Chances are you have stretch marks. Most of us do (despite photo editing and filters). It really is the norm to have them yet many of us have not learned to accept them.
Stretch marks are caused by rapid stretching of the skin during times of brisk weight gain, pregnancy, or growth. The skin stretches so quickly that the collagen and elastic tissue are damaged, leading to the characteristic line-like appearance of the skin. Stretch marks (or striae in medical terminology) are essentially scars, and like scars cannot be erased. However, there are some ways that can improve the appearance.
- A prescription retinoid.
This topical vitamin A derivative stimulates new collagen production. A 2014 study published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery showed that daily use over 16 weeks can help reduce the appearance of those newer, red marks. This treatment does not work well for older stretch marks and cannot be used if you are pregnant.
- A rich lotion.
A petroleum-based moisturizer forms a protective seal over the skin and allows your skin to heal optimally, which could minimize the formation of stretch marks.
- Fractional lasers.
Many dermatologists use a fractional laser, like the Fraxel Dual, to treat stretch marks. Three to five treatments over the course of three months can make red stretch marks almost invisible and reduce the appearance of older ones by up to 50 percent.
- Micro needling with radio frequency.
Micro needling pokes tiny holes in the skin to promote healing which can help stretch marks look better. I can also build up regular collagen and tighten them.
This is my preferred advice for darker-skinned patients because there’s no risk of triggering hyperpigmentation. Most people need two to five treatments and can expect an improvement of up to 60 percent.
If your skin is fair to medium, self-tanner can obscure those white lines but has to be reapplied to maintain coverage.
I encourage you to embrace them. Every woman has a story and stretch marks tell the story of growth and sometimes of the miracle of bringing life into the world. The more we stop being ashamed of them, the more we will realize so many of us share the same little lines.
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Here’s to your perfect skin!
Creator & CEO of Perfect Skin Code