What Can Help with Stretch Mark Removal: The Products To Try At Home
6 minutes read
Let’s put the record straight: Stretch marks are normal. Both men and women of all demographics, shapes, ages and sizes around the world get them and they are nothing to be ashamed of. If you want to take a look to see just how typical they are, then check out #loveyourlines; there are over 46k posts dedicated to the silver, red or purple streaks that adorn shoulders, breasts, hips, thighs, bums and tums.
Of course, learning to love your body can be a process and we all want to make the best of what we’ve got. So, should you want the skin to look more even, then there are certainly some fail-proof methods to make limbs look glowing with health and the tricks – perhaps not to get rid of stretch marks entirely – but maybe make them more subtle – if YOU want to.
We do seem to be a bit obsessed with ‘stretchies’ when you consider that Google has over 6.6 million posts on the subject. The power of numbers is no surprise when you think that eight out of ten women in the UK and 40% of men sport some kind of stretch mark.
According to the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, around 80% of females who develop stretch marks do so after pregnancy, and 70% of girls and 40% of boys get them during puberty. So, what can be done about them? What causes them? Are there tried and tested methods to get rid of stretch marks? And do stretch marks ever go away? Read on.
What are the main causes of stretch marks?
The NHS lists the following as the most common causes:
- Pregnancy: 43% to 88% of stretch marks are attributed to this.
- Puberty: Growing spurts – 6% to 86% can be down to growing alone.
- Weight gain or loss: 43% of people suffer from stretch marks and can be attributed to extreme dieting or quick weight gain. This includes bulking up in the gym.
- Hormonal changes.
- Genetics: Yes, they can run in the family. Researchers examined the DNA of more than 760,000 people and found there are 544 ‘genetic markers’ linked to stretch marks.
The medical term for stretch marks is ‘striae’. The most common reasons for this are growth spurts, weight gain and pregnancy.
They result from the skin stretching, thinning and losing its elasticity.
The middle layer of the skin, the dermis, is made of strong interconnected fibres. Typically, these fibres allow your skin to stretch as your body grows, but these fibers can break if you grow too quickly, which often happens in pregnancy or when you gain weight all over or if you build muscle mass quickly in one area. The tears in the dermis allow the blood vessels to show through. When this happens, stretch marks appear.
They manifest in different sizes, forms and colours and have long been a mystery as they are challenging to treat and get rid of.
How come some women never get stretch marks, even during pregnancy? According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it depends on a woman’s fluctuating hormone levels. Genetics also plays a part. So, if your mother had stretch marks, it’s likely you will, too.
Do stretch marks ever go away?
Why do some people get stretch marks while others don’t? According to Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager: “it’s all about the amount of elastin in the skin, and that will differ from person to person.” She recommends, “Keeping skin supple and applying products that help improve the elasticity. The Tonic Body Treatment Oil, £44 improves elasticity in the skin so it can better accommodate changes such as weight gain or loss. Additionally, Body Partner, £40 helps prevent stretch marks, and minimises the appearance of existing stretch marks.”
It has been recommended hundreds of times – and on the Clarins website, it has 5-star reviews.
While stretch marks are thought of as permanent scars that may never completely disappear, there are ways to make them less noticeable. Choose hard-working skincare products that can achieve excellent results.
As a last resort, you may want professional help. Turn to a doctor who can maybe suggest a treatment course tailored to you. Non-surgical methods include using fractional laser light and Dermapen to create controlled trauma to the skin’s tissue, stimulating new collagen and elastin growth.
Researchers have reviewed many of the available stretch mark products on the market, and according to this study, how you apply the products can also improve their effectiveness. It says:
- The moment stretch marks appear, invest in a scientifically-proven product that will improve elasticity.
- Massage the product slowly and gently into your stretch marks. Oils are particularly good on damp skin.
- Routine is key: get into the habit of applying the product every single day.
Male stretch marks
It’s not just the bane of pregnant women. But, male stretch marks are apparently on the rise and over a third of stretch mark products are now bought by men.
They show on the shoulders, biceps, stomach, back and legs. One of the reasons for the prevalence is the ‘quick-bulk’ tutorials showing up on Instagram, along with the possible side effects of steroid use.
If you increase your muscle size too rapidly, your skin might not be able to accommodate it. So, it would help if you played the long game when it comes to bulking up.
Our 4 best things to get rid of stretch marks
What can get rid of stretch marks? There are numerous products on the market, including stretch mark creams, lotions and gels, that can help you reduce stretch marks’ appearance. Here’s our tried and tested methods:
- Rub up the right way. An Exfoliating Body Scrub, £32 is a crucial step to helping reduce the appearance of stretch marks and to prepare it for the treatment that follows – after all you don’t want your hard-working product to be battling through a top layer of dead and dry skin.
- Invest in science-back formulas. Try Body Partner, £40: This Stretch mark expert with a molecule extracted from centella asiatica is blended with banana, that not only helps reduce stretch mark length, width, depth and colour but also helps in preventing new lines from forming.
- Indulge in oil. Try the Tonic Body Treatment Oil, £44: Clarins’ best-selling firming body oil is known for effective stretch mark removal. It contains 100% pure, potent plant extracts including Rosemary, Geranium and Mint and assists in firming, toning and improving the skin’s elasticity, smoothing the appearance of stretch marks.
Quick fix: camouflage!
An even skin tone can help to disguise stretch marks, especially if they are fresh and looking red and angry. This is where your self-tanner is very useful. If pregnant, read Your Complete Pregnancy Safe Self-Tan Guide. You may also want to bookmark our guide on the skincare ingredients to avoid during pregnancy.