Having stretch marks on your breasts, buttocks, thighs and hips is a common occurrence in over 90% of women in the world. Other common areas prone to this problem are the abdomen, upper arms, back and underarms. These are areas where larger amounts of fat are stored. Although they can be very unsightly in the beginning, they tend to fade and diminish over time. The good news is this is a cosmetic problem and it will not affect the body’s ability to function normally. Although experts say they will never fully go away, there are still plenty of things you can do to lighten them to the point that they are barely noticeable.

What Are They?

Stretch marks are scars that occur when the skin is pulled and stretched too much. Although the skin is an extremely elastic part of our body, its production of collagen will be disrupted when it is overstretched. Collagen is the protein that builds and connects the tissue on your skin. As a result of the overstretching and lack of collagen, scars will appear. They can come about due to puberty, pregnancy or bodybuilding. In the beginning, they will show up looking like a series of reddish and purplish lines. One simple way to tell that the scars are indeed stretch marks is by feeling for indentations. This is because they have a different texture from healthy skin and will appear slightly raised.

Ways to Reduce their Appearance on Your Breasts

It is best to take the necessary precautions during your pregnancy to lessen the risk of getting them. Teens going through puberty and those planning to start a bodybuilding regime should also take the necessary measures to prevent the formation of these scars. However, experts say that in most cases they are inevitable so the best you can do is to take the necessary precautions to make them less obvious.

1. Laser Treatment

Laser treatments will work on many skin types. Your dermatologist will use a special laser that implements short pulses of micro-fine laser light to reach into the skin’s sub-layers to treat its aging support structure. Your body will then start the healing process by eliminating the old tissue and replacing it with new tissue by producing extra collagen. The boost of new collagen will reduce the appearance of the scars. Depending on the severity of the scars, laser treatment can be performed in as little as half an hour. A minimum of five treatment sessions is recommended for the best results. Most patients feel minor discomfort during the process. Besides short-term redness and swelling, there are not many side effects that occur after undergoing laser treatment. Reality star Kim Kardashian recently underwent laser surgery to remove the scars on her breasts that surfaced from her pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about the options available to you and to find out whether you are a viable candidate for this procedure.

2. Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a process used to remove layers of skin for aesthetic purposes. This procedure is generally painless and does not have serious side effects. However, you should keep in mind that dermabrasion will not completely remove them. It will simply stimulate the skin to grow better, hence lightening the scars and reducing their visibility.

3. Home Remedies

Although home remedies will not eliminate them, they can help make them less visible. Combine half a cup of organic olive oil and a quarter cup of aloe vera gel. Rub the mixture onto the marks each night before bed. Place a towel over your sheets to prevent staining from the oil. Do this every night until you start noticing a difference. You can also combine almond oil, lavender oil, shea butter and safflower oil in a bowl and rub the mixture over your scars right after you take a shower. Let the oils soak into your skin and over time you will find that the marks are visibly lightened.

4. Moisturize Religiously

Start moisturizing from the early stages of your pregnancy or bodybuilding regime. The sooner you start the better. If the skin is well nourished and moisturized, it will not take such a harsh beating when it starts to overstretch during the later stages. Religiously use heavy creams and butter balms with bases like shea, coconut, olive, sesame, rosehip and cocoa. Continue doing so after your pregnancy as keeping your skin hydrated will do it more good than harm. You can also head to your local drugstore and pick up a jar or two of stretch mark cream.

5. Surgery

Undergoing surgery to remove them is a big decision and one that should be made with care and consideration. Speak to a plastic surgeon to find out more about the pros and cons of getting surgery. He or she will advise you on whether it is necessary and appropriate to do so based on how severe they are.

6. Retinoid

Retinoids are an umbrella of products that include prescription medications which contain vitamin A. Retinoids encourage the production of collagen and elastin and hence are considered to be good for combating them. Keep in mind that retinoids are more effective when the scars are still red and purple and not once they have turned white. Do not use retinoids while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Seek the help of a pharmacist or doctor when shopping for retinoids.