How do I get rid of deep stretch marks on my breasts?

I’m ashamed to look in the mirror without a top on because I have such deep stretch marks on my breasts. I have D cups and have always suffered from this problem, however the stretch marks got worse with age, and after I had children. Is there anything I can do?

ViolaGreen

F, 44, New York

Tags:woman age 35-44 breasts stretch marks post pregnancy

Unfortunately, stretch marks can be extremely difficult to remove. Stretch marks are actually a form of scarring that occurs when the upper layer of the dermis expands at a faster rate than the middle layers. This often happens during periods of weight gain, and is also very common in pregnant women. The tearing of the upper layer of skin and the connective tissues within the dermis exposes blood vessels -- which is why new stretch marks are often reddish in color.

Unfortunately there is no easy solution. There are many skin care products which are marketed as stretch mark removers, from coconut oil-based products to so-called "stretch mark creams." In my experience these products do not work.

Removal options include fractional and pulsed dye lasers which resurface the skin and reduce the visible appearance of stretch marks. But laser treatments are only ever partially effective. It is usually not possible to "remove" a stretch mark but it is possible to reduce the visibility of stretch marks over the course of multiple laser treatment sessions. Lasers will also gradually build up the collagen layer which can give the skin a more youthful, supple appearance.

Without a personal consultation I can't give you any specific recommendations, but a surgical procedure to remove the striae may also be an option. During a breast lift procedure it may be possible to remove skin from around the nipple using a periareolar incision. Depending on the size and location of the stretch marks, the breast lift procedure can sometimes remove all or most stretch marks while also improving the contour of the breasts at the same time. You should discuss all these possibilities with a plastic surgeon.

Always remember to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon for the best results.

It's very common for women to experience stretch marks after having children or following rapid weight gain or weight loss. The good news is that there are multiple treatment options that can help fade stretch marks. The bad news is that stretch marks can be very difficult -- if not impossible -- to remove completely.

Options can include treatment with pulsed dye lasers and prescription topical treatments like tretinoin. These treatments stimulate new collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin and gradually fade stretch marks in many cases.

While laser therapy is one of the best tools we currently have for fighting stretch marks, it's important to set expectations correctly: There are no clinical treatments which can completely remove stretch marks (save completely removing the skin, as with a tummy tuck). Home topical treatments and home remedies like shea butter, almond oil, cocoa butter or olive oil may help to moisturize the skin and possibly prevent the existence of new stretch marks to some extent. But there is no "cure" which can restore the skin back to its original unblemished state.

Depending on the size and location of the stretch marks you may be a good candidate for excision. I encourage you to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss possibilities. If excision is not an option, I would look into laser treatments which can at least help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks to some degree.