Stretch marks: How do you get rid of them?

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Stretch marks: How do you get rid of them?


Are there any proven treatments for stretch marks? I have many friends who recommend cocoa butter and vitamin E.



Stretch marks (striae) — pink, red or purple streaks on the skin — may occur where skin is rapidly stretched. Stretch marks are most often associated with rapid weight gain and pregnancy. Unfortunately, there are very few effective treatments for stretch marks.

Although lotions and creams containing cocoa butter or vitamin E aren't harmful, they probably won't help either. Some research has shown that tretinoin cream (Retin-A, Renova) may improve the appearance of recent stretch marks — those that are less than six weeks old and still pink or red in color. However, tretinoin should never be used during pregnancy. Older stretch marks may show slight improvement with cosmetic procedures such as:

  • Microdermabrasion
  • Pulsed-dye laser therapy
  • Radiofrequency dermal remodeling

It is important to note that stretch marks often become less noticeable with time — even without treatment. If you're concerned about the appearance of stretch marks, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss treatment options.

Last Updated: 09/13/2006
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