Men and women can get stretch marks on several parts of their bodies, including the belly, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, and lower back.
This kind of scarring happens when skin doesn’t bounce back after it’s been stretched by pregnancy, weight gain, or medications like Corticosteroid creams, lotions and pills. The marks often start off looking reddish or purplish and then become glossy, making the skin appear to be streaked in silver or white.
The following treatments are among those available to help improve the appearance of stretch marks.
Some research has shown that tretinoin cream may improve the appearance of recent stretch marks — those that are less than a few months old and still pink or red in color. This ingredient stimulates collagen to help improve stretch marks over time. Only the pink/purple-colored ones will fade though; the grey/white marks are mature and do not respond to treatment.
Laser therapies use intense wavelengths of light to stimulate the growth of collagen, elastin or melanin production in your skin.
Microdermabrasion treatment involves a hand-held device that blows crystals onto skin. These crystals gently abrade, or “polish,” the skin’s surface. Then, a vacuum tube removes the crystals and 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.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent stretch marks. Ointments, creams and lotions labeled to treat or prevent stretch marks often contains cocoa butter, vitamin E or glycolic acid, they aren’t harmful, but they probably won’t help much, either.
The best way to reduce the likelihood of getting stretch marks is to maintain a healthy weight, by eating well and exercising.