Stretch marks, also called striae, happen when your skin changes shape rapidly due to growth or weight gain. They aren’t a sign that anything’s wrong with your health.

Both men and women can get stretch marks. Pregnancy and puberty are the two most common times stretch marks may appear.

At first, a stretch mark will appear as a thin red or purple line on your skin. They usually take on a different texture than the surrounding skin. Eventually, most stretch marks fade and take on a white or almost translucent coloring.

Getting rid of stretch marks in a natural way isn’t likely. They’re a type of scarring and rarely fade enough to become invisible. However, there are some remedies that can help minimize their appearance and help them to fade more quickly.

Vitamin A is referred to as a retinoid. Retinoids make skin appear . They’re used in many over-the-counter topical cosmetic creams.

Simply using a topical vitamin A extract or taking a supplement can contribute to your skin’s health and overall appearance.

Retinoid creams, such as tretinoin (Retin-A), may help the appearance of stretch marks. A diet rich in certain foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, might also help you increase your vitamin A levels.

Some people swear by sugar as a homeopathic microdermabrasion method. Microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist is one of the few methods to help stretch marks fade.

Rubbing a on your skin will exfoliate the area.

Mix 1 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of a softening agent, such as or , before mixing to the consistency of wet beach sand. Add some lemon juice.

Scrub the mixture onto your stretch marks. Repeat several times a week while in the shower, making sure to rub the mixture on for 8 to10 minutes.

While little clinical evidence exists for aloe vera as a stretch mark cure, pure aloe vera is both a natural healing agent and a skin softener. This makes it an ideal home remedy to try for stretch marks.

Apply pure gel to your stretch marks daily after your shower.

Collagen is the protein in your skin that allows it to keep its shape and appear healthy. As we age, collagen decreases in our face and our bodies. can .

Hyaluronic acid can be absorbed in a face serum or by consuming a commercially available capsule or extract.

has been for its healing properties in animals and may reduce the time it takes for skin wounds to heal. Since stretch marks occur from skin damage, coconut oil might help heal the appearance quickly.

Applying virgin coconut oil to your stretch marks each day might take away some of their red appearance.

Laser therapy, needling, and microdermabrasion are three clinical treatments for stretch marks.

Microdermabrasion involves exfoliating the skin in a way that at-home remedies can’t. In , microdermabrasion improved the appearance of stretch marks.

Needling, which is a relatively new treatment in which collagen is injected underneath the top layer of your skin, is also .

Most of these treatments aren’t typically covered by insurance, and they can be costly. Only a dermatologist can tell you whether you’re a candidate for these procedures.

There are common misconceptions about stretch marks and who gets them. The truth is that genetics are the strongest predictor. According to the Mayo Clinic, women are more likely to get them, and of pregnant women get them.

Other risk factors include:

  • being on corticosteroid medication
  • losing or gaining weight rapidly
  • having breast enlargement surgery

The best treatment for stretch marks appears to be prevention. By keeping your skin hydrated, you can help keep the elastin that your skin needs to keep from scarring. Using topical creams such as coconut oil will keep your skin moisturized and make stretch marks less likely.

Even without treatment, almost all stretch marks will fade over time. Stretch marks don’t usually stay as prominent as when they first appear.

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