Can you remove stretch marks?
First of all, you need to know that, despite numerous cosmetic products making claims of being able to fade, prevent, or eliminate stretch marks, that just isn't possible. There are no cosmetic ingredients that can change the structure of skin in a way that would raise the indentations back to where the skin level used to be.
However, there is research showing tretinoin can have a positive effect. Because tretinoin can stimulate elastin synthesis, remodel collagen in the dermis, and improve skin's texture and color, it can be a strong ally for improving the appearance of stretch marks.
A 0.05% or 0.1% concentration of tretinoin is recommended, and the best results are seen when this drug is used at the first signs of stretch marks. Typical improvement is 20%, which isn't necessarily better, but may still be worth the effort and expense.
Other than topically applying tretinoin there are other medical cosmetic corrective procedures that can have very good results. These methods include chemical peels and non-ablative laser treatments. These non ablative laser treatment shows improvement in the length, depth, and coloration of stretch marks - but only after a series of treatment. However, this type of laser carries a low risk of side effects and complications when operated at appropriate treatment parameters and time intervals. However, if you have dark skin, it's not recommended as it could cause hyperpigmentation. Also, the price tag could be quite hefty too, sometimes running up to $2500! The price of beauty.
Beyond non-ablative lasers, you can also consider a series of chemical peels. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels may be of some help for improving the appearance of stretch marks when used at the proper concentration, 20% TCA and applied by a professionally trained personnel. A benefit of TCA peels is their skin-tightening effect. Because TCA peels penetrate further than AHA or BHA peels, they are believed to have a greater ability to stimulate collagen and elastin for the depth of damage seen in stretch marks.
One more myth to bust: you may have heard that specific moisturizing ingredients such as cocoa butter, vitamin E, or other various plant oils can prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As soothing and moisturizing as these ingredients are, they have no impact on how stretch marks are formed. Stretch marks are not caused because skin is dry or needs a special supplement. Rather stretch marks develop far below the skin's surface due to extreme strain, stress, and trauma that eventually breaks down the skin's support structure. No moisturizer in the world can prevent that kind of injury and damage to the skin from taking place.
These information can be disheartening but at least you won't be led around the merry-go-round by clever marketing gimmicks targetting beauty buffs like us