I Tried 5 Stretch-Mark Treatments—Here Are My Honest Reviews


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Over the years, I’ve developed stretch marks (as many of us have) due to a few different factors. First, there was puberty. I went from a super-skinny kid to a curvy teenager in what felt like overnight. As such, I grew faster than my body was used to, and those annoying marks showed up along my body. Then there was the inevitable college weight gain that occurred during my four-year stay in the beer-and-cheese capital of America.

I’ve grown used to them, barely noticing them when I dress or undress, and the shame that came along with them during my teenage years has generally subsided. I like my body, and I’m not worried about the stigma that is still attached to stretch marks. That being said, feeling proud of your body (all its curves and edges) and wanting to reduce the appearance of stretch marks don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I can embrace body positivity and still try out the various treatments available to smooth them out. So that’s exactly what I did.

But first, some research. I talked to Scott Wells, a New Yorkbased plastic surgeon known for his holistic approach. He explained what stretch marks are and what causes them to form in the first place. “To best understand what a stretch mark is,” Wells began, “one first needs to better understand the anatomy of skin. Skin is composed of a thicker deeper layer called the dermis. The dermis is essentially a complex weave of collagen fibers somewhat similar to a woven fabric. Overlying this deeper foundation layer is a thin veneer of living cells called the epidermisA stretch mark is a tear in the collagen fabric of the dermis that occurs whenever the skin is stretched beyond its tensile limits. The tear in the collagen fabric is analogous to a run in a stocking. Because the epidermis remains intact, what appears is an area of weakness in the skin underneath the intact epidermis layer. This is visible as a lighter appearing linear wrinkling under the skin, commonly known as a stretch mark.”

But why do they happen? “The most common cause is a rapid stretching of the skin as occurs in the abdominal region during pregnancy or in the hips and leg region with rapid weight gain,” Wells explained. “It can occur, however, anywhere there is rapid stretching of the skin. Stretch marks also commonly occur during adolescence due to the hormonal alteration in the skin to accommodate growth.” I’d heard a lot of conflicting advice concerning the treatment of stretch marks—there are so many creams, oils, lasers, and other products out there—but do they actually work? I set out to find an answer by trying five of the top-rated treatments available. 

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