Secrets to diminish stretch marks

Stretch marks begin in the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) if that layer is constantly stretched to its limit.

by Jeannie Marcelino — 

In case you have not heard, our skin does not bounce back after it is been stretched dramatically due to pregnancy or extreme weight gain and loss. Stretched skin forms scars that appear purplish or even red, which eventually turn to silvery-white, veiny-looking lines, known as stretch marks.

Stretch marks begin in the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) if that layer is constantly stretched to its limit. When the dermis can no longer handle the stress of being stretched out too many times, it breaks down and the purplish scars result.

While there are no known elixirs to make stretch marks completely vanish, there are several treatments and solutions that can make them less noticeable.

New moms and people who have lost a lot of weight can be frustrated that they have developed these unsightly scars. Thankfully, the spa industry has come up with several great options to diminish the appearance of stretch marks. Some of these options have resulted in dramatic changes for clients, helping them regain their confidence — especially when it comes to wearing skin-revealing garments, like tank tops, shorts and bathing suits.

Exfoliation is the key to eliminating dead cells on the top layer of the skin and letting the newer skin shine through.

Lightwave laser therapy is a popular method used to diminish stretch marks. It is a noninvasive, painless and affordable way to re-energize the skin and encourage new cell growth from underneath the tissue. Lightwave therapy helps minimize visible scarring; at the same time, it softens the skin and flattens out the unsightly silvery marks. Each session lasts about 20 minutes, and after approximately 10 sessions, clients will notice a significant improvement in their skin.

Another noninvasive solution is Tretinoin cream, better known as Retin-A®, which can be an effective stretch mark reducer because of its ability to increase collagen function. This cream eliminates dead skin and lets healthier skin come out from underneath, thus improving the tone by making it look smoother and more even. In the same vein, a glycolic-acid peel can also help to slough off the dead cells from the outer layer to let new skin emerge.

Microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing exfoliate the top layer of skin with fine crystal granules. Results are visible after just three treatments of either procedure. Stretch marks seem lighter, and skin tone is more even.

Remember that creams and treatments do not make stretch marks vanish completely, but there are many effective ways to make them less noticeable.


Jeannie Marcelino is spa director for Suddenly Slimmer Day Spa — a medSpa that offers anti-aging, wellness and other services, including Oriental medicine, Ayurveda therapies and homeopathy. 602-952-8446 or or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 3, June/July 2010.

June 2011.

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