What helps to get rid of stretch marks?
Moisturizing also helps the skin to appear tauter, shinier, and smoother. The current belief is that lotions used on new stretch marks may be more effective than when they have already faded.
For women who gain a lot of pregnancy weight, are carrying multiples, or have an excess of fluid, stretch marks are more likely.
If you do nothing other than just observe your stretch marks, you will notice that the red and purple lines will gradually fade to a silver or white color. They will also flatten and feel less tight, as well as feel more crepe-y and soft to the touch. This may take a few years, but it will happen, so be patient.
If you find yourself worrying about the appearance of your stretch marks or obsessing about them, it would be worthwhile speaking to your doctor. Some women do feel that their emotional and mental health is impacted when their physical appearance is not what they would like it to be. Getting a medical assessment can be very useful in terms of normalizing the appearance of stretch marks. Treatment options, if needed, can also be discussed.
Natural stretch mark remedies
Vitamin E cream has been shown to have positive results on improving the appearance of stretch marks. Look for a moisturizing cream which has added vitamin E or alternately, use vitamin E capsules. Once pierced, the vitamin E is exposed to the air and its potency starts to diminish. Pierce the capsule just before rubbing the contents into your skin.
Retin-A and pregnancy
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you cannot use Retin-A. It has been linked with birth defects and other complications. Read the labels of any product you intend to use and speak with your provider and or a pharmacist if you are unsure about product safety.
Retin-A works by helping the skin renew itself in multiple ways: by boosting collagen production and cell turnover and by assisting the skin’s stretching to reduce tearing.
Other uses for Retin-A are for the treatment of acne, fine lines and wrinkles and skin discoloration. It is generally available by prescription from a doctor. However, less potent concentrations of Retin-A can be found in some over-the-counter moisturizers and skin creams.
Other useful information about Retin-A:
- Retin-A comes in a cream form.
- Retin-A is not as effective on old stretch marks as fresh or new ones. But remember, Retin-A is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Avoid any sun exposure if using Retin-A.
- Wash your hands after using cream containing Retin-A.
Glycolic acid during pregnancy
Vitamin C during pregnancy
If you're thinking about using vitamin C oral supplementation, speak with your provider or a pharmacist. Although excess vitamin C is not stored in the body and excreted in urine, it's still not wise to supplement vitamins and minerals unnecessarily.
Laser treatments for stretch marks
Pulsed dye laser for stretch marks
If you have darker skin, pulsed dye laser is not considered as effective. When there is a bigger contrast between the color of the stretch mark and the surrounding skin, the effects of the pulsed dye laser are more obvious. These treatments would not take place during pregnancy.
Fractional laser treatments for stretch marks
Fractional laser treatments also work by increasing the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. One side effect of this type of laser resurfacing is hyper pigmentation or darkening of the surrounding skin; occasionally, there is scarring. Weigh carefully if this is a risk you're willing to take. These treatments would not take place during pregnancy.
Dermabrasion for stretch marks
There is sometimes some redness and tenderness following each session but generally not enough to impact on daily activities. These treatments would not take place during pregnancy.
Dermarollers or dermastamps for stretch marks
Be mindful that there is still some disagreement about the effectiveness of this treatment. Although it sounds reasonable in theory, there is inconsistency when it comes to results. These treatments would not take place during pregnancy.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for stretchmarks
A blood sample is taken from your arm and then this is spun to separate the different blood cells. The platelet-rich plasma and fibrin float to the top of the test tube. This is injected directly into the stretch mark.
It is believed that PRP works because it supports the formation of the matrix between the skin cells and boosts the production of growth factor. This then helps to encourage the growth of collagen which in turn tightens the skin. This treatment would not take place during pregnancy.
Surgery for stretch marks
Often called a mommy tuck or mommy makeover, an abdominoplasty involves an operation and a stay in hospital. A plastic surgeon makes a series of surgical cuts on the abdomen and removes the excess skin. When pulled taut and re-sutured into place, the abdomen becomes flatter and tighter.
It starts with an initial consultation and referral from a primary care provider to a plastic surgeon. A hospital stay, recovery, surgeon, and anesthetist’s bills can add up to many thousands. Because abdominoplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure, it may not be covered by your health insurance.
Sometimes a combination of many treatments such as topical creams and lotions plus different laser therapies are used in the treatment of stretch marks. Using a multi-modal approach to treatment may provide the best result.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.