Yes, it’s 2019, and we’re into loving ourselves rather than obsessing over so-called flaws, so why are we out here with intel on how to minimise the appearance of stretch marks? Because while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having them (as many of us do-), some people can still feel a bit self-conscious about their lines. Caused by a period of rapid stretching of the skin (like, say, your teenage years, a pregnancy, or substantial weight gain), the marks are actually scars that develop when the collagen and elastin under your skin is torn apart, says US-based dermatologist Arash Akhavan, MD. The result? Patches—usually on the breast, stomach, hip, butt, and thigh areas—that look wrinkly and lined. Although it’s literally impossible to get rid of them for good, most stretch marks will eventually fade over time, says Dr Arash. That said, if you have zero patience, you can take some steps right now to make them less noticeable. The key: rebuilding that collagen layer.
Here are three ways—at three different price points—to give this a go...
1. Cheap fix: Retinol Body Cream
Because FDA-approved prescription formulas for treating stretch marks don’t exist (yet!), Dr Arash suggests using an over-the-counter retinol cream, which can help trigger the growth of new collagen and elastin (try Paula’s Choice Resist Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment, ₹2,000 approx on amazon.com). Heads up: retinol can come with a few side effects, like skin dryness and irritation, so use a regular moisturiser before or after you slather it on. And remember to use it only twice a week to avoid ending up with flaky skin.
2. Not too Costly: Micro-needling
Micro-needling : If a retinol cream doesn’t cut it, try microneedling, which is pretty much what it sounds like: tiny needles gliding over and puncturing your skin. “This activates your body’s wound-healing capabilities, triggering growth factors that signal collagen formation and ultimately can plump up your skin,” says Dr Arash. You can DIY with an at-home device (like BeautyBio GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool, ₹14,000 approx on amazon.com). There might be slight bleeding—and you’ll probs want to use a numbing cream first so it doesn’t hurt. Expect your skin to be significantly red for 24 to 48 hours after.
3. Pretty Pricey: Resurfacing Lasers
Stretch marks super-prominent? Ask your derm about an FDA-approved resurfacing laser, suggests Dr Arash. “The most popular is the fractional laser ResurFX, which creates collagen by ‘injuring’ the skin—much like microneedling—with laser-light penetration, sending your body into the wound-healing process.” Lasers def deliver better and faster results, but they also cost a lot more. Expect to drop ₹1,50,000 plus for three to five sessions.