If you want to know how to fade stretch marks then chances are you’ve already tried numerous techniques to try and get rid of these unwanted and unsightly marks. Many of us have them and most of us hate them but are we really stuck with them for the rest of our days or is there anything we can do to get rid of them or at the very least make them less noticeable?
What Causes Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are caused when the skin is stretched rapidly by sudden bouts of growth or weight gain. Most people associate stretch marks with pregnancy but they can happen to anyone at any age. Sudden growth spurts during puberty can be a common cause as can muscle gains in bodybuilding or rapid weight loss or gains from diets.
Unfortunately, most agree that stretch marks cannot be completely removed other that through surgery, but there are things that you can use that may help improve and fade their appearance.
Vitamin E is considered as an essential vitamin for skin health both when consumed and when applied topically. It is often used in stretch mark creams because of its healing properties and its ability to help fade marks and scars. It is also said to speed up cell regeneration so this makes Vitamin E probably one of the most popular ways to help treat stretch marks.
Vitamin E can be applied topically with creams containing vitamin E or by squeezing the oil from a vitamin E capsule and applying it directly to the area. Doing this on a daily basis is said to help reduce the appearance of not only stretch marks but other scars and fine lines too.
Prescription Strength Retinoids
Prescription strength Retinoids (a derivative of vitamin A) like Retin-A are creams that are often prescribed for skin conditions such as acne, wrinkles and skin discolorations. They are said to be very effective at fading stretch marks if applied directly to the area on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, they are prescription only so they’re not the easiest thing to come by although there are over the counter versions (look for retinol) but these are nowhere near as strong as the prescription versions.
It is worth noting that this approach is said to be more effective on newer stretch marks that are still red or pink in colour. For older stretch marks that are white or silvery in colour, this treatment will be far less effective if effective at all. That makes this technique somewhat of a too little too late solution for those whose stretch marks are pregnancy related because retinoids are not suitable for use while pregnant or whilst breastfeeding (isn’t that just typical).
Zinc is probably one of the most important minerals when it comes to skincare and there’s even a suggested link between a deficiency in zinc and the appearance of stretch marks. Zinc is important for skin for many reasons including for the production of collagen and for the repair and regeneration of skin cells. With that in mind, a diet rich in zinc or a zinc supplement may help keep stretch marks to a minimum or fade the appearance of those already present.
Much like vitamin E, zinc is also found in stretch mark and scar removal creams and there have even been suggestions that certain diaper rash creams may be effective at fading the appearance of stretch marks. However, this would come with the side effect of smelling like a baby’s backside all day, just a thought.
Vitamin C is another essential vitamin when it comes to skin health both for its ability to help produce collagen and for its skin healing properties. It is also one of the most popular ingredients for fading marks and discolourations on the skin. A vitamin C rich diet is a good place to start but topically applied vitamin C may give you an extra helping hand to fade those marks when applied directly to the area.
There are many vitamin C creams available but vitamin C is also often combined with vitamin E to make both ingredients more effective. From a dietary point of view, a diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and Zinc can help to keep skin healthy and possibly less prone to stretch marks and may help improve the appearance of skin that has already been damaged.
Is there anything that coconut oil isn’t used for I wonder, well it doesn’t seem to look like it. Coconut oil is filled full of proteins and fats that are very beneficial to skin when applied topically. It is said to help boost collagen production which is essential for healthy looking skin as well as being full of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Coconut oil is also an extremely effective moisturiser that can help keep the skin hydrated and supple and because it’s completely natural with no added chemicals, this makes it an excellent choice for those who are pregnant. Many people even combine it with vitamin E oil to make an even more effective treatment.
There seems to be a love-hate divide when it comes to bio-oil with some people swearing by it and others despising it. I’ll put my hand up here and say that I used bio oil as well as palmer’s cocoa butter throughout all three of my pregnancies and after the first two pregnancies there wasn’t a stretch mark in sight, however, the third pregnancy I wasn’t quite so lucky although it was still minimal. In all fairness, I was so big, I don’t think anything on the planet would have helped.
The reason for the divide is due to a number of factors such as the fact that bio-oil contains a number of ingredients that some expectant mothers would prefer to avoid. It also doesn’t have the most pleasant of smells and it does have a tendency to ruin any clothes it comes into contact with. And last but not least some people have found it to be completely ineffective.
Aloe vera is another popular choice due to it’s healing properties and it’s nutrient rich composition including vitamins A, B, C and E. It is said that applying aloe vera directly to the area may help improve and fade the appearance of stretch marks as well as other skin marks and scars.
Aloe vera is also extremely moisturising and hydrating to the skin and helps to keep it soft and supple. It is also filled with antioxidants that help to protect the skin from damage and with its cooling and soothing properties, it can also help soothe the itching associated with stretch marks.
Well, if you’re brave enough, there’s always the dermal roller which is basically a roller filled with tiny needles that are rolled over the skin to encourage the skin’s healing process. It’s a pretty scary little device and probably not the best for the faint hearted but if you think you can handle it, then it’s definitely worth looking into.
Healthy Diet and Plenty of Water
One thing that most agree is extremely important is to eat a healthy diet, stay well hydrated and drink plenty of water. Dryer skin may be more prone to stretch marks because hydrated skin stretches much easier than dehydrated skin so keeping the body and skin healthy and hydrated with a healthy diet and plenty of water may help keep those stretch marks to a minimum.
Specialist Stretch Mark Creams
There are a number of creams out there that are specially made for the treatment of stretch marks like the budget friendly Palmer’s Cocoa Butter which is said to be effective at preventing and improving existing marks. There’s also Mederma Stretch Mark Therapy (available here on Amazon) which is also popular both for prevention and improvement.
Or if you really want to push the boat out, then you can always check out Amazon for Strivectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Marks which is said to be very effective at improving the appearance of even the oldest of stretch marks including those that have long since turned white or silvery in colour. You could also check out TriLASTIN-SR Maximum Strength Stretch Mark Cream which is another popular choice.
Well, there’s quite a few different techniques you can try or even a combination of a few of them and although everyone gets different results from different techniques, hopefully, you’ll find one or more of the above ideas helpful in diminishing those stretch marks.
How do you treat yours? If you’d like to share any of your thoughts or stories or even any remedies that you’ve discovered that have worked wonders for you, please feel free to tell me all about it in the comments section below.