Preventing and Improving Stretch Marks
Is There a Cure?
Unfortunately, stretch marks (like most scars) cannot be magically evaporated. Because stretch marks naturally fade with time, many people are misguided by the use of creams and lotions, (believing they will provide a slow cure). There may be some truth to the value of heavy moisturizing to prevent stretch marks, but moisturizing is not effective in the removal of existing ones.
How Do Stretch Marks Happen?
Usually stretch marks occur with weight gain, pregnancy and/or puberty. These sudden changes can stretch your skin too quickly, and leave dark red or purple marks. This is the stage where prevention may be helpful, since improving the elasticity of your skin may help prevent stretch marks from occurring to begin with.
Some Possible Preventatives:
- Sandalwood: Apply to the skin daily (or more frequently if desired)
- Cocoa Butter: Apply up to 4 times a day to maintain moisture
- Exercise and Stretching: Helps tone muscle and improve elasticity of skin
- Stretch mark creams that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or tretinoin are often prescribed by doctors when marks first appear.
- Lavendar Oil or Olive Oil: Applied Daily
- Diet: Eat foods that are good for your skin, and heavy in nutrients like Vitamin A, C and D.
When the Damage Is Already Done
Unfortunately there is no hard and fast way to remove stretch marks once you have them. Given time, they will begin to fade (becoming shiny white streaks instead). The only proven method for removal of stretch marks involves laser surgery. This will most likely cost you thousands of dollars, and involve at least 3 separate treatments. There are some other methods that may have minimal results:
- Some suggest that olive or lavender oil are not only a good preventative, but also beneficial for existing marks
- TriLASTIN-S is a medical cream that was featured on the Tyra Banks show. This cream claims to significantly reduce the visibility of scars (with a supposed 81% customer satisfaction rate). I have not personally tried the product, so I prefer not to suggest it as a possible solution.
- Diet: Eat foods that are good for your skin, and heavy in nutrients like Vitamin A, C and D. Foods that are high in Zinc may also have healing effects on blemishes.