Many creams promise to remove stretch marks, but only a few approaches actually work.
Stretch marks are a type of scar that develops in response to rapid growth. The marks appear when your skin can't keep pace with your body size.
Common during puberty, pregnancy, or rapid muscle development, stretch marks usually start out as red or purplish streaks, eventually fading to white. They may be flat, slightly raised, or even indented.
Though a number of people swear by various home remedies—cocoa butter, vitamin E, and petroleum jelly, to name a few—the research on these remedies' effectiveness is decidedly mixed. Nothing can completely eliminate the risk of stretch marks during times of rapid weight gain, and specialty creams will only minimise—not eliminate—the appearance of marks.
What works for one person's skin may not work for another's, so it's worth spending a little time trying a few different approaches. And, of course, there's no overestimating the value of a healthy lifestyle.
Lifestyle Measures to Prevent Stretch Marks
A number of lifestyle remedies can reduce your risk of stretch marks:
Controlling weight gain. During pregnancy, it's better to gain at a slow, steady rate when possible. Likewise, if you're trying to build muscle, focus on slowly accumulating bulk, not laying down as much muscle as you can in a short period of time.
Exercising regularly. Exercise increases blood flow, improving overall skin health. It can also help control rapid weight gain, even if you're taking medications that cause you to pack on the pounds.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet. Though no single nutrient can prevent stretch marks, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can support skin health, potentially helping your skin expand without scarring.
Keeping your skin moisturised. Moisturisers won't completely eliminate the risk of stretch marks, but they can help your skin grow and stretch more evenly. Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream is an ideal balm for all skin types.
Minimising the Appearance of Stretch Marks
After stretch marks appear, they tend to fade over time. Expedite the fading process by using a microdermabrasion treatment. At-home treatments offer exfoliation and smoother skin, but professional treatments are your best option for effectively combating stretch marks.
Some research suggests that stretch-mark creams made from hyaluronic acid, retinol, and onion extract may help fade stretch marks. If you prefer a more natural approach, Clarins Stretch Mark Minimiser Control moisturises skin with natural extracts and oils while helping to steadily fade marks.