Stretch marks are just one of things that we all (probably) have. I hope that you consider yourself extremely blessed if you don’t! But get outta here - this post is for my gals (and guys!) that have them and want to see what they can do about them. Stretch marks are totally natural, and there isn’t just one cause - they can occur after pregnancy, sudden weight gain (fat or muscle!), and plain old puberty. I know I have a growth spurt to blame for some of mine!
For a lot of people, stretch marks can be the reason for insecurity to rear its ugly head - and I don’t blame them - I wish I didn’t have mine either! They can pop up in places that you would really rather that they wouldn’t, whether that’s on your shoulders and you wish you could wear cute tops again, or on your stomach as a new mom and just want to feel great in a bikini again.
Believe me, I totally get it - that’s why I researched for hours how to get rid of stretch marks. I know what’s woo, what’s legit, and what works when it comes to fading them. There are a lot of options out there - at-home microdermabrasion for stretch marks, dermarolling for stretch marks, and even laser for stretch marks. The answers are all here - no more late night, hurried Google searches and variations of ‘microdermabrasion strech marks’ and ‘microdermabrasion stretch mark’ (typos included ya’ll, cause I’ve been there!)
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks, or striae as they are scientifically known, can happen anywhere on your body - literally anywhere that you’ve got skin is a possible spot for stretch marks. This is usually in parts of the body that tend to store a little extra fat - stomach, thighs, butt cheeks are common, but they can also happen on the tops of shoulders and arms due to muscle growth (tickets to the gun show, anybody?)
How Do Stretch Marks Even Happen?
These tell-tale stripes occur when the skin has stretched faster than it can handle, resulting in tears in the dermis. The dermis is different from your surface skin, by the way! That's called the epidermis - that’s the layer of skin you have with visible pores and hairs. The dermis is just between your epidermis and the layer of fat that everyone has underneath their skin - I promise that I’m not being shady!
Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?
When it comes to preventing them, there seems to be no cut and dry answer - any person’s likelihood of getting stretch marks depends on a bunch of factors, including genetics (does anyone else in the family have them?), how quickly weight is being gained, and the overall elasticity and health of your skin.
Skin elasticity can be helped by applying moisturizer - but it's hard for any product to actually reach the dermis, which is the level where the skin is the most affected and where the damage happens.
Why Are Stretch Marks SO Itchy?
If you’ve ever had stretch marks, you might have noticed that you were itchy before you even noticed that your skin looked different. Stretch marks tend to itch because they are a type of very minor skin injury.
The best way to treat itching stretch marks isn't with hydrocortisone cream, btw! I know that they’re great for eczema and other itchy skin issues, but it’s not right for stretch marks. Hydrocortisone, a steroid cream.
Why Are Some Stretch Marks Red?
Depending on skin tone, fresh stretch marks will have a trademark red or purple color to them, earning them in the nickname ‘tiger stripes'. Darker stretch marks usually mean that they are newer, and are also usually easier to treat - this would be a great time to use microdermabrasion for stretch marks and getting the most out of that treatment.
When they’re very new, they might also feel super itchy - this is because of the stretched skin. Over time, the visible blood vessels in stretch marks will heal and the marks will take on a more silvery appearance - but this means that the stretch marks could be harder smooth over.
So, How Do I Get Rid Of Them?
Because the stretch marks are in the dermis of the skin, it can be difficult to completely heal them as not many treatments can pass through the epidermis. But, that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done - ensuring that the topmost layer of skin is healthy will go a long way to reducing the appearance of stretch marks, and there’s a couple ways that you could go about that.
Coffee scrubs are a popular remedy that you've probably seen on Pinterest, along with the thousands of other DIY remedies out there. A coffee scrub recipe is usually a combination of coffee grounds and olive oil, give or take a few drops of essential oil for scent.
As yummy, natural, and cheap as this sounds, a coffee scrub probably is not going to deliver any significant change in stretch marks - the grounds are just too big to actually do anything other than scrub away dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Just exfoliating stretch marks with coffee beans isn’t gonna cut it!
Dermarolling for Stretch Marks
Just one of the other treatments that are taking the internet by storm, dermarolling is a procedure that you can either head to your nearest doctor's office to do, or you can do right in your own bathroom - which, depending on where your stretch marks are, you might prefer.
The whole idea kind of sounds like a medieval torture device, but on a tiny scale - it’s a wheel with tiny little spikes (like, really tiny!) that you roll over your skin. Running it over the skin creates small enough punctures for the natural healing response to spur on collagen formation in the skin, smoothing and fortifying the skin over time.
However, it's important to note that the microneedles required to reach the dermis (the level of skin where your stretch marks are) will only be found in a clinician's office - the ones that you can find on Amazon only penetrate the epidermis. Plus, in unskilled hands, dermarollers can cause more damage to skin - the opposite of what you want!
Microdermabrasion for Stretch Marks
At-home microdermabrasion machines are a total game-changer for any skin issue - and chances are, you might already have one at home that you’re using for another skin concern! They work similarly to a dermaroller in the way that they help to encourage a collagen-forming response from the skin, strengthening the skin over the stretch mark to reduce its appearance.
These super nifty machines work by exfoliating off the top layer of skin on a much more fine, but powerful level than your ordinary scrub - like the coffee scrub. It’s able to do it in a way that doesn’t break the skin - but will leave your skin a tiny bit red right after using.Micro dermabrasion for stretch marks works so well is because, over time, your skin will get its collagen production into gear, smoothing over the epidermis and minimizing how much the stretch marks actually show through.
I’ll be frank here - this is probably the only procedure that will give you ~instant~ results of stretch mark removal, but that’s because the entire swathe of skin where the stretch marks were has been removed. A tummy tuck isn’t generally recommended to many, just because it’s a very dramatic procedure that so few of the population can actually do.
It's mainly an option for people that have lost a lot of weight, and otherwise, have a lot of skin that they could otherwise do without. And that's not even the worst part - like all other surgeries, it carries the inherent risks and stresses on your body of going under.
So Which Method Is the Best?
Of all these, it’s plainly obvious to me that microdermabrasion is one of the best ways to fade stretch marks and smooth the uneven skin. When it comes to microdermabrasion, stretch marks don’t have a chance. It’s foolproof, and pays for itself over time - you don’t have to pay for multiple expensive sessions before you see any results, and wonder if you’re just throwing your money down the drain.
What I'm looking for in a microdermabrasion machine for stretch marks are: how easy is the machine to use and to get on your body, if body-size tips are available (using a face-sized tip is like using a teaspoon to eat a whole meal!) and just overall how pleasant the device is to use. Not hard, right?
There are three standout devices that caught my eye - and here’s why.
So, one of the major things I rated was how easy it would be to use the device all over your body. If you don’t have a helpful roommate or significant other to help you reach those awkward spots that your stretch marks might be, you could be left high and dry if you haven’t picked the best device!
What sets the Kelley West device apart from the rest is that it has a swiveling head that you can point in any direction. It’s perfect for reaching wherever your pesky stretch marks are. You’ll be able to microderm stretch marks away to your heart’s content - super quickly, and super easily.
A step up from the original Personal Microderm, the Plus is even more comfortable to use for stretch mark microdermabrasion. Like the original device, it has just one speed, but a huge stable of different strength rotating crystal tips to choose from. It has tips designed for both face and body - the body tips are perfect for exfoliating stretch marks.
What sets it apart from the original device though are the new Smooth Glide caps, which are designed to make the device even easier to use and glide over target areas of skin. It also makes the PMD even more effective, getting you results sooner - without overdoing your skin.
When you buy a Microderm GLO, it comes with 50 filters and the three types of tips offered by Trophy Skin - the Standard Diamond Tip, the Pore Extraction Tip, and the Pore Infusion Tip. Having all three of these specialized microdermabrasion tips in your arsenal will help refine and polish your skin even more than just the standard diamond tip - win!
The RejuvadermMD is mainly a device designed for the face, but it does come with a diamond tip for the body that isn't to be underestimated. While the skin on the body is generally going to be tougher and tolerate a bit more suction and exfoliation, the four suction levels give a lot of wiggle room for comfort, while still being super effective.
It has a comfortable handle that can reach pretty much anywhere you need it to - making it completely foolproof to actually get in and use it on your stretch marks.
Which One is The Best for Stretch Marks?
In all honesty, though - all three of these devices will get you the results you're looking for, but there's one that really goes above and beyond for me - the Kelly West Microderm.
The Kelley West Microderm really takes the cake with its swiveling neck - when it comes to stretch marks, they can be anywhere on your body and in places that aren’t going to be super easy to reach. An adjustable neck is incredibly helpful for really getting in there. While yes, it only has two speed settings - body skin is a little tougher and can take a little more roughing around, so it’s not necessarily a huge concern.
Here’s to better skin days ahead with microdermabrasion!
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About the author Stephanie Morin
NYC-based beauty and skin care blogger, Stephanie delivers a healthy dose of practical beauty tips coupled with medical insight for some serious skin care inspiration!