There’s no magic wand that will rid your skin of those less-than-appealing stretch marks, but you have a few options on ways to make them less noticeable. Whether from pregnancy or the result of fluctuating weight, stretch marks are a common cosmetic problem that can zap confidence and affect self-esteem. While no treatment options totally remove stretch marks, makeup, exfoliation techniques, retinoid creams and laser therapy can all help to diminish their appearance and leave skin looking smoother and more even.
For small areas of skin that are affected by stretch marks, make camouflage makeup your first line of attack. Cosmetic camouflage products act like heavy-duty concealers and literally cover up red and purple stretch marks, making skin appear more uniform. Camouflage products come in a wide variety of colors to suit all skin tones and are water-resistant.
Topical Retinoid Therapy
Retinoids have garnered a lot of buzz from beauty editors thanks to their collagen-boosting properties. Retinoids are vitamin-A derived prescription creams that improve the elasticity of the skin and collagen production. However, they’re not suitable for use during pregnancy or when you’re breastfeeding. Retinoids used in conjunction with glycolic acid daily for 12 weeks showed both a marked improvement and improved elasticity in stretch marks in some patients in a very small 1998 study, reports Dermatologic Surgery.
Microdermabrasion might help to diminish older, stubborn stretch marks. This procedure is an intensive form of exfoliation performed by an esthetician, over many rounds of sessions. The treatment involves abrasive crystals blasted onto the skin to gently remove the surface skin layer, which promotes the growth of new, more elastic skin in its place.
Laser therapy is gaining ground as a cosmetic treatment for stretch marks. Several options are available, depending upon how old and how severe the stretch marks are. Different lasers can be used. There are laser procedures that can be performed to improve the color of the stretch marks when they are red or purple. There are also lasers that can be used to improve the texture and elasticity of stretch marks. While laser therapy won’t remove stretch marks altogether, it makes them less visible by “smudging” the lines of the stretch marks. Laser treatment usually takes several months and requires several visits to the doctor’s office.