The Truth About Treating Stretch Marks: Red Vs. White

Just to clear things up, stretch marks are small tears in the dermis that result when the fat or muscle beneath the skin is growing at a faster rate than the skin itself. Hormones, genetics and fluctuating weight are generally the main causes. Unfortunately there is no treatment that can completely diminish the appearance of stretch marks and even worse-there is no proven way of fully preventing them. However, the earlier you treat your stretch marks, the better chance you have of reducing their appearance.

Red stretch marks are still in the growth phase and are at an ideal stage for treatment. On the other hand, white stretch marks have been on the skin for a year or more. Because they contain less pigment, white stretch marks are less responsive to treatment. These white, older, more-established stretch marks typically require the affected skin to be surgically removed. Surgeries like tummy tucks are really the only way to treat mature stretch marks.

There are tons of products out there that may help reduce the appearance of red stretch marks but don't expect any miracles. Other options to lighten red stretch marks include light-based laser treatments like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which can reduce some of the redness in the skin. Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) and fractional laser resurfacing are additional options but remember: most doctors do not feel that that lasers can prevent or fully eliminate stretch marks, but rather only make them marginally less obvious.

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