If you have stretch marks, you’ve probably heard that you are stuck with them and should learn to live with it. This is actually not the case. It is true that no one product can get rid of them. But you can fade stretch marks to the point that they are barely even noticeable. Some dedicated individuals can completely eliminate them, but it takes a year or more of consistent use of serious skin care products.
Many stretch mark creams do help reduce stretch marks. By using them alone however, you are unlikely to get the improvement you’re hoping for. The trick is to add exfoliation to your routine. Stretch marks are scars in the lower layers of the skin, not on top. Exfoliation helps get these creams to the source of the issue.
The thing to remember about exfoliation is that you have to go slow and work your way up. The skin takes time to adjust to a new routine. It is very possible to damage and scar your skin by using a very strong product right away. This same product will be more effective and less irritating by using milder products first. Don’t set yourself back by trying to speed up the process, especially if you are feeling insecure and desperate. It is common to have this reaction because of the stigma attached to stretch marks. No matter what, your skin has to rebuild itself, which can take a lot of time. You can always move on to a stronger product or method, but it is far more difficult to remove additional damage.
Mild exfoliation eliminates dead skin cells and other debris, which allows the cream to actually penetrate the real skin instead of being trapped on top. This can be accomplished manually with a good loofah or body scrub, or chemically with a low level alpha hydroxy acid product. This helps, but fading stretch marks usually requires you to move on to stronger exfoliation.
Heavy exfoliation involves peeling off the first layers of skin, so that when the fresh skin is exposed and rejuvenated, it heals with a less severe stretch mark. Chemical peels aren’t just for your face. They can really help fade stretch marks. You need to start with a mild product before you start using strong peels. Try something that has around 10% – 15% lactic or glycolic acid at first. Then gradually work your way up to the 30% – 50% level. Body skin is thicker than facial skin, so you’ll probably be able to move faster than you would if you were using peels on your face. Men have thicker skin than women, so they may need to move up to a strong product before they see any results at all. Unfortunately, they’ll still have to go through the acclimation process to avoid irritation. You must use sunblock while peeling because the skin will burn much easier.
You also need to work your way up to exfoliating frequently. If you’d like the process to move as quickly as possible, you will eventually want to peel around 4 times a week. Even once you are at that level, it is helpful to occasionally take 3 days or more off to let your skin rest and catch up. Most people can use a mild body scrub or loofah daily.
Exfoliation alone can fade stretch marks effectively. But you’ll need to use a rejuvenating or stretch mark cream to heal the skin, especially if you are peeling. Heavy exfoliation is basically controlled damage that stimulates the skin to heal itself. Products with active ingredients give the skin what it needs to heal properly. If you do too much damage and no rejuvenation, your skin won’t be able to keep up and may end up looking worse. If you can find the right balance for your skin, which can vary a lot from individual to individual, you’ll be able to fade stretch marks to an acceptable level.
Many people will not have the money, time, and determination to completely eliminate stretch marks. But you can probably improve the appearance of your stretch marks quite a bit without such dedication. It will take a long time to see results however. Expect several months to go by before you can really see a difference.
Fading stretch marks will usually take a long time. Some people will take up to 2 months just to be able to use the strong peels that are required to really work on the damage hidden beneath the skin. The basic premise is to constantly remove and renew the affected skin. Even if you can’t move up to the strong peels or don’t have the time to exfoliate often, you can still fade stretch marks. It will just take longer.