Because teenagers are growing at a rapid pace, it is common for stretch marks to occur. Also known as striae, stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched beyond its growth capacity. Most teenagers experience stretch marks on areas where rapid growth occurs, such as the breast, thighs, hips or buttocks. Because teenagers cannot prevent nor anticipate growth spurts, it is important to treat promptly.
Apply an over-the-counter cream designed to treat scars or stretch marks to the affected area. Examples include Mederma, which is a gel designed to soften and minimize scars, which you apply three to four times a day. Another treatment is Cellex-C serum, which contains products designed to stimulate collagen and elastin production, which can give the skin a tighter appearance.
Engage in regular exercise, which may help the stretch marks from further developing. Because stretch marks occur when the skin grows too quickly, exercising can prevent a teenager from gaining fat that can cause stretch marks to expand.
Drink six to eight glasses of water per day. Water helps to keep the skin hydrated, which can help to keep stretch marks soft and supple, meaning they are easier to treat. When the skin is dehydrated, it means the skin is better able to repair itself.
Stick to a healthy diet high in vitamins A and C. Good choices for these foods include oranges, grapefruits, spinach, carrots, peaches and milk. The skin requires these vitamins to make collagen and elastin, which helps to heal stretch marks. By consuming a diet high in these vitamins, stretch marks may reduce in appearance more quickly.
While stretch marks may appear red or purple when they first develop, they will fade to almost flesh-toned over time. Applying a self-tanning gel or lotion may help to reduce stretch marks' appearance.
Teenagers should avoid tanning, which may cause stretch marks to appear discolored against skin that does not have stretch marks. If a teen must go in the sun, apply sunscreen of a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.