Make Stretch Marks Disappear

Can't live with them, wish we could live without them! Here's how to hide them.
Reflection

Stretch marks are pretty straightforward: they're marks that appear on the skin as it stretches. They vary in color from pink to deep brown, and then lighten and turn silvery as they fade. They can occur anywhere but they usually make an unelcome appearance on the stomach, breasts, buttocks, thighs and hips — all the common places weight gain and loss show up on a woman's body. Whether you develop stretch marks because of excess weight, adolescence or pregnancy, the result is the same.




What can you do about them?

1. Moisturize.
Type "stretch marks" into any search engine and you'll find countless ads for collagen-based creams. Rubbing these into the skin is said to help make it more supple and retain its elastic qualities. But the fact is, any cream or lotion that keeps the skin supple will be helpful — from an expensive designer lotion to a tub of cocoa-butter. The magic is in the regular moisturizing and massage. Smooth, moisturized skin will always look better, stretch marks or not.

2. Exercise.
Of course, exercise actually helps tone up the skin beneath. Marks look much worse on flabby, untoned skin than they do on toned and tight flesh. Here are your best options when it comes to making peace with your marks.

3. Accept them.
The first choice for so many of us is to ignore them and learn to live with them. In time all stretch marks fade, and as we lose those excess pounds the great feelings that result make a few marks seem insignificant.

4. Camouflage them.
You can work around them and cover them up, either with clothes or a fake tan, which helps minimize their appearance. Just make sure to exfoliate your body first and apply self-tanner all over in a thin, even layer, or even go to a salon for a professional spray tan; a streaky orange glow is going to look 10 times worse than any stretch mark ever would.

5. Take professional measures.
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are seeing success with a new laser technique, called Fraxel, which stimulates collagen production and can significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks in anywhere from one to six treatments. This relatively painless process may cause your budget to groan: at approximately $1,000 per treatment, it's a real investment in more perfect skin.

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