Stretch marks, also called striae, look like pink, purple or white streaks that spread across your skin. They occur because your skin stretches too quickly, such as during pregnancy or weight gain. Many treatments claim to reduce or eliminate stretch marks, but the truth is, there's no sure-fire cure for stretch marks. Your skin needs time to help regenerate collagen and fade stretch marks. You can help speed up this process and improve your skin's health and appearance through treatments like exfoliation. Choose one exfoliating treatment, as multiple exfoliating treatments can irritate skin and make stretch marks look worse.
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Practice daily skin brushing to improve your skin's texture and lessen the appearance of stretch marks. Use a soft bristle brush, and start at your feet each morning before your shower. Brush in an upward motion three to five times over each area of your skin. Use firm strokes to stimulate blood flow to the top layer of your skin and to slough away dull, dead skin at the surface.
Use an exfoliating scrub daily in your shower. Choose a scrub with visible beads or grains that feels coarse when you rub it on your skin. Gently exfoliate the skin on and around your stretch marks in a gently circular motion. Rinse the excess scrub away.
Wash with a loofah in the shower with your regular soap or body wash to help slough away the top layer of skin. Follow with a moisturizing lotion after you dry off that contains collagen and elastin to help strengthen skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Apply a lotion that contains a chemical exfoliant, like Retin-A. These creams help speed up your skin's turnover rate while also helping rebuild collagen levels. Increased collagen makes your skin appear tighter.
Have a microdermabrasion treatment at a spa or dermatologist's office. This treatment uses air pressure to spray powdered crystals against your skin. The crystals exfoliate away the entire top layer of your skin. The new skin that grows in to replace your old skin may be more elastic, which could make your stretch marks appear smaller and lighter.