blood vessels die but leave the rest of the cells healthy and intact. This promotes the growth of collagen and elastin, which are good things as discussed. It’s most effective on new stretch mark, and the cost will vary dependent on size of the affected area and where you are in the country.

Microdermabrasion Sessions.

This cosmetic procedure basically scrapes away the top layer of dead skin cells, thus promoting more collagen. Keep in mind that this procedure tends to be repeated several times befrore you see any resuls (sometimes up to 12 sessions). This procedure is usually performed at a day spa, or with a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.

Excimer Lasers.

This type of laser treatment slightly changes the skin color around the stretch mark. An ultraviolet excimer laser (or EXTRAC) helps produce more melanin, which darkens the skin. They focus on making the stretch marks closer in color to the skin that surrounds them. Again, this will take a number of sessions to start to see results, sometimes upwards of 20.

Bottom line: talk to your doctor.

They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction, dependent on your stretch marks. These treatments usually require a good deal of money and time. Your doctor will help you decide which one will be most effective.

How to Prevent Stretch Marks

Maintain your weight.

Stretch marks happen when your skin has to, y’know, stretch. Consequently, the easiest way to prevent stretch marks would be to not have your skin stretch. However, if you’re overweight (like I was), the health benefits of losing weight compared tot he appearance problem of stretch marks made it worth it. Obviously you should chat with a doctor to ensure your weight loss is healthy.

Stay hydrated.

Making sure your body has enough water is something that’s great for your overall health, and specifically for stretch marks because it helps keep your skin moisturized and helps elasticity. Hence, stretch marks will be less of an issue.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

Using a collagen-producing moisturizer to areas that are problematic stretch mark locations several times a day will help minimize the effects of losing weight. To help the most, set aside some time (about 10 minutes) to put a warm, wet towel over your stretch marks area after you apply the moisturizer.

Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks

Lavender oil.

Lavender oil on your stretch marks will help minimize their appearance. It’ll also help you smell nice.

Aloe vera, olive oil and vitamin capsules.

You can make a gel to put over your stretch marks once a day to help decrease their appearance. Mix ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup aloe vera gel and the liquid from six vitamin E capsules and four vitamin A capsules in a blender for 20 seconds. Cool it in the fridge for about an hour, and then apply directly to stretch marks.

Cocoa butter.

Applying cocoa butter to your abdomen during pregnancy may help prevent stretch marks. It also smells like the islands. Amazon has some good choices, like this for certified organic Cocoa Butter.

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About the Author

Julianne Ragland

Julianne Ragland