Chemical Peels for Old, White Stretch Marks

I read that on white, old stretch marks Chemical peels can work, is this true?

Doctor Answers 7

Chemical Peels: Not the Best Option for Stretch Mark Scars

While I haven’t examined you and have no photo on which to base this, I would say a chemical peel will improve the texture and smoothness of your skin. However, this treatment will not reduce the appearance of your stretch marks. That’s because chemical peels slough off dead surface cells and increase cell turnover in the outer epidermis. This rejuvenates surface skin, but the tears that have caused your stretch marks are below the epidermis in the dermis layer of your skin.

Still, there are treatments that deliver proven results when treating stretch marks. Consult with a licensed medical professional about the results that can be achieved through Fractional Skin Resurfacing, Venus Legacy, or Carboxytherapy. These are non-surgical treatments that involve no recovery time. But most importantly, I’ve seen these protocols deliver excellent results that leave stretch marks faded to the point of being indiscernible.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Chemical peels for white stretch marks

I wouldn't recommend a peel for white stretch marks. It doesn't work. If it is the white discoloration of the old stretch marks that you object to, there is a strong suggestion that the excimer laser (similar to narrow-band uvb phototherapy) can be beneficial. This therapy has minimal risk so it might be worth a try.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Not True

Stretch marks are due to the breakdown in the elasin and collagen fibers of the dermis. A chemical peel will not reach down to effect this layer. Therefore this is not an effective treatment at all. Save your money.

My feeling is that the best treatment may be that developed by the Isolagen company. In their process, a biopsy is taken and the patients fibroblasts are grown. The filbroblasts are injected back into the skin and they reproduce and form collagen and elastin. This might make up for the broken collagen and elastin caused by pregnancy, teen years when rapid growth cause stretch marks and weight lifting.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

No reliable way to non-surgiclally treat a stretch mark

A stretch mark is essentially a full thickness skin injury. The collagen and elastin fibers of the dermis have been irreversible stretched. The shiny surface of a stretch mark is just thinned out epidermis. In order to correct a stretch mark a treatment would have be be developed that could mend this dermal layer. There is some evidence that isologen may be an answer but as of yet it is still questionable.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Chemical peels not really for stretch marks


Stretch marks are hard to improve short from cutting them off. This is one of the reasons patients consider tummy tuck surgery--a large number of strertch marks on the tummy. Chemical peels will be unlikely to make anything better and a deep peel might actually cause skin loss. 

Best Regards.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

If only this were true.


Presently there is nothing that is effective on those stretch marks. In fact because the skin that usually has the marks does not heal as well as the face, chemical peels can actually cause harm. There are a number of people who claim that Isolagen treatment helps stretch marks. However, I am always skeptical of treatments where there are not before and after pictures. Even when there are before and after pictures you need to look how the lighting was done as it is easy to get a false impression. Do your homework and don't let anyone take financial advantage of you because of you strong dislike of your stretch marks.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Chemical Peels do not really help stretch marks

I am not sure what type of peel that you are referring to but I am not aware that any type of chemical peel is really effective for stretch marks.  In fact I have not really seen anything that provides a long term fix for stretch marks other than direct excision as is the case with a tummy tuck.

S. Randolph Waldman, MD
Lexington Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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.