The normal production of the major protein that makes up the connective tissue in our skin, collagen, is disrupted. Our skin is stretched thin and loses its elasticity. At first, due to the dilation of capillaries, the stretch marks may appear pink or red-colored. While trying to heal the wounds, the production of collagen is increased in the overstretched tissue, resulting in the familiar scars.
A lot is said about the prevention of stretch marks, but what can we do to remove them if they are already formed? Can we get rid of them? Or should we just learn to live with them? Let’s take a look at some of our best options:
- In the early stages, when stretch marks are still pinkish, apply several moisturizing creams and oils to make them less intense while they are maturing. Massage the area daily with body oil. Olive oil is said to be the best. Vaseline also works, any cream rich in vitamin E, different types of butter, cocoa butter, coconut butter and shea butter being the best.
- Micro-dermabrasion can also help. It is a skin-freshening technique that helps repair skin conditions. The micro-dermabrasion technique abrades the skin with a high-pressure flow of crystals, which stimulates the formation of new collagen and elastin. This causes the attenuated epidermis to heal more effectively, making stretch marks heal and become much less noticeable.
- You can also use medicines known as retinoids, which are derived from Vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to stimulate collagen renewal underneath the skin, healing the tears gradually.
- Creams containing alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) can be of some benefit also. AHAs are usually derived from fruit. They are actually fruit acids. These creams can improve your skin texture and color by increasing cell regeneration. AHAs remove the top layer of cells causing healthier ones to come to the surface. This will help improve the appearance of the stretch marks.
- You can also use laser light as an expensive but effective treatment, if used during the early stages. Dermatologists use a pulsed dye laser to fade red marks. A new type of laser has been used more recently, that can fade away mature light-colored marks. This type of therapy requires multiple treatments. Also, some pain may be involved, although it’s minimal. A few patients with darker skin tones have been reported to have some post-procedure pigmentary alteration, which is usually temporary.
- If the stretch marks appear on your belly there is a final solution, plastic surgery. During this procedure much of the skin below the belly button is removed. Stretch marks in this area are also removed with the skin.