How Do I Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

What works for stretch marks?  Is there any cream or lotion I can use?

Doctor Answers 17

Ultherapy Risks

Ultherapy for facial rejuvenation may be new, but the use of this treatment’s ultrasound technology goes back many years. What’s more, it has been proven very safe. Are there any risks associated with Ultherapy? There could be some nerve irritation, which would cause a temporary numbness that resolves quickly. Other than that, the procedure can cause some discomfort. Most patients say Ultherapy is highly tolerable, especially after they see their results. However, those with a very low threshold to pain may find the treatment something they feel they can’t tolerate.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Early or late stretch marks?

Early stretch marks can respond v v well to vascular lasers combined with vitamin A creams. This laser reduces the redness, but also the diameter/size of stretch marks, you will require 3-5 treatments every 2 weeks for best results. 

OK, if they are late onset (ie. white papery stretch marks), then the probability of reducing the look and size decreases, various fractional devices such as CO2 , Erbium, RF have been used, but the results are extremely individualised and variable. 

Hope this helps, 


Dr Davin Lim 
Brisbane and Gold Coast

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

How Do I Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

Since creams and lotions do not work, it is nice to have a real treatment at this time for stretch marks that is effective. The Palomar Lux 1540 is FDA approved for the treatment of stretch marks. After tyring other laser for ten years to see if they would help, it was nice to finally have a laser that is effective and safe. Many lasers are on the market for other indications, and doctors and patients were always hopeful that some of them could be used for stretch marks as well as their approved indications, e.g. hair removal. However, they did not work for stretch marks and had a common side effect of hyperpigmenting the skin. Althought there is a small risk of post treatment hyperpigmentation with the Palomar Lux 1540, it is usually transient and can be treated or pre-treated in darker skinned patients with hydroquinone. It is important to realize that "treating" stretch marks is done to improve their appearance in a way that is satisfying to patients. Since a stretch mark is like a scar, with thin, attenuated abnormal skin, it can not be erased and made to appear like normal skin. But the treatment does thicken the skin, make the shininess diminish, make the width narrower, creates a more healthy skin structure by repopulating the stretch mark with collagen and elasic fibers and so makes the stretch-mark containing skin look more normal. There is a very high patient satisfaction rate with Lux 1540 fractional laser treatment. One should plan on at least 4-6 treatments at three week intervals and be patient while the changes are occurring.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Stretch mark cure?

A stretch mark occurs when the tissue underneath the skin enlarges more than the overlying skin can stretch.  This causes the thick deep part of the skin (the dermis) to rip apart but the top layer of the skin does not rip.  The results is an area of skin which is very thin next to a normal thickness area.  The resultant stretch mark is often blue or purple at first but eventually becomes lighter than the surrounding skin and less noticeable.  The ability of the skin to stretch is determined by the amount of elastin in the dermis.  Some people have a lot and therefore get no stretch marks while others have very little and therefore get them easily.  

There is no cure for a stretch mark but there may be ways to make them less noticeable.    You can hasten the maturation to a lighter color through a variety of laser treatments.  For mature stretch marks you can camouflage them with make up or cut them out with surgery.

You can not prevent them no matter what lotions you put on your skin.  I have heard people swear by everything from Vit E, to lotions, to coco butter but in reality the elastin is in the genes or it is not.  Topical agents are not going to increase the elastin in the skin so save your money.

Getting Rid of Stretch Marks

"Stretch Marks" are a misnomer. These are not marks but full-thickness skin cracks. As the skin is rapidly stretched by obesity or pregnancy the skin actually cracks. Initially, the fault lines are filled by blood vessels and immature scar tissue but with time as the blood vessels go away they are replaced by silvery scar tissue. Since these scars extend the full thickness of the damaged skin they cannot be erased by ANY chemical, laser or treatment currently on the market. If you hear of a treatment that promises to rid you of your stretch marks, I will guarantee the "treatment" will be far more effective in getting rid of your hard earned money!

The ONLY way to get rid of stretch marks are body contouring operations such as Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty in which the loose lower tummy skin removed may have a large portion of the stretch marks.

Dr. Peter A Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Lasers can help lessen stretch marks

The question whether creams help for the treatment of stretch marks is open. I have found that use of several creams prior to laser treatment is helpful. If utilized alone they don't usually make too much of a difference except for the occasional ' great responder' . The creams that I utilize most are the alphahydroxyacids and retinoic acid in varying concentrations depending on the skin type and the severity of the problem. I have also had great success utilizing the pulsed dye laser as well as other lasers including The fraxel,excimer, and erbium lasers. The average improvement in my published studies on over 100 patients was between 50 to 65 per cent depending on the variable being analyzed. The variables include the color, extent of skin depression , surface texture, elasticity, and the extent of lesions. The area of the body, the skin color,and the extent are some of the many variables which may help determine the number of treatments and the likelihood of success. Our patients have had great success with the treatment if they are patient for the 2 to 4 treatments required. With additional laser treatments we can achieve even higher success.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Palomar Lux 1540 Laser works best!

Until now there were few options for stretch mark treatments. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Palomar's fractional laser treatment for stretch marks, practitioners now have an excellent aesthetic solution for their clients.  Palomar's fractional non-ablative skin resurfacing laser minimizes the appearance of stretch marks with no downtime. The Lux1540 laser handpiece improves the unsightly color and skin texture associated with stretch marks, leaving clients with smoother, better-looking skin.  A single treatment session typically costs $500 – $1,000, and at least three treatments are usually required. 

Marisa Lawrence, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

The goal is improvement of stretch marks

As the panel members have mentioned, stretch marks should be accepted as permanent. Although abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) may be a good option for many, it is not always the best option. For example, some of our patients come to us after being told that they were not a good candidate for surgery - meaning there was not enough extra skin or tissue to remove. For others, the stretch marks were in places that an abdominoplasty would not address. For example, the stretch marks may be high on the abdomen, on the breasts, flanks, or even to buttocks and arms.

Although class IV medical lasers will not erase stretch marks, they do offer a good option in resolving the color that is associated with stretch marks as well as improving the texture around the stretch marks to minimize their appearance. In our experience, medium to darker skin types have a tendency to experience darkening of the stretch marks that generally do not fade within a reasonable amount of time or do not fade at all. Lasers are an excellent modality in fading these areas when the body does not or has not done so in an acceptable length of time. In fact, research now suggests that earlier intervention may actually enhance outcomes.

We agree that ointments and creams only offer false hope. However, there is no reason one should assume that there are no options inasmuch as technology continues to prove otherwise. If your goal is improvement -- then finding the right practitioner with the correct technology is an excellent step in the right direction.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Abdominoplasty is a great way to get rid of stretch marks.

There is no easy way to get rid of stretch marks. One way to get rid of stretch marks between your belly button and your pubis is an abdominoplasty. Many women develop stretch marks during pregnancy in this area and come for consultation after childbirth. If you are done having children and wish to both remove the stretch marks and tighten up the loose skin, then abdominoplasty is a great choice. I hope you have found this helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Beware of the Snake Oil salesman

Stretch marks are one of unfortunate cosmetic difficulties where marketing has been unleashed on uninformed consumers. Because these marks represent areas with the deeper connective portions of the skin have been permanently damaged, there are no creams or ointments, or other treatments for that matter that can make them go away.

Lots of claims are made with varying concoctions of collagen, Vitamin C, etc., but nothing has been substantiated. If the stretch marks are in an area of skin that can be excised, such as the lower abdomen after pregnancy, surgery may be an option. But here again you will be trading the stretch marks for a scar, though you may also gain a flatter tummy.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.