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Stretch Marks

The Truth About Stretch Mark Creams

There are so many stretch mark cream products on the market today that claim to either prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks that I thought it might be beneficial to review exactly what these products do when it comes to treating your stretch marks.  Scientifically, it has not been proven whether most of these products can help, but there are scores of women around the world that have evidence of their very own that creams and lotions have helped reduce, eliminate, and prevent stretch marks.

What is in a stretch mark cream?

Most of the available stretch mark creams on the market contain a combination of cocoa butter, and Vitamins A and E.  These items help promote overall skin health and can help improve the appearance of your skin. 

Cocoa butter keeps the skin moisturized and well hydrated.  This can improve the overall elasticity of the skin which is especially helpful when attempting to prevent stretch marks.

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that nourishes and protects your skin.  Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is an antioxidant essential for skin health.  Glucocorticoids, a group of hormones, can reduce the effectiveness of Vitamin A so its addition in topical stretch mark creams is important.

Most of the prescription stretch mark creams available contain concentrated amounts of Vitamin A derivatives.  They are more potent formulas than the over the counter treatments, and they have had some success reducing the appearance of stretch marks.  A lot of the success of these prescription creams depends on the age of the stretch mark, skin tone, and overall skin health.

Shea butter is another addition to stretch mark creams that has become more common.  It can help promote cell regeneration and circulation as well as provide a natural protection against ultraviolet damage to the skin.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are another common ingredient found in many stretch mark cream formulas.  These AHAs are derived from plants and are sometimes referred to as fruit acids.  AHAs promote skin cell regeneration so your skin may feel a little dry and flaky when you first start using them as many old dead skin cells are removed from your skin.

Cream Application May Help Circulation

Not only do stretch mark cream ingredients help with appearance and prevention but the actual application of the creams may help with circulation in the skin's layers.  The massaging motion during cream and lotion application stimulates the circulation in the area being massaged.  If done daily, improved circulation and regeneration of cells in the area could result.  Improved circulation leads to improved collagen production and skin cell regeneration both of which are needed to prevent and/or reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

The reason most stretch mark creams can't completely remove existing stretch marks is because they concentrate their effectiveness on the outer layer of skin, the epidermis.  The majority of damage caused by stretch marks is a combination of damage in the epidermis and the dermis, the middle layer of your skin.  Topical treatments just can't penetrate the skin deep enough to provide total correction of the damage, but they can drastically improve the outer appearance.  They can also help during the prevention stage of stretch marks by contributing to your overall skin health, which reduces your chances of having stretch marks form in unwanted places.

Disclaimer:  The information provided within this site is not meant to be a substitute for a medical doctor's opinion.  This site is for informational purposes ONLY.  Please check with your medical practitioner before any type of treatment or prevention method is started.

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