What to Do About Stretch Marks After Losing Weight

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Does losing weight get rid of stretch marks? Or can you get stretch marks from losing weight?

The good news is that you don’t get stretch marks by losing weight. One of the cruelest complications of rapid weight gain, however, is the development of stretch marks across the abdomen and even on the hips, thighs, chest, and arms.

During very rapid weight gain, caused by pregnancy, certain kinds of medications for diabetes (notably Actos and Avandia), steroid treatment for asthma and other lung diseases, and eating disorders, the skin literally cannot keep up with the growth of the fat beneath it. As it stretches, some of the skin atrophies, unable to produce enough collagen.

Losing weight usually makes stretch marks less noticeable. If it takes months or years to lose the weight, however, easily treatable red or purple stretch marks may have become hard-to-treat white stretch marks, requiring much more intensive treatment methods.

Treating Stretch Marks Across the Abdomen

If you are concerned about white stretch marks across the abdomen after losing weight, the best solution is to darken the tone of all the skin on the abdomen so that stretch marks are less noticeable. Due to the danger of skin cancer, it’s best to use tanning creams and bronzers rather than lazing out on a sunny beach or lying in a tanning bed.

Treating Stretch Marks on the Hips and Thighs

Stretch marks on the hips and thighs respond to the same therapies that treat cellulite. Creams containing gotu kola (also known as Centella asiatica) often actually work. You get a much better result from applying these creams when you use an ultrasound massage unit to increase the skin’s permeability to the cream.

Treating Stretch Marks Around the Breasts and Shoulders

Stretch marks around the breasts, which are common in women who breastfeed, and stretch marks around the shoulders, which are common in people who do weightlifting as part of their weight loss program, respond well to treatment with roller massage. A tiny steel roller with studs about 1 mm (0.04 inch) tall irritates the skin just enough to increase the production of collagen. It is never a good idea to rough so hard you draw blood, and it is usually not a good idea to roll so hard that you need a numbing cream to stand the pain. Just a little stimulation, once or twice a day, along with general massage, is enough.

Don’t let fear of stretch marks and wrinkles keep you from losing weight! Your stretch marks will actually be less noticeable after you lose weight, and if you are willing to devote the same amount of patient effort to treating stretch marks that you gave to losing weight, you will eventually be able to get rid of stretch marks for good.