Strech Mark Therapy

How to Care for Stretch Marks after Weight Loss/Gain

5 min read

Do you want to proudly show off your new beach body after having lost a lot of weight or planned weight loss? Stretch marks might be a visible reminder of the body you left behind. So, dive in and find out how to change the picture left behind from your past body!

Why do I get stretch marks when I lose weight?

Excess skin after rapid massive weight loss might cause some stretching and tearing,[1] but the majority of stretch marks are not actually caused when you lose the weight, but rather when you first put it on. They do however usually become more visible when you shed the pounds again. Overall, several factors including hormones and genetics determine how prone you are to getting stretch marks,[2,3] and common scenarios causing the appearance of stretch marks are rapid weight gain followed by weight loss, pregnancy and birth, and rapid gain of muscle mass followed by its loss. In these cases, the skin can be stretched too fast for the underlying connective tissue to keep up and thus causing it to rupture. This leaves a type of scar – the stretch mark.[2]

The appearance of stretch marks can differ. When stretch marks are still fresh (upper image) they usually appear as red or pink to purplish-blue streaks, and the skin may appear very thin or slightly elevated. Over time they become more scar-like: thinner, paler, and rather indented (lower images).

How can I prevent stretch marks when gaining weight?

The best treatment already starts before or during the weight gain. Granted, this is not always possible as weight gain is not always anticipated. But, if you know that you will gain weight, for example due to pregnancy, body building or as a side effect of a medical treatment such as steroids, you should start now!

You can support your skin by eating a balanced diet and regular exercise. Try to include ingredients for a healthy skin, such as vitamins E and C as well as zinc, and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.[4] Regular exercise will not only keep you fit, but also improve your circulation and skin elasticity.

When stretch marks are still fresh they usually appear as red or pink to purplish-blue streaks. Over time they become more scar-like: thinner, paler, and rather indented.

To directly care for your skin, you should apply heavy moisturizers, cosmetic oils, such as Mederma® Quick Dry Oil, or , topical stretch mark treatments, such the Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy in order to keep it plump and hydrated. Skin that is well hydrated and supple has more elasticity and can respond better to the stresses which potentially cause stretch marks. In case of pregnancy you should of course make sure that the treatment is compatible with your condition. Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy, for example, is recommended to be used from the second trimester onwards.

How can I prevent stretch marks when losing weight?

No matter if you want to chisel your body, wish to reclaim your old self, or have to lose weight for other reasons, you probably don’t want stretch marks to be the visible result of your efforts.

Apart from existing stretch marks from weight gain, excess skin after rapid massive weight loss might cause some stretching and tearing.[1] So, if you want to lose a lot of weight, it helps to lose the weight slowly by healthy eating and regular exercise, as described above. Most importantly, keep your skin hydrated to give it the elasticity to re-contract. If you are planning to lose weight, the Mederma® stretch Marks Therapy or the Quick Dry Oil are two great options for you.

How can I treat stretch marks?

You already lost weight? Good for you! The remaining stretch marks might make you feel self-conscious or perhaps you are just rather annoyed that your efforts don’t shine through the way you imagined. But don’t worry! You have already shown that you’re a warrior by losing weight, so you’ll easily tackle this one.

There are several topical creams and oils on the market. some are available by prescription only, but most can be obtained over the counter.

Most effective are stretch mark treatments that are formulated to stimulate collagen production by including for example hyaluronic acid or hydrolyzed collagen supplement in addition to soothing and moisturizing components, which helps to improve the appearance of skin texture by tightening and plumping your skin.[5,6] The effect of such creams may be increased by physical or chemical exfoliation as well as by gentle massage to locally improve circulation.

If these options do not work for you, you should talk to your dermatologist. A dermatologist can discuss more invasive options such as microneedling, laser, radio, and ultrasound therapy with you.[6] The most drastic treatment is surgery, but this is unnecessary in most cases. To best support your skin’s recovery during these treatments, rehydration with topical moisturizers, such as of the Mederma® range remain a must.

Mederma® is the No.1 stretch mark brand recommended by dermatologists*, and it was named the “best stretch mark removal cream”[7], “best overall”[8], and “best hydrating”[9] in 2020 online consumer reviews for stretch mark creams.

*IQVIA ProVoice Survey, February 2020

References

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