How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
Yes, you can do something about those unsightly stripes.
Giving birth and losing weight are two terrific experiences, but unfortunately they’re often accompanied by something a lot less thrilling: stretch marks. You don’t have to be stuck with these unsightly stripes on your skin, though; there are ways to prevent them, treat them and even get rid of them.
Basically stretch marks form as our skin is (you guessed it) stretched beyond its normal elasticity. When this happens, the dermis—the middle layer in our skin that helps it retain its shape—breaks down and helps form red or purple bands that often appear on our abdomen, breasts or thighs. When time passes and these marks heal, they often fade to a white or silvery color, settling on the skin as a faded scar.
Stretch marks, whether the result of pregnancy, weight loss or weight gain, are one of the most common skin conditions: 90 percent of women will develop the marks during their lifetime. They’re also hereditary, says Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Group and author of The Skin Type Solution.
One of the smartest preventive measures to take is to make sure you have adequate hydration. Experts say that with enough water intake, stretch marks are likelier to be kept at bay. And if you must have some caffeine, balance it with an equal amount of water, since caffeine dehydrates you. Moisturizing can also be a key factor in keeping skin resilient. Says Baumann, “It is crucial. Skin becomes more pliant, more plasticized and better able to stretch when it’s well hydrated.” Baumann suggests applying lotion containing shea butter or cocoa butter as a main ingredient three to four times a day to areas prone to stretch marks. Some good, reasonably priced lotions include Queen Helene cocoa butter lotion ($5.79, drugstore.com) and Tree Hut Brazilian Shea Body Butter Quartet ($9.49, drugstore.com).