Most of us have stretch marks. They appear for so many different reasons that very few people are spared from getting their stripes at one stage of their life or another. Whether yours developed during puberty, while gaining muscle or fat mass, or during pregnancy, you might be looking to diminish their appearance. But looking for serums, oils, and stretch mark creams that work can be super confusing. To make things clearer for you, we’re breaking down what stretch marks actually are, how you can soothe them and reduce their appearance.
Stretch marks 101
Can you remove stretch marks?
In short, no. You can’t remove stretch marks with skincare, but you can make them less visible over time. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains that stretch marks are a type of scar, so applying similar principles to scar care is a good starting point. Treating stretch marks as early as possible is essential, as is regularly massaging your skin where the marks have developed. As if you needed an excuse to get to know your body better! Spending some time caring for your new scars and stretch marks will be super worthwhile in the long run, and your body will feel the love. The AAD also advises that you stick with your skincare over time: find a product or products that you enjoy using and have the right ingredients (more on that below) and stick with that routine. It will take weeks of diligent application for you to see results, so patience is key here.
How do you get rid of deep stretch marks?
Deeper stretch marks are more common where your skin has experienced a decent amount of change in a short space of time. So if you’re looking for how to remove stretch marks from breasts, you’re likely dealing with deeper scars than, say, arm stretch marks. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and everyone’s skin is different (which is pretty damn cool)! Wherever your deep stretch marks are on your body, you’ll want to follow a solid skincare routine, but you might want to add in some micro-needling to help your skin regenerate. If you’re struggling to care for your stretch marks on your own, a dermatologist will be able to help you create a skincare routine to reduce their appearance over time.
What is the best treatment for stretch marks?
The best treatment for your stretch marks will ultimately depend on your skin type, your lifestyle, and the results you’re looking for. The most common - and least invasive - option is good skincare. Much like treating concerns for the skin on your face, there are body skincare products that draw on specific ingredients to improve the appearance of your skin. Although minimally invasive options are widely available, dermatologists can offer some more invasive options if that’s more what you’re looking for. These vary from microdermabrasion to more invasive surgical procedures.
What vitamins help with stretch marks?
Vitamin C is the star of the show when it comes to caring for your stretch marks. But vitamin E deserves an honorable mention too. Dermatologist Dr. Maria Robinson explains that Vitamin C helps to support collagen production (more on that below), while vitamin E works as an antioxidant. Fortunately, some innovative skincare ingredients combine the benefits of both nutrients, such as ice wine. The component is made from grapes that were frozen while growing and delivers both vitamins C and E. It leaves skin feeling more plump and hydrated and works in the long run to reduce the appearance of stretch marks; pretty cool, right?!
How do you get rid of old stretch marks naturally?
We’ll be honest: because stretch marks are actually scars, treating old stretch marks is a bit more complicated than taking care of new ones. If you’re looking for how to remove stretch marks naturally, moisturizing and giving your skin the nutrients it needs will be essential. Massaging your stretch marks with oils can be beneficial for stretch marks too. Oils such as olive oil and almond oil are a good choice and will leave your skin feeling nice and moisturized too. If you’re looking to add extra nutrients to your massage mix, some good essential oils for scars and stretch marks include celery, carrot, and parsley. These essential oils have been found to improve scar healing in a laboratory setting.
Let’s talk about skincare.
Is vitamin C serum good for stretch marks?
Vitamin C is good for reducing the appearance of stretch marks, and there’s science behind why it works so well. To explain this, firstly, we will need to look at what a stretch mark actually is and how it forms. It’ll make sense in a minute, promise. Your skin is a structure supported by collagen and elastin, both of which can rupture under stress. These stressors include a rapid expansion or shrinking, creating these long, thin scars known as stretch marks. Like if you stretch a balloon really hard before inflating it, it gets those little wrinkles on it… It’s the same principle.
Some vitamins support collagen and elastin to help them heal better, one of which is vitamin C. In a 2001 study, scientists found that applying vitamin C to stretch marks daily would improve collagen and elastin production, leading to improved appearance of scars. When you’re looking for products rich in vitamin C, look for oil-based products in particular. Marula oil, for example, is rich in vitamin C (along with lots of other beneficial nutrients).
Is hyaluronic acid good for stretch marks?
Along with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid is also a key ally in supporting collagen and elastin production. The same 2001 study found that combining vitamin C and hyaluronic acid further improved the appearance of stretch marks over time.
Nothing is stopping you from layering skincare on your stretch marks just like you would on other parts of your body, in which case looking for two serums, one rich in vitamin C and another in hyaluronic acid, could be a great option. Alternatively, there are many stretch marks and scar-specific products on the market that are designed to deliver hydration and nutrients to help your scars heal well.
Our top picks
- If you want a body skincare duo that’s firming and has all the vitamins your skin needs to repair stretch marks, try out Bawdy’s Super Tight Duo.
- Our favorite Vitamin C concentrated serum for stretch marks is Obagi Professional C Serum. It’s pretty potent, so you might prefer to add it to an aqueous cream as a base.
- This Necessaire serum is excellent if you’re just looking for a hyaluronic acid body toner. It’s the perfect supplement for your everyday moisturizer.