Let’s start of 2015 on a completely honest and personal note. I have stretch marks. I was sure I was defeating the dreaded skin lines with both of my pregnancies by lathering my belly up with cocoa butter every morning–and I was. But I was so focused on my ball of a belly, that I forgot about the underside. DON’T forget about the underside, ladies.
But I’m not alone, about 90% of women have stretch marks on some part of their bodies whether it be their thighs, arms, butt, boobs and of course, the stomach. That would be why it was the one of Google’s top-searched beauty questions of 2014.
If you’ve been lucky enough not to have them (and you’ve never seen them before) stretch marks are visible off-color lines on your skin caused by pregnancy, any quick change in weight (lose or gain), genetics (thanks mom), stress and some medications (corticosteroids).
They form in the middle layer of your skin when your tissue is stretched beyond it’s ability to snapback. The collagen in your skin gets weak, collagen isn’t produced as usual, and scars called stretch marks are born. On fair-skin women, stretch marks are usually pink or red. If you’re darker, stretch marks are mostly lighter than your skin tone.
According to WebMD, there is no 100% sure-fire way to get rid of stretch marks. However, some treatments have been known to fade or even them out for some women. With everyone’s body being different and the various causes of stretch marks, it’s hard to recommend an across-the-board treatment, but here are a few suggestions:
Take your vitamins and moisturize. You should be doing this anyway, but upping the amount of Vitamin C in your diet to 500 mg and keeping your skin moisturized might help reduce the appearance of the marks. We recommend shea and cocoa butters and Vitamin E oil–they will give you a natural glow too!
Try the topical route. If you’re not pregnant, you can try using a prescription lotion with retinoic acid cream. There are various options out there, so talk to your dermatologist to find the right one for you. Or you can try something with glycolic acid. Products with either of these ingredients will help collagen growth, improve skin elasticity and help even out those lines in your belly. But be sure to limit or even avoid sun exposure because these products can cause your skin to burn more easily.
There’s always surgery. This may require a few sessions, and probably isn’t covered by insurance since it’s cosmetic, but if you’re willing to foot the bill, you can try dermabrasion, chemical peels or laser surgery.
Of course like anything, it’s better to start treating stretch marks once you see them. The more comfortable they get on your skin, the harder they are to get rid of. May the stretch-mark-free gods be with you.
And if you have a suggestion, let us know what worked for you in the comments.