Questions regarding stretch marks are frequent flyers on the blog as well as the forums at which I have answered questions in the past. There are more than a few products out there claiming to “remove stretch marks.”
What is a stretch mark?
Generally a stretch mark is a mark left by a small tear in the deep layer of the skin, the dermis. When your body grows or stretches due to rapid growth, weight gain or pregnancy, your skin cannot always “keep up.” The strength layer of the skin, the dermis, in some cases can become very thin. This can have a few unpleasant effects:
(1) The skin can look “thinner” leaving an irregular surface especially compared to the skin adjacent to it.
(2) The pigment within the skin can be darker or lighter than that of the skin next to it making it more noticeable.
How Do I Remove Stretch Marks?”
Removal of stretch marks requires removal of the skin that contains them. In the tummy, this amounts to a tummy tuck. There are hundreds of creams on the market and lasers sold to “remove stretch marks.” They do very little.
If you decide tummy tuck surgery is not for you, there are a few things you can do to minimize their appearance.
(1) Use sunscreen on the body areas where they are in abundance to make the pigment differences between them and the surrounding skin less apparent.
(2) If they are darker than the skin near them, consider using a bleaching cream as well. Over the counter 2% Hydroquinone can work pretty well.