What can I do for my stretch marks with dark skin?

I am Greek and Italian and have very dark skin. My stretch marks have become very visible, as they are somewhat white. What is the best approach for me to help make these stretch marks less visible? I know there are a lot of options for people with lighter skin. Does the fact that I have dark skin impact how I should treat my issue?

defamedlilly

F, 38, Pennsylvania

Tags:woman age 35-44 stretch marks treatment skin tone

Unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done to eliminate stretch marks for people with darker skin. They typically result from the expansion of the skin due to pregnancy or weight gain. Stretch marks most commonly appear on the thighs, belly, breasts and hips. Some stretch marks fade over time, others don’t.

Once stretch marks become silver, grey or white, it means they are at a later stage and will be less likely to respond to topical treatment. If the stretch marks are at a relatively early stage, you may see some reduction from using topical creams. There are more radical approaches, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels or laser treatments, but these aren’t usually very effective at treating the issue.

The best first step is for you to schedule a consultation with a reputable dermatologist. They’ll be able to offer treatment options that may be more effective on darker skin tones and could help minimize the appearance of your stretch marks. In the meantime, and because it can cause the stretch marks to appear more pronounced as well as causing skin damage in general, make sure to limit sun exposure in these areas.

Stretch marks, or striae, often crop up as a result of something that puts strain on the skin, like significant weight gain or pregnancy.

The damage occurs as a result of the skin stretching quickly, damaging the collagen and elastic tissues. Marks begin to form in the dermis, or middle skin layer, which is the layer that enables the skin to maintain its shape. When it’s continually stretched, the dermis starts to break down, and the result is stretch marks.

Stretch marks can appear on the thighs, belly, breasts, hips and other areas. In many cases they look red or purple at first and then take on a streaked silver or white appearance. As a result, as you noted, they may be more noticeable on darker skin.

Technically, stretch marks are a form of scarring. By definition, scars are permanent, irreversible changes to the skin at the molecular level. So unfortunately there’s not a whole lot you can do about stretch marks.

Existing treatments for stretch marks focus on minimizing their appearance. The success of these treatments depends on a variety of factors, including age, skin tone, diet and the degree of sun damage in the area.

Lasers can lighten dark stretch marks in some patients, but that wouldn’t work in your case. Some doctors use dermabrasion and chemical peels for stretch marks, but again, these usually aren’t very successful.

You can also look into topical treatments that stimulate collagen production, improving the appearance of the skin surrounding stretch marks and possibly helping to minimize their appearance.

Examples of such treatments include prescription Retin-A or Tazorac creams and gels.

There are also over-the-counter products that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks by working to hydrate the skin. But the reality is that most topical treatments are more effective on pink and purple stretch marks, so they may not be effective in your case.

Once stretch marks reach the point where they appear grey, silver or white, it means they are at a later stage and less likely to respond to topical treatment, so there is not much more that can be done.

Unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done to eliminate stretch marks for people with darker skin.  They typically result from the expansion of the skin due to pregnancy or weight gain. Stretch marks most commonly appear on the thighs, belly, breasts and hips. Some stretch marks fade over time, others don’t. 

Once stretch marks become silver, grey or white, it means they are at a later stage and will be less likely to respond to topical treatment.  If the stretch marks are at a relatively early stage, you may see some reduction from using topical creams.  There are more radical approaches, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels or laser treatments, but these aren’t usually very effective at treating the issue.

The best first step is for you to schedule a consultation with a reputable dermatologist.  They’ll be able to offer treatment options that may be more effective on darker skin tones and could help minimize the appearance of your stretch marks.  In the meantime, and because it can cause the stretch marks to appear more pronounced as well as causing skin damage in general, make sure to limit sun exposure in these areas.

Stretch marks are very difficult to improve as it is the result of damage to the dermis. If your stretch marks are located at the lower abdomen, then a tummytuck may be the best option for you. However, you would be replacing the stretch marks with a scar that will go from hip to hip.