Stretch Mark Treatment

Latest update: April 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jennifer Trent MD, FAAD
How it works


Stretch marks are scars that develop from rapid skin stretching or shrinking. They appear as lines or bands anywhere on the body but are most common on the stomach, breasts, arms, legs, and hips. As with other scars, these marks are permanent. They can fade with age but will never disappear completely. 

It is unclear why some people develop stretch marks, and others do not. The reason could be hormonal or genetic or due to medications or medical conditions. There are also gender implications, as women tend to get stretch marks more often than men do. While the scars don’t tend to cause pain, they can be unsightly and affect a person’s confidence.

Before deciding what treatment will work best for a patient, doctors consider how old the stretch marks are and the patient’s skin type. The patient’s expectations and budget should be considered when determining a treatment plan.

There are various treatment options available.

Creams: Retinoid (also known as tretinoin) creams and hyaluronic acid can help with new stretch marks. They can reduce the appearance or prevent worsening. Retinoids are not considered safe during pregnancy as they may harm the baby.

Microneedling: In this non-surgical treatment, a handheld device creates numerous tiny micro-injuries. This stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. The treatment can help fade stretch marks. The patient will experience swelling, redness, and sensitivity for a couple of days after the treatment. Microneedling can be combined with other treatments, like radiofrequency or platelet-rich plasma. This improves results by boosting more collagen and encouraging more cell repair.

Light and laser therapies: Fractional lasers can be used to target deeper parts of the skin. Ablative lasers can strip away the epidermis to focus the energy on the deeper layer. The laser emits concentrated beams of light that stimulate the production of collagen. 

Other treatments that fade stretch marks include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, radiofrequency skin resurfacing, and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). In some instances, the dermatologist may opt to combine treatments for higher efficiency.
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How to Fade Stretch Marks

Physician Assistant, Diana, discusses how to fade stretch marks. She covers various options starting from topical creams to clinic procedures. She looks at each method in detail. With regards to seeking assistance from your dermatologist, she explains that the treatments will focus on reducing the texture and color of the stretch marks. She runs through the various options that dermatologists have and describes how the procedures work. Which option would you choose?

This Laser Removes Stretch Marks!

The SASS is back! And this time, they’re targeting Sharzad’s stretch marks. The ladies start off by talking about the reasons for Sharzad’s stretch marks and then head out to Nurse Jamie in Los Angeles to have laser treatment performed. Nurse Jamie explains that treating stretch marks is about both the texture and the color. She explains who the treatment works on and who should avoid using this. They discuss how the treatment will feel and how many sessions the patient will need. Will the trip downtown be worth it when Sharzad sees the results?