Q:

How can you fade stretch marks?

A:

Quick Answer

Apply a combination of tretinoin and 20 percent glycolic acid creams daily to fade the appearance of stretch marks and repair the elastin content of the skin. Tretinoin cream requires a prescription from a licensed physician.

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Full Answer

Treatments are applied daily to the affected area over a period of several months to a year to fade stretch marks. If tretinoin is not available, a combination of 20 percent glycolic acid and 10 percent vitamin C has similar results without the benefit of elastin repair. A team of four dermatologists estimated a 43 percent improvement in the appearance of stretch marks after a year of this treatment. Though the application of glycolic acid and vitamin C may cause mild skin irritation, the irritation should clear within a few weeks of discontinuing treatment. Additionally, patients should avoid direct sun exposure during treatment because the skin is more sensitive during this time.

Laser treatment is also effective in fading both red and white stretch marks, but it is quite expensive. Consult with a laser treatment provider prior to beginning treatment to assess the risks and benefits. While laser treatment yields positive results, it may result in scarring or skin tone darkening, which can worsen the appearance of the skin.

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