The best way to get rid of stretch marks

Stretch marks, those white or red striations that appear on the skin, are never a welcome sight. But they're a normal part of growth for many people. Still, nobody likes them, so what can be done to minimize their appearance?

Anyone can develop stretch marks but some things increase your chances, according to the Mayo Clinic. Being female, overweight, pregnant, or using corticosteroid medications can make you more likely to develop them. Some people with genetic disorders like Cushing's syndrome or Marfan syndrome may also find them more prevalent.

Health Digest spoke with plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Applebaum for his perspective on diminishing their appearance. "Stretch marks are areas on your skin where the skin has lost its elasticity and these areas appear as bands, lines or stripes often with red or white discoloration. They often appear in areas of weight gain and then weight loss or sometimes in areas of rapid skin growth in younger teens or adults," he explained.

Look for targeted therapies

Stretch marks happen when the skin has been stretched, giving the appearance of separation. "Stretch marks are often referred to as Striae, which is a form of scarring on the skin. Stretch marks are commonly seen in areas of the abdomen after pregnancy, or on the thighs or buttock," he said.

Unfortunately, there isn't a quick method of removing the marks. According to Dr. Applebaum, surgery isn't a good option because the scarring from the procedure would be even worse than the stretch marks. Since they don't cause any physical limitations, there is also no medical reason to perform any kind of intervention for stretch marks.

He also noted that there are no miracle cures to remove stretch marks. "Topical therapies such as scrubs and creams may have some minor textural improvements. There are some laser treatments that will remove the redness and improve some textural levels of improvement as well. Recent advances in radiofrequency treatments may have some level of improvements but more time is needed to see the results of these recent advancements," he said.