Between 50 and 90% of women will get stretch marks at some point in their lives. Whether these come about as a result of pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, or a simple, unavoidable genetic predisposition, they remain a source of frustration and embarrassment.
People who are looking for a treatment or cure for stretch marks face a couple of challenges. Firstly, medical studies exploring possible treatments are not as extensive as they could be, as stretch marks are not life-threatening, therefore not as important as research into other fields. Secondly, the beauty industry makes a lot of money from claiming to treat stretch marks with various topical creams and oils. Too many of these products fall victim to either vague or hyped claims with no real substance either way.
The bottom line is that we don’t get enough of the correct information from the right people.
Stretch Mark Myths
A quick Google search will throw up a ton of information on how to get rid of your stretch marks with this “one simple remedy” or “3 easy hacks.” Before we make any decisions, it makes sense to get all the facts, right?
“A stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.” (Source)
The damage and subsequent scarring occur in the second layer of the skin, making it incredibly difficult to get rid of the marks. Understanding this fact goes a long way toward separating fact from fiction.
Tanning Can Get Rid of Stretch Marks
That wonderfully healthy glow from time spent outdoors undoubtedly covers over many imperfections. Sadly, however, stretch marks aren’t on that list.
Those of us with any sort of scar on our bodies know that scars don’t tan. It’s the dermal layer that produces the melanin, which gives us that golden colour, but it can’t do its job when it’s been damaged. So, tanning will make stretch marks more apparent.
Vitamin E Eliminates Stretch Marks
A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E is good for your skin. Not only can it be applied topically to make inflammation disappear and help you look younger, but when taken orally, it’s a great way to give your body antioxidants that will keep away disease-causing free radicals.
However, there are also many unfounded myths about vitamin E for your skin. “It has not been proven that it can reduce scarring and stretch marks, or prevent skin cancer.” (Source)
Almond Oil Prevents Stretch Marks
There has been a drive towards using natural remedies to help fight the effects of our modern world and help our bodies cope. So what about almond oil and other naturally occurring products?
“There’s a lot of very popular products out there: Almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil and so forth. There is a little bit of scientific evidence that massage with bitter almond oil can be helpful to prevent stretch marks in pregnancy—but other studies involving almond oil have not really shown the same thing. Furthermore, there are popular products that have things like almond oil and cocoa butter—those don’t seem to be effective for treatment or prevention.” (Source)
Creams with Vitamin A Remove Stretch Marks
Vitamin A is certainly an essential ingredient in medical creams that have an effect on stretch marks. Retinol, produced by the liver from Vitamin A in your diet, stimulates the production of new skin cells and collagen, which are important for healthy skin. The skin readily absorbs Vitamin A from topical creams, which makes us think, perhaps some of these lotions may work.
Well, yes and no.
“Prescription formulas contain retinoic acid, the magic ingredient that fights visible signs of ageing; nonprescription alternatives need to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin at the cellular level.” (Source)
“Retinoids work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They hamper the breakdown of collagen and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles get their start.” (Source)
Yes, retinol or retinoids from Vitamin A will help your skin look and feel better and will have an effect on your stretch marks. However, it will take several months to see the full effect, and it will never remove stretch marks entirely.
Preventing Stretch Marks
Medical specialists agree that prevention is better than cure when it comes to stretch marks. Again, there is no magic formula to guarantee that you will never suffer the blight of these unsightly marks. There are, however, some smart ways to reduce the chances of getting them.
Diet and Lifestyle
Smoking damages your skin in so many ways, one of which is that it reduces its elasticity and makes you more susceptible to stretch marks.
A diet deficient in certain nutrients, such as Vitamin A mentioned above, means that you don’t have the building blocks necessary to give yourself a fighting chance of smooth, unscarred skin. Therefore, foods high in retinoids such as salmon, beef liver, eggs, kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes should be present in your diet.
Drinking an insufficient amount of water results in poorly hydrated skin, prone to scarring and damage. A healthy water intake is a smart choice for overall wellness anyway and helps your body function optimally.
What Can I Do About My Stretch Marks?
So, we can see that there’s no sure-fire way to prevent stretch marks, nor a silver bullet to fix them once they’ve appeared. But all is not lost. There are some options available to you if you’re keen to rid yourself of these scars.
The Centella Asiatica plant has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is believed to help fight inflammation, encourage collagen production and act as an antioxidant, resulting in higher skin hydration levels over time with topical use.
One study on the treatment of stretch marks using Centella concludes, “Topic treatment with CA cream may be a valuable option for the treatment of stretch marks, offering greater benefit in terms of improvement of the stretch marks.”
Sun tanning is a no-no, but self-tan products can help to mask your marks. It’s a temporary fix but worth mentioning.
The Brazilian Stretch Mark Camouflage
We’ve left the best till last, simply because we have first-hand experience with the results of this treatment on stretch marks.
The Brazillian Stretch Mark Camouflage treatment is a repigmentation process very similar to tattooing, where a special ink formula is carefully applied to the affected area. This effectively “camouflages” the lines by making them the same colour as the surrounding skin.
We’ve found it to be the best, permanent way to hide stretch marks, no matter where they are on the body.
We’re sure that you have more questions about stretch mark myths and treatments which we would be happy to help you with. Please contact us and book a consultation, and we will help you to look your very best.