Stretch marks

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Stretch Marks

Explore what others have to say about stretch marks with answers by Dr. Michael Bermant, MD.

Michael Bermant, MD
Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

Reconstructive Reconstructive Surgery Hand Hand and Nerve Cosmetic Cosmetic aesthetic Congenital Breast Breast Breast Head & Neck plastic surgeon Skin Cancer skin cancer Microsurgery

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Dr. Bermant comments:


Response to your Message Board Posting

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

STRIAE are the result of your skin collagen breaking down under the stress of extra weight or a stretching mass (ie pregnancy). Early on they are red. In this phase they will try to heal (become white). Most scars do better when massaged with a lubricant like cocoa butter. They can thus fade a little. Once the scars have matured they cannot be removed except by cutting them out. This leaves an unacceptable scar and therefore is not done. Laser treatment can help with fine wrinkles. I have never read nor seen any studies claiming that they will work on stretch marks. BE WARY! Make the doctor who is making the claim prove it not only to you, but the rest of the medical profession! The best way to minimize stretch marks is not to damage the skin in the first place. There is no good alternative for pregnancy but gaining extra unneeded weight is a reasonable goal. Once you have the marks, camouflage is a reasonable choice. Clothing and special concealing makeup are effective. Stretch makrs look worse in loose skin. If you skin needs tightening, like with a body lift or butt lift, it may look better after surgery. The stretch marks will still be there, but often they are less crepy.

Michael Bermant, MD


I suffer from the same problem of having stretch marks all across my hips and butt. And, it is quite distressing to wear bathing suits. I recently picked up a copy of the July/August issue of Fitness magazine. One of their articles discusses how well stretch mark removers work. The info is sort of upsetting, though. Those "miracle creams" only work well at making marks look better temporarily. They suggest that by keeping your skin supple and maintaining you weight you can help prevent further stretch marks. Pick up a copy and maybe it can answer any other questions you have. Hope I at least helped you out a bit.


I also have stretch marks and have also read that they do not disappear, only fade over time. Sorry.


Well, believe it or not, a treatment that I just mentioned to another member supposedly works on stretch marks. Again, it's laser treatment. I will soon be having the treatment myself for streeeeetch maaaaaarks that I have on my upper legs, hips, butt, stomach, breasts, and even a few under my arms. This is all from gaining weight too fast. I'm losing the weight, but I have those damned marks. I'll let you know how it goes.

Dr. Bermant comments:

Some advocate laser treatment. Sorry, I have not found laser treatments very effective for stretch marks. When stretch marks are from loose skin, like after pregnancy, skin tightening sculpture can help. Take a look at the stretch mark changes with tummy tuck abdominoplasty.

Michael Bermant, MD



I heard that cocoa butter helps make stretch marks fade faster, despite the smell of coconut s every were.

Dr. Bermant comments:

It is not the cocoa butter but the massaging itself that seems to help with the stretch marks. I recommend that my patients massage many of their scars with cocoa butter to hasten the maturation. Pressure therapy has helped some scars, but not the stretch marks.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: stretch marks

Can dermabrasion work for mature stretch marks that are white and/or grooved?

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Stretch marks are scars from the breakdown of both the epidermal and dermal layers of skin. As skin gets stretched beyond recoverable elasticity, the healing process results in stretch mark scars. Most treatments to date have had only partial success in improving such scars.

Dermabrasion is a great treatment to smooth surface irregularities. It cannot treat deeper problems. A sanding wheel abrades the skin causing a surface injury. Stretch mark scars go deeper than what you can treat and still get skin regeneration, but the major skin irregularities can be softened.

If the stretch marks are on the abdomen and the patient has redundant skin, another option can be an abdominodermatolipectomy (tummy tuck). Scars along the lower abdomen are removed with the redundant skin and the remaining scars are lowered with the redistribution of skin along the body. There are significant new scars with this operation along the line of skin closure but these are usually covered by a modest bathing suit. This operation is not for everybody.

Chemical peels and laser have also been tried. They are methods of controlled injury formation that have benefits somewhat like dermabrasion. The shortest track record is with lasers, the newest tool.

I hope this information is of some value. If you have further question, please let us know. We can be reached at (804) 748-7737.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: stretch marks after pregnancy and genetic defect in collagen

greetings doctor.

8 years ago I had my son brought into the world via c-section. in and of itself, that was an experience that left deep, long-lasting scars. but my reason for sending this to you is because i have really big, deep stretch marks all across my abdomen.

they range from a fraction of an inch to two inches and they cover my whole abdomen as well made a bald spot in the middle of my pubic hair and smaller striations spread out like a map from my solar plexus down the tops of my thighs. they are still sore to the touch even though they have turned light and shiny. years ago i had postpartum nightmares about them; i dreamt that my body fell apart in strips.............. this was not a rare nightmare and i am glad they have stopped.

anyway, my concern is this, and it may take some checking into so I don't expect an immediate answer....but i have a syndrome called ehlers-danlos and it is a congenital condition which causes defects in the connective tissue of the body. i have wondered if that is why my stretch marks are so severe and painful. if you happen to do some research on this syndrome, the Internet has some wonderful resources. I believe i may have type 3 of the syndrome, if that helps any. i am not sure, but i am pretty sure it is not the more severe kinds. i don't have the symptoms.

i would LOVE to have surgery done to remove all of the damaged skin, and my husband is supportive in this endeavor so i am asking you as a professional if this is a good idea and if it is a good idea will a doctor be able to remove the stretch mark that goes all the way down into my pubic hair? how will this surgery affect my c-section surgical sight? should i check with a different doctor about the pain in my stretch marks and have you heard of that before?

thank you in advance. please E-mail me personally if you have the time, i would greatly appreciate it.

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is another name for cutis hyperelastica. The skin is over extensible and joints are very lax. The skin and blood vessels damage easily. Bruising and injury are not uncommon. The condition can be inherited.

Elective surgery is not the best of ideas in this type of patient. Usually for something like a tummy-tuck, the risk will outweigh the benefits. In an abdominoplasty (tummy-tuck) the skin is undermined for a variable distance usually up to the ribs from an incision in the groin. With your healing problems and bleeding tendency complications will be a high risk. In addition the surgery is designed to reestablish the normal proportions of the now redundant skin of the abdomen. In Ehlers-Danlos syndrome the tightened skin tends to easily stretch out again. Be careful for anyone eager to offer you surgery.

I hope this information proves of some use. If my office can be of further assistance, please let us know. We can be reached at: (804) 748-7737. My staff and I try to ensure the comfort of our out of town guests during their consultations and procedures.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: stretch marks after pregnancy and genetic defect in col

mine is inherited....

my type of EDS does not have present the tell tale signs of hyperelactic skin, fortunately, and that i why i am considering surgery. mine shows as laxed tendons and ligaments as well as bruising easier than the average person, but not seriously. if you have ever seen images of people with EDS with the hyperelastic skin, mine does not do that at all. my body's ability to heal is actually better than that of most "normal" people, so in other words, my EDS has been easier on me than others with the condition. i don't get the fish mouth wounds/scarring that one can see. in light of this extra information what do you think? i was wondering, though, if you thought that EDS had contributed to my stretchmarks being so severe? i have wondered that for years, considering that my mum had twins (and enormous belly with that pregnancy) and doesn't have the severity of stretch marks that i do and she is the one i inherited this from! all of the literature says that symptoms vary from person to person, even within a family and i can concur.

would it help to see pictures of my abdomen? those can be provided if so recommended........hehe, it isn't something everyone gets to see!

thank you for responding so quickly. i hadn't really expected it!

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

No photographs are not enough. You will need a face to face evaluation and examination as well as a review of your prior surgical and hospital records. Consultation by computer mail/bulletin board is not safe nor appropriate. There is too much information missing. My typical evaluation takes 30-60 minutes face to face. Depending on the problem, the evaluation may take much more time.

In your case, there are significant risks to elective surgery. Yes there are variable degrees of E-D syndrome. If I were to evaluate you as to your particular risks, I would need in addition to the above, prior lab data and an evaluation of your expectations and understanding of risks for elective surgery.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: Stretch marks

I'm desperately looking for a way to reduce stretch marks I developed during my first pregnancy 12 years ago. if you can be off assistance, please e-mail me or you may write to the following:

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Some stretch marks can be removed with an excision of redundant skin of the lower abdomen. This is called tummy tuck abdominoplasty. Some claim that laser resurfacing can minimize stretch marks. The results seem to be preliminary but some patients seem to be pleased. Other stretch marks cannot be improved. I can only tell a patient what can be done for them with an examination and consultation.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: Is there any treatment stretch marks?

Dr. Bermant,
I got your e-mail address from the Style channel and was wondering if you knew of any new treatments for stretch marks. I'm dying here. I'm only 24, and I've never been fat, so I don't know why I have them in the first place. I'm 5"7 and weigh an athletic 126 - and have never weighed more than 138, which is not gross for my height.

Basically, from mid-back to mid calf, I'm literally a maze of stretch marks. (Plus on my breasts - a 34 A. No extra fat here). I feel like a tiger. On the front of my thighs they cross horizontally, as well as my back, and on my hips and behind my knees they are vertical and very fat. I developed these about 10 years ago, so they are now all white scars. Is there any hope? I'm athletic and young and have been hiding my body for 10 years and I'm sick of it.

If you know of any treatments or experimental studies (I'd glady participate in exchange for treatments), I'd appreciate it! Thank you for your time!

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Your case sounds a little out of the ordinary. The normal conditions that cause stretch marks include pregnancy, wieght gain / loss, and breast growth. Rarely stretch marks occur with basic growth. Some have a problem with their skin and connective tissue such that there are excessive stretch marks for no good reason at all.

Options include camouflage with clothing or makeup. Laser surgery may have something to offer but results are a little early. Several treatments seem to be needed. You obviously need an examination to determine your options.

I hope this information proves of value.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: Stretch Marks !!!!

I am a 30 year old multiracial female. I have had stretch marks since I was 12. I have never been overweight, in fact I have always been quite thin. I have also never been pregnant, nonetheless I have stretch marks on my upper, outer thighs and on my calves. I am particularly frustrated because, not to be vain, I'm a good looking woman. I excercise faithfully, but I won't even wear shorts. My skin is the complexion of a suntan so the white striae show up very well. I have already read that many women get straie during adolescence, which I guess, is what happened to me. I'm positive that none of the creams on the market work. Tanning doesn't work. Retin A might work, but definitely not on mature striae. I am hoping that this new vascular laser surgery can help. I think its been long enough that stretchmarks have gone without a solution. It's like not enough studies are done because its not a serious condition, but to those of us who have them it is. Anything that affects the quality of life is an important topic. But anyways, I would really like to hear back from the person who said she was having the laser surgery done because I am considering it myself. I'm also intersted in knowing if products like Silk Skin formerly known as Rejuveness work.

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Many are looking for a treatment for all types of scars. Yes stretch mark scars can be particularly unattractive. Some people develop such scars with normal growth. Others have problems with their elastic tissues such that the scars are only the tip of the iceberg of other problems.

All plastic surgeons wish they had the answer to your question. We also we had a cure for cancer, violence, and many other quests. There are hopes for the new lasers with stretch marks. Early results are encouraging, but not all patients have benefited. Test patches are one way to see how that particular method may work for any one patient. Sometimes several treatments are needed. General massaging and tincture of time seem to improve new stretch marks. Old ones may benefit from laser treatment. Sun tans are not a good way to camouflage these marks.

Silicone sheeting (Rejuveness is one such material) tends to soften scars. Many of my patients like how the scars tend to soften. I have never seen it work however on stretch marks. Scar care product links can be found here.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: stretch marks

Hi! I also have stretch marks...I begin to think the company which designs a way to successfully treat them will become a multi-million dollar mega bucks company because so many women have these marks which are so distressing. I keep hearing about the Yellow Dye Laser. Have you heard if this works? I tried one laser treatment (I am not sure if it was yellow dye) which left the mark we tried it on with a much bigger, even uglier scar. By the way I also had laser on my cheeks to remove broken capillaries (sp?) and I was left with grape colored cheeks for about a year. Now two years later I can still see some discoloration (my doc said that in two weeks my skin would be back to normal!).

Because of this experience, I am leary of lasers, but if there is any evidence they work on stretch marks, I would go "under the light" again. Is there evidence of this type?

Thanks for any assistance you could provide,

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Some are advocating lasers for stretch marks. Results are still early and this technique is still early in its learning curve. Poor results are sometimes from the procedure itself, how it is done, or how the patient heals. If your doctor conservatively treated you, you may not be a good candidate for lasers. Ask your doctor, but I would be careful before trying again.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: covering stretch marks

I read your post about stretch marks in the Style boards and I checked out your website as well. I was just wondering if you had any names of makeup that will conceal stretchmarks very well. I have heard conflicting reports about how well laser surgery works on stretch marks. If you cant e-mail me I would greatly appreciate you posting your answer in the Style (body) boards or on your website. Thanks alot, .

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

There are several brands of heavy based makeup designed to camouflage pigment affected regions. They tend to conceal the color changes but only partially help contour problems. Since some stretch marks have deep creases, shadows and how these lines move still can be bothersome. The thicker makeup does improve some of these issues. Dermablend is one of several easily located brands that markets a body makeup. Some are advocating the laser for this problem but the results are still preliminary.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: prednisone caused stretch marks

I have a daughter 24 years old who was diagnosed with Crohns Disease four years ago. As a result of prednisone therapy for the symptoms she experienced weigh gain from 92 lbs up to 140. She is in remission and is no longer on prednisone. She has indicated that she will never take prednisone again. She has many stretch marks in the areas of the armpits, breasts, stomach, crotch and knee areas which are red and very visually bothersome to her. Any advice to help her cope with this problem or any new treatment news would be greatly appreciated.Oddly enough, you happen to be in our area. We live in Powhatan, Va.

Thank you,

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Prednisone is a life saving drug and probably what helped your daughter with her Crohns Disease. Prednisone however can weaken the skin and impair wound healing. Weight gain stretches the skin which can unfortunately result in stretch marks. Although these marks may be permanent, laser treatments sometimes can improve the surface appearance. Several treatments may be necessary. Some patients have liked the results, others have not seen improvement. See other responses please.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: Stretch Marks

I was visiting your site and read your responses to other readers. It seems that you're pretty confident that there is not going to be a solution to get rid of stretch marks any time soon.

This is really amazing. You figure will all the plastic surgery options today, someone would be really trying to tap in on this market. What about laser treatment followed with skin grafting? Is stretch mark removal an area that is studied and up and coming?

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Stretch marks can be improved by many techniques, just not eliminated. Proper early care seems to lessen their impact but most improve to some degree with no treatment. Laser seems to be the newest attempt at stretch mark improvement. Results are early but promising. Treatment is expensive however. Skin grafting for stretch marks usually leaves a much worse scar.

You question is amazing. Plastic surgery is not market hype. Scientific advances are not generated from market pressures. In fact basic research money is getting harder to come by. There have been honest hard working investigators working on scars for many decades. Some problems may be solved, others may not. Other times we will just have to slowly take what improvements we can get and hope that something can be developed.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: stretch marks in blacks


l am a 20yr old body builder with stretch marks on my biceps and chest and l wanted to know how well lasers work on stretch marks.

Also all the postings l have read online discuss the effects of various treatments of stretch marks on white skin and literary none on dark or black skin and l wanted to know if these various treatments that work for pink stretch marks also work form stretch marks on dark skin. Your response will be appreciated. Thank you


Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Lasers may selectively injure the pigment making parts of the skin. The effect on black skin is still a question being answered as these new tools are being explored. Test treatments in an area less exposed are one technique but one difficult when all parts of the body may be exposed.

Michael Bermant, MD

Subj: Re: stretch marks

Like many of your patients & message board participants, I have had stretch marks since I was thirteen. I am now twenty-five and have spent a lot of time searching for a cure. I wanted to share something with you and your message board readers that may prove to be helpful.

For about six months, I have been applying a daily combination of 28,000 i.u. vitamin E oil and "Vaseline Intensive Care - Smooth Legs & Feet" lotion (comes in the purple bottle) to my stretch marks. Both products are relatively cheap and, over a few months, I have noticed a huge improvement in the appearance of my stretch marks. In certain light, I can't even see them anymore. Don't get me wrong, they are not gone. But the appearance has improved dramatically. Just a little bit of hope for you.

Dr. Bermant responds:

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Thank you. Massaging has shown over and over again to improve scars. I am not certain if the other two materials were a component of the improvement. Massaging without lubrication can cause irritation. I have my patients use cocoa butter or a hand lotion with cocoa butter. I am not aware of any controlled studies that address this interesting issue other than ones using cocoa butter.

Michael Bermant, MD

Stretch marks look worse in loose skin, and not as bad in tigher skin. Learn about stretch marks removed during tummy tuck abdominoplasty surgery . Click here to see photographs and learn more about surgery to tighten abdominal skin.


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