Here's How to Help Fade (and Prevent!) Stretch Marks
Chrissy Teigen wowed her Instagram followers a few months back by flaunting her stretch marks filter-free (below). The supermodel's positive approach to her body, flaws and all, was inspiring—but if we're totally honest, we still secretly want to get rid of our own, and prevent more from happening in the future. With this in mind, we checked in with dermatologists Melanie D. Palm, M.D., MBA and Jessica Weiser, M.D. to give us the low-down on how to do just that.
Why Do We Get Stretch Marks in the First Place?
When it comes to “stretchies,” as Teigen calls them, you can blame growth spurts, weight gain and the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy. Steroid use (either topical or oral) can also be a factor. “They often start out as purplish-pink linear, slightly shiny lines on the skin, and mature to white, thin skinned patches," Palm says, adding that hips, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, and upper arms are the most common areas they pop up.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
We'll be frank: Preventing them is difficult—but there are measures you can take to decrease your risk and minimize their severity. Avoiding any rapid weight gain may stop new marks from forming, says Weiser, who also recommends “eating a skin-healthy diet rich in antioxidants to nourish and protect skin.” If you're pregnant, the derm recommends keeping stretch-mark prone areas moisturized: “It is helpful to hydrate abdominal skin and breasts with oils and rich moisturizers during pregnancy because it may maintain elasticity better."
Topicals That Fade Stretch Marks
These stretch mark-minimizing formulas let you treat your skin daily at home.
1. StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles
This anti-aging blend decreases lines in just two weeks, leaving skin revitalized.
2. CeraVe Intensive Stretch Marks Cream
CeraVe's hydrating formula diminishes stretch marks and repairs the skin barrier.
3. Clarins Stretch Mark Minimizer
A body-shaping and stretch mark-reducing two-in-one, this product softens skin and increases elasticity.
Although the at-home solutions above may help, the most high-impact treatments are found at your dermatologist's office. This is especially true for stretch marks that are in the early pinkish-purple stage. “These are the easiest to treat because they are responsive to pulse-dye laser (PDL) or a similar blood-cell targeting KTP laser,” Weiser explains. “Once the stretch marks become silvery or white they are no longer treatable with PDL, but can be treated with a series of Fraxel laser resurfacing sessions.”
Dr. Palm cautions, however, that “most of these options require multiple treatments and may require a significant investment of time and money to improve, but not cure, the stretch marks.”
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