Medical Q&As

Stretch marks -effective treatment?

Could you please tell me how long stretch marks can last? I currently have mine 16 months and they have only mildly reduced in colour. Also are there any gels or surgery available to remove or reduce them?

Stretch marks are a form of scar in the dermis, which is the layer of skin immediately below the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of the skin. The scar results from disruption of collagen and elastin within the dermis. The process can be compared with overstretching a piece of elastic resulting in loss of elasticity. The stretch mark is the visible expression of that loss of elasticity. Laser treatment has been used to treat stretch marks but many treatments are necessary and in many cases the marks do not completely resolve. A residual mark may remain. Retin A gel, which is a prescription treatment used for acne, has been shown to improve early red stretch marks but it has no effect on mature white stretch marks. If you trawl the Internet you will find many treatments being promoted for this troublesome form of skin blemish. Despite the extravagant claims that are made for various treatments it is regrettable that management of this embarrassing problem remains unsatisfactory. However it is likely that your stretch marks will fade further over the coming months leaving you with some white marks that usually blends in to some degree with the surrounding normal skin.