Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks across skin

Stretch marks can be a huge irritation. | iStock.com

Stretch marks — they’re not merely something associated with pregnancies. If you or someone you know has gained weight, then you’ve probably seen them develop first-hand. They can come as a result of packing on excess body fat, or even losing it quickly. As a result, your skin actually breaks down and stretches, leaving streaky scars that can appear red, purple, or even white in color.

They’re unsightly, irritating, and unfortunately, difficult to deal with.

The thing about stretch marks is that they sneak up on you. You don’t really see them happening — in the same way that you don’t see yourself becoming obese. But given enough time, and enough neglect, they’ll appear. It may be because you can’t kick your sugar habit, or just can’t manage to get in enough exercise. When you don’t take care of your body, it’ll show.

Woman Under Beach Umbrella

If you’re concerned about how you’ll look at the beach, you might want to try some treatments. | iStock.com

And stretch marks are just one of those ways that neglect manifests itself visually. Chances are, if you’re seeing stretch marks starting to appear, you’re experiencing a host of other issues as a result of weight gain or loss. So, you should work on getting your habits under control before worrying about the cosmetic stuff, for starters.

But if you’re ready to tackle those stretch marks and try and restore your body to its former glory, the question is this: What exactly can you do about them?

The answer probably isn’t as simple or easy as you might have hoped. In fact, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever be able to permanently get rid of them. As previously mentioned, the marks themselves are basically scars, and scar tissue is notoriously difficult to conceal or make disappear.

Certain moisturizers can help with stretch marks

Certain moisturizers can help with stretch marks. | iStock.com

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope. There are options on the table, ranging from surgical, to an assortment of topical treatments. In fact, there’s research that points to androgens, estrogen, and glucocorticoids being the key substances in concealing scar tissue. But back to surgery for a minute — going under the knife is one of the more popular treatment options these days, and it’s becoming even more popular and easy to do now that we can use lasers. Even Kim Kardashian has undergone laser treatments to remove stretch marks, to give you an idea of how ubiquitous this option has become.

But surgical treatments are expensive, and there are a ton of considerations that both you and surgical specialists need to make before you can even get the go-ahead. Even then, there’s no guarantee that it’ll actually work, or work as well as you had hoped.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil might help minimize the appearance of stretch marks. | iStock.com

Your other option is to try any number of stretch mark removal products that are out there. These mostly take the form of topical creams, which are applied directly to the skin, like lotions or moisturizers. For the thrifty among us, the costs of these products can quickly add up, and depending on how long you plan on using them, or how many you plan on trying out, your costs may even eclipse a surgical treatment.

So, if you want to go ahead and opt for topical treatments, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that you’re constantly well hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the more elasticity your skin has, which will make a big difference in stopping marks before they get any worse. After that, you’ll want to moisturize your trouble areas with lotion, and always use sunscreen.

Those are the first steps toward prevention. For more concentrated products, you can try Bio Oil Multiuse Skin Care Oil, which generally gets positive reviews for helping with stretch marks. There are similar products you can try as well. Even coconut oil has been hailed as an effective treatment.

Hands applying moisturizer

Look for tretinoin, which may dull the appearance over time. | iStock.com/Ridofranz

You can even try your own serums, using effective ingredients like tretinoin.

No matter what course of action you choose to take, you may be better off with coming to terms with the fact that those marks are probably with you for life. If you can manage to be comfortable with that fact, and even wear them as a sort of badge of honor (maybe a reminder of your former chubby self, and how you overcame obesity?) you’ll be much happier in the long run. For most people, stretch marks are never going to go away, or be fully indistinguishable.

Some treatments will work better than others, it completely changes from individual to individual. Again, know this before you spend hundreds or thousands trying to get rid of your stretch marks — there’s a good chance nothing will work as well as you had hoped.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger