How to get rid of stretch marks (skincare)

Skin Treatments

Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched and strained due to rapid weight gain or weight loss. They can happen to anyone at any age but are likely to fade over time.

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Stretch marks removal

Contrary to popular belief, stretch marks do not only occur in those who are pregnant. It’s also a myth that you can’t get stretch marks when you’re young. The marks appear for many different reasons in people of all ages.

So, if you’ve seen some stretch marks appear on your body, it’s no cause for concern. There is a very simple explanation as to why they appear and there are some simple home remedies and over-the-counter products you can try to reduce their appearance or even have them fade entirely over time.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are a type of painless mark that appear in the skin. They are usually slightly indented and a lighter or darker color to the main area of skin. Typically, groups of stretch marks appear around the same area of the body. Common areas to spot stretch marks on your skin are the stomach, buttocks, thighs, hips and breasts.

Stretch marks appear when the skin has literally been stretched due to rapid or repeated weight gain or loss. Quick changes put stress on the skin, which causes the marks to appear. This is why it’s common for pregnant people to experience them. Some stretch marks are deep and pronounced while others are barely noticeable.

There is no harm or risk in having stretch marks, but some consider them a blemish and seek ways to remove them.

Causes of stretch marks

Stretch marks are caused when the skin is physically stretched, but some people are more likely to experience them than others. According to the Mayo Clinic, the appearance of the stretch marks, including how deep and severe they are, is influenced by factors such as:

  • Your age and genetics
  • The amount of stretching or stress the skin undergoes
  • High levels of cortisol in the body

Cortisol is a type of hormone released by the body when you are stressed. Since it can reduce the elasticity of the skin, it’s thought to be a contributing factor in the severity of stretch marks.

Aside from the direct causes of stretch marks, some people are more at risk of developing them than others. Women are more likely to get stretch marks than men, for example. Steroid use can also increase your risk. If you experience rapid growth during adolescence, this can result in stretch marks. People who undergo cosmetic surgeries, such as breast enlargement, can also experience stretch marks. However, anyone can develop stretch marks if the skin is put under strain.

Do stretch marks fade on their own?

Many stretch marks fade away on their own, although it can take a long time. For others, stretch marks are permanent or will only fade slightly over time. If you have stretch marks and would like to reduce their appearance, there are several methods you can try.

Best ways to get rid of stretch marks

Retinol cream

Retinoid cream

Retinol cream is made with Vitamin A to boost collagen production in the skin and encourage faster cell repair. You’ll often see retinol creams recommended as a treatment for other skin blemishes, such as acne scars, or to reduce the appearance of aging. 


stretch mark serum

For the treatment of stretch marks, you’re likely looking at a larger skin surface area than your face, so you’ll need a stretch mark serum or stretch mark cream made for application to the body, such as Bio-Oil Skincare Oil.

Hyaluronic acid

Your body actually produces hyaluronic acid on its own, mainly in your skin and connective tissue. Its main role is to retain and transmit water, so it plays a role in keeping your skin plump and moisturized. In fact, it’s clinically proven to reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks and reduce their occurrence in high-risk groups.

hyaluronic acid supplements

You can take hyaluronic acid supplements in capsule form, but many topical ointments and creams for stretch marks also use it as an ingredient.  

Microdermabrasion treatments

Microdermabrasion is a treatment that uses tiny crystals to vigorously exfoliate the skin as they are vacuumed off using special equipment. Many people use microdermabrasion treatment as a way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and report highly positive results.

Research also shows that microdermabrasion is highly effective at reducing the appearance of stretch marks when caught early. It’s even more effective when used in conjunction with topical treatments. 

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is particularly effective if your stretch marks appear as deep grooves in the skin. It’s unlikely to have a significant effect on discoloration caused by the stretch marks, but it may help reduce the visibility of white stretch marks. In this treatment, lasers are used to remove the top layer of skin and encourage rapid regeneration of new skin cells. 

Things to note about removing stretch marks

No matter which treatment you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind about stretch mark reduction. Most stretch marks will never fade completely, but early intervention is key. The sooner you start treatment to reduce their appearance, the more likely it is that the treatments will be effective.

All treatments for stretch marks also take time to work. Topical treatments can take weeks to take effect and you may need multiple sessions of microdermabrasion or laser to see results.

Lastly, not all treatments work the same for everyone. Start with affordable options, like topical treatments, before moving on to other options. If all else fails, it’s a good idea to contact a professional dermatologist to explore your options. 

What you need to buy for getting rid of stretch marks

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion For Stretch Marks

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion For Stretch Marks

This cream is made with cocoa butter and helps to visibly fade stretch marks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

StriVectin Anti-Wrinkle Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate for Wrinkles and Stretch Marks

StriVectin Anti-Wrinkle Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate for Wrinkles and Stretch Marks

This moisturizing concentrate targets 10 different types of college, bringing you optimal stretch mark and anti-wrinkle technology.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty


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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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