Stretch marks are lines that appear on the skin as slightly indented streaks. They may look reddish or purplish, depending on your skin color. Or they can look lighter than the color of your skin. With time, they may fade and become less noticeable.
Stretch marks may appear any time a person gains a lot of weight. They may also develop during pregnancy, after growth spurts during puberty, or from using corticosteroids. They often show up on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, hips, lower back, buttocks, and thighs.
Creams and oils do not prevent stretch marks. For new stretch marks, your doctor may suggest using a medicine that is put on the skin. It may help the stretch marks fade.
There aren't any treatments that can make stretch marks go away completely, but laser therapy may help. For people with darker skin, microneedling may be preferred over laser therapy. This is because laser therapy in darker skin can cause the skin in the treated area to turn darker than the nearby skin (hyperpigmentation).
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology & Jason M. Quinn MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine