Caring for stretch marks
Experts believe that the most effective way to reduce stretch marks is to begin care as soon as possible, preferably when the marks first form1. If you're pregnant or nursing, ask your doctor about when you can begin using products on your skin. Note that even for older stretch marks, you have options to improve how they look and feel.
Dermatologists and researchers report that:
- Creams with onion extract, like Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy, can significantly improve the softness, texture and appearance of stretch marks.2
- Heavy moisturizers and other over-the-counter products that are good for hydrating the skin can sometimes make stretch marks softer, look better and can reduce itchiness.
- Self-tanners and sunless tanning products can help camouflage stretch marks. (But avoid suntans and tanning beds because they not only can make the stretch marks appear worse, but they're also not good for the health of your skin.)
- Prescription cream with tretinoin (which comes from Vitamin A) can reduce the length and width of stretch marks when they are new, though it's not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers.
- Chemical peels can improve how skin feels and looks.
- Laser therapy can improve the color of stretch marks and how elastic, or flexible, the skin is.
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about options that might be best for you.
- Striae Distensae (Stretch Marks) and Different Modalities of Therapy: An Update, Dermatologic Surgery, April 2009.
- SKINmed: Dermatology for the Clinician, April 2010.