How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks: 11 Ingredients to Try

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A in skin care products is referred to as a retinoid. Retinoids can make skin appear smoother and more youthful. They’re used in many over-the-counter (OTC) topical cosmetic creams.

Research from 2015 focused on tretinoin, a prescription-strength form of retinol. In an older study from 1996, researchers found that tretinoin helped stretch marks appear smaller and less severe.

However, few recent and large-scale studies have examined the efficacy of tretinoin for stretch marks. More research is needed to identify all its effects on stretch marks.

Vitamin A products can sometimes irritate the skin, so it’s best to follow instructions carefully if you try this ingredient. Because there are known risks to using retinoids during pregnancy, you should not use them if you are:

  • pregnant
  • lactating
  • trying to become pregnant

2. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a powerful ingredient for moisturizing and skin healing. It’s often used in creams, lotions, and serums.

The visible appearance of stretch marks comes along with invisible changes to your skin. These changes make skin less elastic, in part because collagen isn’t doing its usual job of strengthening the skin.

Hyaluronic acid could have the potential to effect skin elasticity, according to a 2014 study.

In fact, some research from 2017 suggests that hyaluronic acid can improve the appearance of stretch marks, though more research is needed to be sure. To try it, apply a hyaluronic acid product to the affected area each day.

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3. Centella

Centella asiatica is an herb that’s a popular ingredient in Korean beauty (K-beauty) products.

Known as cica creams, products containing centella are sometimes used as scar treatments or to help calm and repair sensitive skin. Cica creams are growing in popularity in the United States, but they can be pricey.

Centella helps reduce inflammation and promote collagen production. Research from 2015 suggested that creams containing centella may help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy and improve how they look. But the researchers cautioned that more evidence is still needed.

4. Sugar

Sugar is a popular exfoliator. The small crystals gently scrub away dead skin and leave you feeling smoother.

Microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist is one of the few clinically proven methods to make stretch marks fade. So, this home remedy for exfoliation seems worth a try. You might already have the ingredients at home.

To make a sugar scrub:

  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with a softening agent, like almond oil or coconut oil. Mix the oil into the sugar, a little at a time. Your scrub is ready when it looks like wet beach sand. You may need to add up to 1/2 cup oil in total.
  2. Gently rub the mixture over the part of your body where the stretch marks are.
  3. Repeat 2 or 3 times per week while in the shower or bath. Rinse with warm water.

Make small batches of the scrub as needed. You can store your sugar scrub in a sealed container for a short time, but if it starts to look or smell off, start fresh with a new batch.

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5. Aloe vera

Aloe vera has a long history as a natural skin treatment. The jelly from inside the leaves of the aloe vera plant can be applied directly to skin to soothe and moisturize.

Research from 2018 suggests that aloe vera helps skin heal from burns and wounds. Because stretch marks are a type of scarring from damaged skin, aloe’s skin-repairing properties might help with stretch mark prevention or fading.

While little clinical evidence exists for aloe vera as a stretch mark cure, pure aloe vera may be worth trying because it can soften and heal skin.

Apply pure aloe vera from a plant or an OTC product to your stretch marks daily after your shower.

6. Coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil has some known benefits for the skin. It can help maintain your skin’s protective barrier.

Research from 2018 suggested that coconut oil improves dry skin and some skin infections. And in a 2010 study using rats, virgin coconut oil helped skin wounds heal faster.

There’s not a lot of evidence to promote the use of coconut oil for stretch marks. Research on other plant oils (olive oil, almond oil, and cocoa butter) hasn’t shown any improvement from their use.

That said, it’s possible that the action of gently massaging an oil onto your skin could prevent stretch marks, 2015 research suggests. A gentle daily massage of your stretch marks with coconut oil might help, and it’s not likely to cause harm.

Of course, if you’re allergic to coconut, you’ll want to avoid this ingredient.

Keep in mind that any skin care treatment can occasionally cause allergies or sensitivities. This includes home remedies and natural approaches. So, if you notice a reaction, stop using the ingredient.

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About the Author: Tung Chi