Today’s topic has really been requested a lot, and it is how to treat stretch marks. I have a separate video on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, and I highly recommend if you’re pregnant, or you’re thinking about getting pregnant, please watch that video. I have had two pregnancies and I didn’t get stretch marks just because I did everything in that video.
But at the same time, I’ve had stretch marks on other parts of my body, breasts, hips that happened during puberty, so my skin is prone to stretch marking. So if you are pregnant or you’re thinking about getting pregnant, or you have a friend who is in the early stages of pregnancy, send them that video, because I think it will really help. This video is for those people who have stretch marks, and now you think what can I do to help my skin? If that sounds good to you, please give me a thumbs up. Let’s dive right in.
So first of all, what are stretch marks? Stretch marks are essentially scars. They take place at fault lines in the dermis, so the weak points of the dermis. And usually happens during puberty, it happens during pregnancy, it can happen from a rapid weight gain, height gain. I actually got them at the back of my knees when I went through my growth spurt at 13 years old. So they happen when the skin has to expand rapidly.
So the stretch mark is where collagen or elastin have had to produce rapidly in order to make way for that expansion of skin. Now, it usually starts off red and angry, and they often are in parallel lines to the fault lines in the dermis. Initially when they are red and angry, they can feel sore and itchy. Actually, this is the time where you’re going to be able to improve your stretch marks the most.
Once they start to go become white and they start to become quite fairly invisible over time, that those are mature stretch marks, and those are actually much harder to treat. Now, stretch marks happen for both males and females. They tend to happen more for females and the distribution is different. So for females, we tend to get it on breasts, hips, buttocks, thighs. And men tend to get it on their chest, their upper arms, and their glutes. So for men, it does tend to be more due to rapid muscle growth. And for females, it tends to happen during rapid weight gain that can happen during pregnancy, but also during puberty as well.
So this is something we actually don’t teach our children, we don’t really teach them really much about skin care at all, and stretch marks are not even on the radar. But really what we should be doing with our kids is teaching them to moisturize their skin. We tend to start thinking about skincare in our twenties, but really our children should have a skincare routine for their face and for their body. You want to create that healing environment for their skin.
So I would highly recommend if you have kids that are going through puberty, really from 10 years old onwards, they should be moisturizing their skin every day. Even if it’s just they’re wearing sweet almond oil as they’re coming out of the shower quickly slather their body with that, and gently pat their skin dry. That’s enough. That’s something. That’s better than just quickly towel drying them out of the shower and clothes on and onto the next thing. So take a little bit of care I’d say with our kids’ bodies and their skin. Make it a habit, make it a routine.
I actually remember the first time I got stretch marks. There were the back of my knees and I was at about 13 years old, 13, 14. And they’re really itchy. And I couldn’t see behind my knees. So it was just scratching the back of my knees. And then one day I looked back and I was shocked to see these red, angry lines behind my knees. And I was really scared. And it wasn’t something that we’d ever discussed, right? That this can happen to your skin. And it happens during puberty. You talk about your periods, you talk about acne, you talk about other things, but we really don’t discuss stretch marks and that it being very normal.
And everybody has them. It’s almost like a right of passage. Yes, yes, you can hydrate the skin. Yes, you can do what you can do, but it’s completely normal to have stretch marks. It’s not something to fear it. I thought, oh goodness, I can’t ever wear a short skirt or shorts or swimming costume. People are going to laugh at me. And I wish I could go back and tell my 13 year old self that it was completely normal. All the beautiful top models of the world have stretch marks. It’s completely normal. But I can’t. So instead, I’m going to tell you to tell your babies that it’s completely normal to have it. Hydrate the skin, but it’s likely to happen. And it just is. It’s just the way that our skin grows.
So what I would say is when they’re still angry and red, you want to trap water in the epidemics. You want to be using humectants, so things like urea, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, those are all excellent ingredients that are water magnets. And then you want to top up with a barrier oil, because what you want to do is basically trap water in that top layer of skin so that your enzymes are working correctly, everything is functioning in order to try and repair the skin, especially overnight. So try and do it to two hours before bed. So it doesn’t come off on your sheets. And then just where you do his trousers or loose clothing on top of wherever you put it on.
The next active I’d recommend is retinol 0.3%. This was actually really interesting finding out about what percentage is allowed for body creams. The reason being that… Well, first of all, retinol stimulates your fibroblasts to produce more collagen and elastin. So that’s why we would use it in this setting. But the reason I know it’s 0.3% is because when I sent my body pigmentation kit off for testing, in order to get my CPSR, the safety assessment report, they came back and said, my retinol was too high for a body cream. 0.3% is the maximum that is recommended. So I had to reformulate and reduce the amount of retinal in that product, but it was very interesting. And I think the reason they say it is because it’s a large surface area. And so you can get away with more on a small surface area, for example, your face. But on a large surface area 0.3% is what’s recommended. So it was just for interesting fact.
Other ingredients I love to use at this point would be antiinflammatories. You want to minimize inflammation in areas that things like aloe, D-panthenol, green tea extract are all anti-inflammatory. Don’t forget, however, with the retinol, you can’t use it during pregnancy. So even though you may be getting stretch marks during pregnancy, please do not use retinol. What I do recommend is that you use, there’s a belt called skin savior, and I’ll link it down below for you.
And in fact, you can watch my video on how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy that will distribute pressure along the area so it’s not all going down the fault lines, and you’re a lot less likely to get stretch marks. In fact, they did a study on that belt and 70% of women didn’t get stretch marks because they were wearing the belt. And I would have been one of them as well. So I highly recommend that. Please do not wear vitamin A during pregnancy.
It’s not that we’ve done clinical studies on whether it’s safe to wear during pregnancy, it’s just that with high dose vitamin A there have been problems with neonates. And so just as a precaution, we say avoid all vitamin A during pregnancy. The other thing that you can do is to microneedle. So what you’re doing with micro needling is causing controlled micro injury. And again, you’re stimulating your fibroblasts in order to produce more collagen.
And again, it works much better earlier on in the process, I would also recommend you really do massage your creams into the skin. That’s also important. Our biggest issue is that we have a waxy skin and barrier, it’s very hard to get ingredients into that skin barrier. So when you microneedle, not only have you stimulated more collagen production, but also you created tiny little channels where ingredients can get into the skin. And so it’s a very effective thing to be doing. The only thing I would say is that unfortunately on the body using the micro needle one millimeter that you might use on your face, really, isn’t going to cut to it on the body. You’re looking at two to three millimeters, and that’s fairly painful.
I’m such a baby. I can’t even tell you how pathetic I am. I actually have to Emla. So I get lines right here. And I actually Emla, and numb the area before I use my 0.5 millimeter derma roller in this area. I’m that pathetic. And so the thought of having to use two to three millimeters on the back of my knees is just unbearable, or my breasts it’s unbearable. I’d rather just have my tiger marks to be honest. So really you need to first have a look at your pain threshold. But second of all ask yourself is this thing really worth it?
Okay. So by step, you know how I love to give you practical step by step, what you need to do. So, first of all, if you are going to do it, make sure you clean the area, and then you can numb the skin with a numbing cream if you have access to it. If you’re brave and you can go without it, that’s fine. But then you can derma roll the area that you wish to apply the product. The product I love is Paula’s Choice 0.3%. There’s actually very few products that I’ve found with 0.3% rational in it. And this is one of them. So you can derma roll the area and apply this. And I like also that it’s got an acid in. It’s very important to see what else is in that particular product.
The other thing that you could potentially use is The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2%, or you can use Face Theory Reginacalm. Or you can use Naturium 2% retinol complex. That’s encapsulated, which means you don’t get the irritation. That’s the only reason I would say I like that product. If it was not encapsulated, then I would not recommend it. And then to top it off, I would use a hyaluronic acid.
So again, it’s easy to just get one from The Ordinary and then use a fatty moisturizer. So you know how I harp on at you about Cetraben and Cerave or E45, I love that too. So really fatty, non fragranced moisturizer, which is important because don’t forget, you’ve now put hyaluronic acid on the skin, which are magnets, where’s that water going to come from. I want that water to come from the moisturizer on top. Then you can top it off with your sweet almond oil. Literally, I purchase that from Amazon. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
I would say the only thing to be careful of is only derma roll one to two nights a week. More than that, it’s going to be too irritating for your skin. You can use the rest of the routine the rest of the week when you’re not derma rolling as well. The other thing to note is that this is going to take a long time to start to see results with stretch marks. You could easily be doing this for three or four or five months before you start to see it fade. And it’s very painful.
So this is probably one of the reasons no one’s really made this video on how to treat stretch marks because it’s not an easy thing to do. It really is time dependent. You do want to do it early on in the process. And really prevention is better than cure, especially in this case, because you’re basically trying to heal a scar, which is not easy. You can minimize it, you can help reduce it, you can help make it less visible, but ultimately it’s a scar that’s on the skin. So it’s important to know the limitations of what you can do.