Stretch marks – how to get rid of stretch marks

Last updated: 7/5/2021

Stretch marks are something that affect many of us – especially pregnant women, but also people who are overweight, undergoing puberty and people who lose weight very quickly. Here we will take a look at what stretch marks look like, what causes them and what we can do to treat them.

Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Anne, Varde Pharmacy
Anne has a MSc in Pharmacy from the University of Southern Denmark and has worked as a pharmacist at the Varde pharmacy for several years. Here she advises both costumers and doctors about the correct use of medical products.

What are stretch marks – and who can get stretch marks?

When we hear the word stretch marks, most people think about pregnant women and their fast-growing tummies. Pregnancy stretch marks are indeed a very common phenomenon. Doctors estimate that up to as many as 90% of all pregnant women will experience stretch marks to some extent towards the end of their pregnancy.

Stretch marks are caused by a rapid and extreme stretching of the skin. This typically occurs as a result of weight gain – e.g. in pregnant women or others who put on weight at a rapid pace. But it is not only through pregnancy that stretch marks occur and nor are they reserved exclusively for women. They can also occur in connection with the considerable muscle growth we often see in bodybuilders, in conjunction with sudden weight loss or in young people whose bodies grow and change rapidly during puberty.

Stretch marks, which are called striae in Latin, are a form of scarring that occurs under the skin – specifically on the elastic middle layer of skin known as the dermis. The dermis is the thickest layer of skin and it is cracking in this layer that causes stretch marks to appear.

Stretch marks often take the form of purple, pink or blue streaks on the skin. They do not disappear by themselves but may become faded and lighter in colour over time. That said, there are different methods available for treating stretch marks which we will look at in more detail below.


Why do you get stretch marks?

Our skin is generally very elastic and therefore able to withstand a great deal without cracking. Yet, when it is subjected to extraordinary pressure and extreme stretch under a very short period of time in connection with rapid weight gain, rapid weight loss or rapid growth, it can’t always cope with the pressure. This can happen in both men and women, young and old alike.

When the elastic fibres in our skin are subjected to considerable overstretch, they lose their elasticity. The fibres never regain this elasticity and the scarring caused is therefore largely permanent.

The reason why some people get stretch marks and others don’t is related to the type and elasticity of skin. Some people simply have more elastic skin than others. Genetics also play a role here. Some people are simply more prone to stretch marks as a result of their genetics and family history.

Fortunately stretch marks are not a health risk, however they are typically undesirable from a purely cosmetic point of view. Stretch marks may sometimes feel a little itchy, but you won’t notice them otherwise – except when you look in the mirror.

The good news is you can reduce the visibility of your stretch marks by providing your skin with plenty of moisture and nourishment. One great way to do this is by using Body Oil, which is packed with active ingredients that nourish the skin and improve the appearance of stretch marks.

Australian Bodycare Body Oil

Body Oil with Tea Tree Oil for stretch marks, scars and pigmentation

£10.99

See product

Puberty, weight gain and weight loss

Adolescents grow a lot during puberty. For the most part, our skin is able to keep up, but sometimes growth can occur so quickly that the skin cracks and cause stretch marks to form. The hormonal imbalance that occurs during puberty can also play a role in helping to increase the risk of stretch marks.

Rapid weight gain puts the skin under great stress as it needs to stretch considerably in a short period of time. The skin is sometimes stretched beyond what its tensile strength can manage and this causes stretch marks to appear. Pregnancy stretch marks are particularly common towards the end of pregnancy when the skin is stretched to a considerable degree. The risk of stretch marks is especially high in the case of twin pregnancies, pregnancies with a lot of amniotic fluid, younger pregnancies and overweight pregnancies. Changes to the hormonal balance during pregnancy typically also play a role in whether or not stretch marks will occur and to what extent.

Rubbing the body with a good skin care oil is one way to reduce the risk of stretch marks or other forms of unevenness from occurring on your skin. Body Oil from Australian Bodycare can be used all throughout your pregnancy and after childbirth, no matter whether you are breastfeeding or not.

Stretch marks can also occur in much the same way among people who rapidly put on weight. And in bodybuilders and weightlifters who build up large amounts of muscle mass over a short period of time and therefore also subject their skin to significant pressure.

Even losing weight can put the skin under pressure if weight is lost rapidly over a short period of time. Many people believe that weight loss will immediately result in smooth and attractive-looking skin but that’s unfortunately not how it works, to the frustration of many.

However, you can help bring along that smooth and lovely-looking skin by using a good body scrub to remove dead skin cells and bacteria from the skin. By using a good skincare oil afterwards – preferably twice daily – you will give your skin the best chances to take on a lovely and smooth appearance. Body Oil from Australian Bodycare contains moisturising ingredients such as squalane which helps ensure healthy and hydrated skin.

Stretch marks and orange peel skin

Stretch marks and orange peel skin, also known as cellulite, are often confused with one another. However the two things are completely unrelated.

Orange peel skin is caused by an accumulation of fat under the skin. As the connective tissue tightens, small dimples appear on the surface of the skin. These sometimes look a bit like the peel of an orange, hence the name. Cellulite occurs most often on the buttocks and thighs.

If you are frustrated by the appearance of cellulite on your skin, consider using an effective body scrub to remove dead skin cells and a nourishing skincare oil to reduce the visibility of your cellulite. Body Scrub and Body Oil from Australian Bodycare deliver much-needed elasticity and moisture to your skin while the process of massaging body oil into the skin using circular motions can increase blood circulation in the connective tissue and leave your skin looking nicer and smoother.  

Pack for orange peel skin

2 products to reduce orange peel skin and cellulite

£26.00

See product

Where can you get stretch marks?

Stretch marks can occur on most parts of the body. They often appear on the tummy, thighs, buttocks, hips, breasts, upper arms and forearms. These are the areas where our bodies tend to store the most fat.

Pregnancy stretch marks are most common on the breasts and the tummy. They can also occur on the thighs and arms in women who put on a lot of weight during pregnancy. In the case of overweight individuals, stretch marks are most common on the thighs and hips. For bodybuilders, the upper arms are particularly vulnerable. Generally speaking, all groups can experience stretch marks anywhere on the body. This is something that varies considerably from person to person.

No matter where stretch marks occur, they will often take the appearance of purple, pink or blue streaks on the skin. In most cases, they will fade and take on a lighter colour over time.

Fortunately, Body Oil can be used no matter where on your body stretch marks appear. It is suitable for use anywhere on the body and using it daily will help improve the appearance of stretch marks.



How to get rid of stretch marks

Stretch marks may become less visible over time but they will never disappear completely on their own. The damaged fibres in your skin – and the scarring they have caused – will never be able to heal. Fortunately, however, most stretch marks will shrink somewhat and fade over time.

It can be difficult to cover or conceal stretch marks, which is why some women and men unfortunately tend to avoid wearing bikinis or swimming trunks or dressing in shorts or short-sleeved tops. This can start to have a very limiting effect on our lives and cause problems for those affected. Young people in particular can find stretch marks difficult to live with. It is therefore worth investigating whether there is anything you can do to treat or get rid of your stretch marks – or if you can do anything to prevent them from occurring.

There are no well-documented ways to get rid of stretch marks and therefore no scientific evidence for whether or not any of the available treatments actually work, but there are nonetheless many different options out there that many can still benefit from.

However, as stretch marks cannot be removed entirely, the purpose of any treatment will only ever be to make stretch marks less visible in appearance.

In order to nourish the skin and reduce the visibility of stretch marks, you can use a good oil packed with moisturising ingredients such as sunflower oil and almond oil.

Australian Bodycare Body Oil

Body Oil with Tea Tree Oil for stretch marks, scars and pigmentation

£10.99

See product

Creams with Vitamin A Acid

Using a cream with Vitamin A Acid – also known as tretinoin cream – is a popular way to treat stretch marks. The cream works to stimulate the production of cells in the connective tissue in order to restore elasticity. There are several different products available which can be purchased from your local pharmacy.

Many cosmetics companies also make creams and oils designed to counteract stretch marks  – either by seeking to prevent them or to reduce their visibility.

Reducing stretch marks through exercise

Regular exercise keeps the body in shape, tightens up the skin and helps to prevent weight gain. All these things are good for the body – and they are also good for reducing the appearance of stretch marks. However, this is not an approach that will yield results in any great hurry.

Laser treatment or microneedling

If you’re tired of your stretch marks, then laser treatment might be an option worth considering. This is something you can get from a dermatologist but be aware that as it is entirely a cosmetic intervention, it is something you will have to fund at your own expense.

Laser treatment works by encouraging the skin to work on stimulating the production of cells in the connective tissue in order to try and replace the damaged fibres and restore your skin’s elasticity.

Another private option available on the market via a dermatologist or a private skincare clinic is a process known as microneedling. This treatment uses a device known as a derma roller which is a small handheld roller with micro surgical needles on it. The needles stimulate new cell growth when they come into contact with the skin in order to improve elasticity and encourage the production of new collagen. It therefore activates and utilises the body’s own natural ability to heal itself.

If laser treatment isn’t for you, then an alternative option is to try a good body oil that will deliver nourishment and active ingredients to your skin. Body Oil from Australian Bodycare contains almond oil and sunflower oil which are both rich in Vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in improving our dermatological health and smoothing out stretch marks. 

Household remedies against stretch marks

There are a vast array of different household remedies against all manner of ailments and stretch marks are no exception. One such remedy prescribes rubbing the skin in ordinary cooking oil. Another is to make a homemade scrub out of sugar. Egg whites, lemon juice and potato juice are also said to be effective against stretch marks. These different remedies can be worth a shot if you are interested in trying out a cheap and natural way to reduce the appearance of your stretch marks.

If you opt to try a good body scrub, then you may want to consider one which contains natural tea tree oil, which is an effective dead skin cell remover.

In addition, there are many natural oils available which are known to have a beneficial effect against the symptoms of various skin ailments. These include Australian tea tree oil as well as different oils containing aloe vera, almond or coconut.

For example, try an effective skincare oil made from almond and sunflower oil which both exert a softening effect and contain Vitamin E – which is an important ingredient in helping reduce stretch marks.

Pack for orange peel skin

2 products to reduce orange peel skin and cellulite

£26.00

See product

Preventing stretch marks

The best thing you can do to avoid getting stretch marks is to avoid rapid weight gain or being overweight. This applies both to pregnancy and in general. However there are no guarantees as even skinnier women often experience stretch marks in pregnancy.

There are many different creams, ointments, oils and lotions available which claim to help prevent stretch marks. There is no scientific evidence that they work, but as these remedies are completely harmless and risk-free, they may be worth a try nonetheless. Pregnant women in particular will find a wide array of products being marketed towards them which claim to prevent the occurrence of stretch marks.

The skin can always benefit from extra hydration that will prevent it from drying out, so using a good cream, lotion or oil on your skin will never do any harm.

A healthy and varied diet which is rich in vitamins and vegetables is good for the whole body and therefore also good for the skin, so this is also worth keeping in mind.

Australian Bodycare Body Oil

Body Oil with Tea Tree Oil for stretch marks, scars and pigmentation

£10.99

See product

Stretch marks FAQ

How to remove stretch marks?

There is no treatment that can remove stretch marks completely but there is a lot you can do to make stretch marks considerably less visible. For example, use a good skincare oil that will make your skin more elastic and smooth.


What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are cracks in the dermis caused by a rapid and extreme stretching of the skin. They typically occur in connection with rapid weight gain, weight loss or rapid growth during puberty. Stretch marks often take the form of purple, pink or blue streaks on the skin.


Do stretch marks go away?

Stretch marks do not disappear by themselves although they may shrink and become paler over time. You can deliver moisture and elasticity to areas of skin bearing stretch marks by using a good skincare oil which is packed with nourishing ingredients such as squalane and Vitamin E.


Do stretch marks go away if you lose weight?

Stretch marks do not disappear on their own. However if you lose weight and do exercises that tighten up the skin, you may be lucky enough to experience an improvement in the appearance of your stretch marks. Be mindful, however, that extreme and rapid weight loss can also be a cause of stretch marks.

In order to care for your skin and minimise the appearance of stretch marks, you may want to try Body Oil from Australian Bodycare. This skincare oil contains the active ingredient tea tree oil, which is antibacterial, as well as almond oil and sunflower oil which moisturise and nourish the skin.


What causes stretch marks?

Stretch marks occur because the skin is stretched rapidly beyond what it is able to handle, even though our skin is extremely elastic by nature. When the elastic fibres in our skin are subjected to extreme stretch, they lose their elasticity, causing the skin to crack and stretch marks to appear.


Why do you get stretch marks when you build muscle?

If you engage in strength training and quickly increase your muscle mass (e.g. by lifting weights), your skin may sometimes be unable to keep up with the change. When your skin is stretched rapidly and considerably it can crack – and this causes stretch marks to appear.


Are there laser treatments to remove stretch marks?

Stretch marks can be removed or made less visible through laser treatments which you can get from a dermatologist.

If laser treatment is not for you, however, you can care for your skin and your stretch marks using a good skincare oil instead.


Can you prevent stretch marks?

Just as there is no real treatment to cure stretch marks, there is no surefire way to prevent them from occurring either. However, it can help to keep your weight down, to eat healthily, to exercise regularly and to keep your skin well hydrated by using a good cream, lotion or oil.


How to prevent stretch marks?

Stretch marks can be difficult to avoid even if you do absolutely everything you can to prevent them. You might be slim and healthy but unfortunately still get stretch marks during your pregnancy.

You can minimise the appearance of stretch marks and reduce their visibility by using a good skincare oil on a daily basis. Body Oil from Australian Bodycare is a suitable oil that can be used both during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.


Why do you get stretch marks on your buttocks?

Stretch marks often occur in the places where skin is most exposed to stretching. These are typically those parts of the body where large quantities of fat are stored, such as the buttocks, among other places.


When do stretch marks go away?

Unfortunately, stretch marks do not go away by themselves once the damage has been done. Yet there is a lot you can do to make stretch marks less visible. For example, try using a body oil which is formulated to make the skin lovely and smooth.


What do early stretch marks look like?

Early stretch marks take the form of small streaks on the skin which are light pink, blue or purple in colour. They may become more pronounced over time.

Why do pregnant women get stretch marks?

Pregnant women can get stretch marks because their skin is subjected to extreme stretching over a short period of time as their tummies and bodies expand.


Why do my stretch marks itch?

Stretch marks can sometimes feel a bit itchy. This is irritating but nothing to worry about. Stretch marks are entirely a cosmetic problem.


When do stretch marks turn white?

Stretch marks which appear as blue, purple or pink streaks on the skin may sometimes shrink somewhat over time and the coloured streaks may fade to a less visible shade of white.


How to cover stretch marks?

Covering stretch marks can be tricky although it is of course possible to hide them under clothes or to cover them with a concealer/coloured cream. However, a much better approach is to use a treatment which seeks to make your stretch marks less visible rather than to simply hide them away.

You can deliver moisture and elasticity to your skin by using a Body Oil which contains almond oil, sunflower oil and squalane – all ingredients which work to ensure smooth and attractive-looking skin.


Can exercise get rid of stretch marks?

Exercise and training can help tighten up the skin and this can have a beneficial effect on stretch marks which makes them less visible.


Do stretch marks hurt?

Stretch marks are not normally painful. They may sometimes feel a little itchy. If you find that your stretch marks cause you pain, then you should get your doctor to have a look at them.


Can stretch marks tolerate the sun?

Stretch marks can indeed tolerate the sun however much like the skin on the rest of your body, any exposure is best kept to a moderate level. And remember to use a good sun cream when spending time in the sun.

Australian Bodycare Body Oil

Body Oil with Tea Tree Oil for stretch marks, scars and pigmentation

£10.99

See product