2. Do creams with Vitamin E and Cocoa Butter help to alleviate the appearance of stretch marks? Vitamin E and Cocoa Butter help to provide hydration to the skin but once stretch marks have occurred, the damage is usually done and the ability of creams and moisturizers to reverse this process is rather difficult. Keeping the skin well moisturized can help delay the breakdown of the proteins in the skin as it stretches. However, once stretch marks have occurred, these products will not likely be able to ameliorate their appearance.
3. What about peels? Some chemical peels that contain high concentrations of TCA (trichloroacetic acid) may help improve the appearance of stretch marks. However, if you are considering this option, please go to a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon with experience using this type of peel.
4. How about laser treatment? Some studies have shown improvement in the appearance of stretch marks after multiple sessions, usually softening their appearance, but not completely eliminating them. This will also come at a hefty price tag.
5. How about products containing tretinoin (Retin-A)? Remember you cannot use any products containing Retin-A while you are pregnant!!!! That being said, some studies have shown some improvement in the appearance of stretch marks (20%) with use of these products. While this is not much, it likely will be cheaper than some of the alternative options.
6. How about Microdermabrasion? Some studies have shown some improvement if aggressive sessions with microdermabrasion were done while the striae are still purple, however little improvement was noted otherwise.
7. Massage therapy? There are some who feel that massaging the skin before formation of striae may help prevent stretch marks from forming. However, once the skin is broken down, no amount of massage therapy is likely to make a difference.
8. The important thing when dealing with stretch marks is to focus on preventative measures: stay well hydrated (at least 64 oz of water daily) and keep your skin well hydrated with topical moisturizers. Once stretch marks form- nothing will get rid of them, but some of the products mentioned above can help soften their appearance. Keep your expectations realistic before you empty out your savings account.