While there are a lot of treatments doctors can perform to get rid of stretch marks—microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser therapy, and microneedling—these treatments take months, aren’t always effective, and are very expensive. For example, laser treatment for stretch marks can cost as much as $10,000. Since most people can’t afford to spend that much on a cosmetic issue, we’ve compiled five cost-effective things to consider trying in order to fade or eliminate stretch marks:
Exfoliating skin removes dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and encourages skin regrowth and regeneration. While exfoliation will not impact the middle layer of skin where stretch marks form, encouraging skin growth on the surface of the skin may reduce the visibility of your stretch marks. You can use an over-the-counter body exfoliation product to exfoliate the skin over your stretch marks, or you can combine sugar with olive oil to create your own natural exfoliate.
Applying Lemon Juice
The citric acid in lemon juice can help expedite the lightening of dark stretch marks to reduce their visibility. Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it to stretch marks before bed at night. In the morning, wash it off. After some time, you may notice that the color of your stretch marks has faded. If the lemon juice irritates your skin, mix it with some aloe vera to reduce the concentration of acid you’re applying to your body.
Eating Foods That Promote Collagen Development
Collagen is a protein found naturally in the body that strengthens skin, makes it more elastic, and promotes skin healing and regrowth. Eating the right foods can encourage your body’s natural production of collagen and promote healing of skin around stretch marks, fading their color and reducing their appearance. Some foods that promote collagen development that you should include in your daily diet include lean proteins like fish and tofu, vegetables like red peppers, brussel sprouts, and carrots, and fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and cherries.
Applying Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can help fade and shrink stretch marks by reducing the inflammation of skin surrounding stretch marks and encouraging healing. Tea tree oil is usually available for purchase at health food stores. Massage the oil into the skin around your stretch marks before bed at night, and then wash the oil off in the morning with soap and water. You may want to try out the product on a patch of your skin first to ensure it doesn’t irritate your skin. If irritation occurs, you can dilute the product with an equal amount of olive oil.
Using a Stretch Mark Removal Cream
Many over the counter products are available that can fade or eliminate stretch marks at costs significantly lower than what you’d pay for a physician-performed treatment. When applied daily, these products may reduce the appearance of stretch marks over time or eliminate their visibility entirely. View our list of popular stretch mark removal products.