Stretch marks. Whether you love or hate 'em, most people have them; it's all part and parcel of being human. Stretch marks usually occur during times of physical growth, including pregnancy, body building, and puberty. While they're a totally normal skin condition to have, some of us may not want them to be so visible. With that in mind, we've outlined a go-to guide that answers all of your burning questions around stretch marks.
Stretch Marks Treatment FAQs
How do I get rid of stretch marks?
There are many lotions and potions that really help to lessen the appearance of stretch marks (Bio Oil, we're looking at you). However, if you're looking for something a little more 'hands on' then the NHS website also recommends other treatments such as light or laser treatments, as well as microdermabrasion which works by removing a thin layer of the skin.
Retinoid creams and products that feature hyaluronic acid can also be used to treat newly formed stretch marks but bear in mind – retinoids cannot be used while pregnant.
Remember, completely abolishing the look of stretch marks is pretty impossible, but there are plenty of nourishing creams on the market that help to reduce the severity of them.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are a very natural and very normal thing that can occur for a number of reasons. While they are completely harmless and do not impact your health, some people wish to get rid of them due to their appearance.
Usually caused from sudden growth or weight gain, stretch marks appear as pink, red, brown, black, silver or purple lines that fade over time. Common places for stretch marks to occur include tummy, hips, bottom, chest, upper arms and legs. Women tend to be more susceptible to getting stretch marks due to changes in their body throughout puberty, e.g.when the hips widen and bust area grows. People that are going through fast weight gain or loss, pregnancy or are generally overweight are more likely to experience stretch marks.
How do I get rid of scars?
While it is almost impossible to get rid of scarring, there are certain things that can be done to make them appear less visible.
From investing in temporary solutions to more permanent fixtures, there are a range of routes to explore. Skin camouflage makeup helps to cover up the redness from scars for a quick-fix solution, but this is more to hide their appearance rather than to actually heal the skin. Light therapy is a more permanent remedy that works to reduce the redness in a scar by targeting the blood vessels in the excess scar tissue.
Other intensive solutions include using silicone gels/sheets, cryotherapy, dermal fillers, skin needling and surgery. However, there are a lot of nourishing at-home products that help to hydrate and heal the skin by using the best of Mother Nature's ingredients and pairing them with potent technologies. Vitamin E is a key ingredient to look out for when shopping for creams and lotions.
What types of acne scar treatment are there?
Luckily, there are a lot of different treatments to explore when it comes to combatting acne scars.
In terms of at-home creams and solutions, keep an eye out for these key ingredients: AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids), lactic acid, retinoids and salicylic acid. AHA's act as a mild acid exfoliant that helps to remove the discolouration from the outer layer of skin, while lactic acid works on improving the pigment and texture of lighter acne scars.
Retinoids are loved for their ability to smooth out the texture and tone of scars by speeding up the cell regeneration process, however, it is important to use sun cream when working with retinoids, as they make the skin particularly sensitive to the sun's UV rays. Salicylic acid is another fan-favourite that can also be used on current occurring acne. This special acid helps to clear the pores whilst reducing swelling and gently exfoliating the skin for brighter, clearer results.
Dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing and micro-needling are more intensive treatments that can be used to reduce the appearance of scars.
Best stretch mark products:
The Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil is the ideal tool for overcoming noticeably red stretch marks. Slowing down the formation of stretch marks, this powerful formula smooths down discolouration and unwanted texture to provide a smoother base. Better still, a cocktail of vitamins work together to ensure that the skin remains feeling softer-than-soft and fully elasticated.
Take back control when it comes to those unwanted stretch marks and scars with the Cryogel Body Serum by Swiss Clinic. This body-sculpting formula contains a blend of active ingredients that help to improve circulation and firm the skin for a smoother results. We love this non-sticky formula for its refreshing sensation and antiseptic action that encourages a healthy healing process!
The Decléor Cica Botanic Oil gets to work on scars and stretch marks in just as little as eight weeks, making this a must-have bath and body care tool to add to your arsenal. Containing an innovative blend of nine botanical oils, this unique formula lessens the appearance of existing stretch marks while preventing new ones.
So, how does it work? A hero ingredient called bourrache botanical oil brings forth a high amount of GLA that corrects deficiencies in skin lipids and increases the skin’s elasticity.
Restore, rehydrate and repair damaged skin with the The Organic Pharmacy Stretch Mark Oil. Filled to the brim with nourishing oils, this formula keeps the skin soft and supple. We adore this moisturising formulation, especially when it comes to soothing the appearance of stretch marks.
Give your skin the protection it deserves with this silicone based repair cream. The silicone solution forms a shielding micro-film over the scar, ensuring maximum protection and hydration that eventually minimises the scar's appearance. The best part? It also features an antioxidant blend of green tea extract and vitamins A, C and E to protect healing skin from external aggressors and damage!
This potent formula is actually to be used as a post-procedure topical treatment, but thanks to its intelligent design, works incredibly well on minor scarring such as stretch marks. It works tirelessly to support the skin's regeneration process and stimulate cell repair mechanisms, resulting in a smooth and flawless base. It also provides a filling and firming action that increases collagen synthesis which in turn prevents the likelihood of ageing caused by environmental factors.
Let the experts behind Murad whisk away any insecurities around stretch marks with their Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment. This powerful formula fills pitted scars from the very moment its applied, reducing their depth, texture and size for instantly flawless results. It even tackles the severity of discolouration with a vitamin blend!
As expected, Bio Oil remains at the top of our list! This nifty cult-classic has worked its magic on stretch marks and scars for quite some time, making it the go-to treatment for both men and women alike. It contains a unique blend of calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile oils that work together with vitamins A and E to heal the skin. We love this oil for its silky-soft texture and potent results!
Minimise the severity of stretch marks with this lavish lotion from Clarins. Focusing on increasing elasticity and firmness, this special formula comforts the skin to provide a healthy exterior that banishes the first signs of stretch marks. Centella asiatica and organic green banana extract work together to visibly reduce the colour, length, width and depth of stretch marks, making it a must-have for those looking to fight back against scarring.
Treat any budding stretch marks with this cruelty-free formula from Cowshed. Enriched with vitamin E, calendula, jojoba and patchouli oils, this velvety oil sinks quickly in and gets to work on healing broken skin, providing a healthy base that feels springy and hydrated.
If you liked this guide, you may also want to check out our blog on The Best Acne Scar Treatments for Blemish-Free Skin.
Written by Ellie Child
With five years’ experience under her belt, Ellie has worked alongside a range of highly regarded makeup artists, giving her a real insight into what consumers should be spending their money on.