You work hard to keep your skin and body looking their best.
There’s just one problem: those pesky white stretch marks that just won’t go away.
Don’t give up hope, though! Try these tricks to remove your white stretch marks and keep them gone for good.
What Are Stretch Marks, Anyway?
Your skin is flexible and elastic, but that doesn’t mean that all those years of movement don’t add up.
Over time, stretching causes your skin to form the scars we know as stretch marks.
Stretch marks are commonly found on the arms, stomach, legs and breasts. They’re completely harmless and don’t pose any threat to your health, but many people dislike their appearance.
Rapid weight gain is one of the most common causes of stretch marks, though they can also be caused by rapid weight loss.
Pregnancy, puberty, breast augmentation, hormonal disorders, rapid muscle gain and topical steroid use can also cause stretch marks.
What’s the Difference Between Red and White Stretch Marks?
When stretch marks first form, they appear red or purple due to the blood vessels that lay just under the skin. Over time, these blood vessels shrink, causing the stretch marks to lose their red tinge. When this happens, they become white, similar to the way that other types of scars lose their coloration over time. All stretch marks start out red and become white with age. If you have white stretch marks, chances are that they’ve been there for many years.
How to Remove Old Stretch Marks
Exfoliate to Remove Mild Stretch Marks
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells, either by using physical particles (physical exfoliation) or by using a chemical solution (chemical exfoliation).
Physical exfoliants include sugar scrubs and microbead scrubs. Chemical exfoliants include salicylic acid and lactic acid.
Removing the dead skin cells on and around your stretch marks can make the marks appear less prominent. If they’re very mild stretch marks, exfoliation can make them nearly invisible.
Although exfoliation alone isn’t effective on more severe stretch marks, it can help topical creams and other treatments penetrate deeper into the marks, increasing their effectiveness.
That’s why it’s worth the time to exfoliate your stretch marks before beginning other treatments.
Try Microdermabrasion for More Stubborn Stretch Marks
Microdermabrasion is an in-office procedure that’s performed by an esthetician or dermatologist.
It involves the use of a special device with a tip comprised of tiny crystals. As the device moves over your body, the crystals remove the top layer of your skin — it’s exfoliation taken to the next level.
The crystals also stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that helps your skin heal from wounds and protect itself from future damage.
After several microdermabrasion sessions, many people report that even their more severe stretch marks are significantly reduced or even eliminated.
Microdermabrasion is generally painless, though some people report a stinging, burning or tender sensation. Mild swelling and redness are also to be expected after each session.
Remove All Types of Stretch Marks with Microneedling
Like microdermabrasion, microneedling also involves the use of a special device. Instead of crystals, however, a microneedling device is tipped with tiny needles.
These needles poke microscopic holes in your skin, activating your body’s collagen and elastin production. The new proteins are then sent to repair the tiny holes, healing your stretch marks in the process.
Microneedling can be painful, so many people prefer to have it done by a professional, But if you’re feeling brave, you can use an at-home microneedling device to save you time and money.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks from Forming
Keep Your Weight in Check
Stretch marks form when the skin is stretched rapidly, which makes periods of weight gain and loss the riskiest for stretch mark development.
This is especially true as you age, since older skin is less elastic and has more trouble returning to its previous shape.
If you gain or lose a lot of weight over a short period of time, your skin won’t be able to grow or shrink accordingly. You’ll end up with stretch marks due to the stress and weakness your skin experiences during these times.
The best way to prevent stretch marks is to maintain your weight. If you want to gain or lose weight, do so slowly to give your skin time to adjust and prevent the formation of stretch marks.
Get Plenty of Vitamins A and C
Supplying your skin with the right vitamins is key to keeping it healthy.
And when it comes to stretch mark prevention, there’s nothing more important than vitamins A and C.
Vitamins A and C are essential for collagen production. Skin with high collagen production is more resilient against stretch marks — and is better able to repair existing stretch marks.
You can increase your vitamin intake by eating healthy foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, broccoli and squash. Additionally, you can incorporate vitamin A and C serums into your skincare routine to deliver the vitamins where they’re most needed.
We know now that proper collagen levels are the secret to preventing and getting rid of stretch marks.
But if your skin is dehydrated, it has no hope of producing enough collagen to accomplish these goals.
If you want to boost collagen production and prevent stretch marks, make sure you’re drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. You can supplement this by eating water-rich foods like lettuce, watermelon and soup.
And you can directly rehydrate your stretch marks by applying humectants like hyaluronic acid. These transport water to your skin cells to instantly rehydrate them.
Try a Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
If you know you’re at high risk of developing stretch marks — if you’re pregnant, for instance, or if you’re in the process of gaining weight — then a stretch mark prevention cream may be just what you need.
Stretch mark prevention creams are loaded with moisturizers and humectants to keep your skin cells hydrated.
Many also contain soothing ingredients like shea butter to reduce irritation. Calmer skin is more resilient skin, so it’s less likely to develop stretch marks.
For a double whammy, choose a cream that contains vitamins to naturally increase your collagen production and stave off stretch marks for longer.