The Internet is full of remedies for stretch marks. By far the majority of treatments are scams. For the female/male who is not bothered by the stretch marks, then there is no need to seek treatment.
For those individuals who are bothered by stretch marks there are a few treatments but what works in one person may not always work in another individual. Over the years, hundreds of lotions, potions, creams lotions, tinctures have been developed and in most cases the results have been disappointing.
For women who develop stretch marks during pregnancy, it is highly recommend that they wait at least 6-12 months before seeking treatment as a significant number of them will disappear without any treatment.
Types of treatment
- Camouflage: For women who do not want to go through expensive treatments that may or may not work, there are many types of camouflage creams (makeup) that can temporarily hide the stretch marks. This treatment works for a short period of time, but reapplication is necessary.
- Creams There is anti-stretch mark cream containing both natural herbs and vitamins for the treatment of stretch marks. Unfortunately, these creams have to be applied regularly and the evidence to support their effectiveness is lacking. The best these creams do is reduce the skin dryness and mild itching. Creams that contain Vitamin E like, cocoa butter, olive oil, aloe vera, alphastria, verum, and trofolastin may work in some cases if applied on fresh stretch marks. However, if the stretch marks are many months/years old, then these creams do not work at all.
- Prescription cream: The one prescription medication that does work is tretinoin cream; this derivative of vitamin A is often used to treat acne and the daily application has been shown to prevent and reduce stretch marks. Unfortunately, retinoids can harm the infant if the female decides to get pregnant. Most physicians are unwilling to write retinoid prescriptions for all women of childbearing age for fear of harm to the baby if the female got pregnant. Tretinoin acts by tightening the collagen and also removes the fine lines on the body.
- Silicone gel massaged into the stretch marks have been shown to improve the pigmentation and reduce the marks. It is believed that the silicone causes collagen synthesis and tightening of the skin.
- Microdermabrasion is widely used to treat stretch marks but unfortunately, it does not work. Microdermabrasion involves the use of a device that has spinning crystals. At best, Microdermabrasion polishes the skin but does not erase the stretch marks.
- Laser therapies: Many types of lasers have been developed to treat stretch marks in the past decade. Some of the newer lasers are safer and more effective than the older generation lasers. These lasers are skin-specific. Overall, people with fair-skin respond better to lasers compared to dark-skinned individuals. Lasers work by tightening the tissues underneath the skin. Unfortunately, there are many lasers and it is not possible to know which will work each time. Further, laser treatment is expensive and also painful. More important, the laser can also cause permanent complications like skin discoloration, keloids and pain.
There are hundreds more treatments for stretch marks that include the use of mud packs, vitamins, minerals, tea tree oil, fruit juice, botanicals, aromatherapy, alfa alfa, egg white and so on. There is no evidence that these treatments work.
How can I prevent stretch marks?
The best way to treat stretch marks is to avoid them in the first place. Best preventive measures you can take include the following:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do not lose or gain weight rapidly
- Drink ample water
- Keep out of the sun
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke