What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are a type of skin scarring associated with pregnancy, obesity, puberty, and short-term weight gain from bodybuilding and other physical activities. Stretch marks form when the dermis – the middle layer of the skin that maintains shape and elasticity – is stretched more than it can tolerate. This causes connective tissue in the skin to break, disrupting collagen production and causing dark marks. Stretch marks do fade over time but much slower than typical scars. stretch mark creams.
While generally considered harmless stretch marks can be a serious concern when they effect the happiness and self-esteem of an individual. Stretch marks may be treatable with stretch mark creams, laser therapy and microdermabrasion. If you do seek treatment for stretch marks, know that treatments are only partially effective and won’t remove the stretch marks completely.
How do stretch mark creams and treatments compare?
The following treatments are among those available to help improve the appearance of stretch marks. None has been proved to be more consistently successful than the others, so the best approach is to start with the cheaper solutions first.
- Stretch Mark Creams. Research shows evidence that that retinol creams may improve the appearance of recent stretch marks, specifically those that are less than a few months old and still red or pink in tone. If you are pregnant or nursing, your doctor may suggest avoiding or delaying treatment with topical retinol creams. When retinol does work it helps by stimulating the production of collagen, thus restoring the natural appearance of the skin. Retinol can irritate skin and increase sensitivity to the sun. Retinol isn’t effective on older stretch marks.
Clinical research suggests kigelia africana can improve stretch marks and age spots. Kigelia africana works by supporting elastin, melanin and collagen production and increasing the rate of natural healing processes. Kigelia africana can be used on stretch marks of all ages.
- Laser treatment. Laser treatments use high intensity light to stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and melanin production in directed areas. Your doctor can help you determine which type of laser technology is appropriate for you, depending on the age and location of your stretch marks and your skin color.
- Microdermabrasion. This type of treatment involves a hand-held device that blows tiny crystals onto your skin. These crystals gently abrade, or “polish,” the skin’s surface. Then, a vacuum tube removes the crystals and sloughed skin cells. Microdermabrasion gently removes the skin’s topmost layer, prompting the growth of new, more-elastic skin. This therapy is an option for older stretch marks.
Consult your physician or skincare specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment. Important considerations include:
- How old are the stretch marks
- Convenience — treatments differ in length duration and commitment
- Cost — stretch marks are considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance
- Your expectations — most treatments are, at best, only partially effective