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Stretch Marks (cont.)

Self-Care at Home

A variety of products can be purchased over the counter for improving the appearance of stretch marks. There are anecdotal stories of cocoa butter, emu oil, vitamin E, and other oils aiding in the prevention and treatment of stretch marks. Another option is an over-the-counter moisturizing cream for stretch marks containing onion extract with hyarolunic acid and centella asiatica, which is in development. The most common dermatologist-recommended treatment for stretch marks is massage. Massaging the skin in a circular motion with oil on the finger to reduce friction is helpful in stretching the skin collagen and elastin, making it more pliable and more normal appearing.

Prevention

The prevention of stretch marks is challenging. It appears that stretch marks do not occur when the stretching of the skin is gradual rather than abrupt. Thus, rapid changes in body size should be avoided if possible. Since stretch marks represent small scars, rapid growth of the body can result in tearing of the skin and more stretch marks. Slower changes in body size may allow the skin to adjust more gradually. People with better skin elasticity and less rigid collagen are less likely to develop stretch marks, but it is not possible to modify these skin characteristics at present.

Outlook

The outlook for stretch marks is excellent, as their appearance typically improves with time and treatment is not required. The presence of stretch marks during pregnancy has been associated with pelvic relaxation, resulting in prolapse of the pelvic organs with advancing age. Other medical associations, outside of endocrinologic diseases such as Cushing's syndrome, have not been demonstrated.

Medically reviewed by A Board Certified Family Practice Physician


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/15/2014
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