There are hundreds of products that claim to get rid of stretch marks. Most products are ineffective, however Retin-A with active ingredient Tretinoin has shown to decrease stretch marks if used at their early stages.
Will Retin-A work on my stretch marks?
Retin-A is effective against stretch marks in its early stages or less than 4-6 weeks old, usually pink or red in color, as it constricts blood vessels and promotes rebuilding of collagen; this allows the stretch marks to convert and blend in with the surrounding skin. However once the red stretch marks convert to the white stretch marks, retin-A will not be effective. Also retin-A cannot be used if you are pregnant or lactating as it may possibly lead to birth defects.
Speak to your dermatologist if retin-A can be effective for you. If not there are other options such as dual laser treatment, which stimulates growth of new collagen and elastin fibers to fill in the stretch marks. This treatment requires about 3-5 treatment, costing up to $300 each. Another option for older stretch marks is microabrasion, which involves blowing crystals onto the skin, followed by suctioning of the crystals and the outer layer of skin. This promotes the regrowth of new more elastic skin fibers. Third option is called excimer laser. This laser treatment does not promote collagen and elastin, but instead it promotes the release of melanin, which is responsible for skin pigmentation. The white stretch marks will be less noticeable as it will darken to the tone of your skin color.
Many stretch marks such as ones during growth spurts fade over time. Some temporary solutions include using sun tan creams to darken the stretch marks or even makeup that are water proof if you plan on going to the beach. Natural tanning however will not tan the stretch marks and only accentuate it as the surround skin darkens. Also you can help yourself by keeping your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids. In addition, supplements such as grapefruit seed extracts sold in cream has show to restore damaged collagen.
There have been very few controlled studies on the effectiveness of creams and oils in the prevention of stretch marks. A research study in Spain found the use of Trofolastin, a cream containing Centella asiatica extract, vitamin E, and collagen-elastin hydrolysates, every day during pregnancy helped reduce or prevent stretch marks in some women.