Summe Skin: Stretch Marks

Hannah Morrill, Allure magazine

There may be no guaranteed way to prevent unwelcome red or white streaks, but Howard Sobel, a New York City dermatologic surgeon and the founder of DDF Doctor's Dermatologic Formula, says you can minimize them with a few effective skin strategies.

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Don't yo-yo.
Staying within 25 to 30 pounds of a base weight decreases the chances that stretch marks will form.

Treat them early.
Marks start out red and become white over time. No matter what course of action you take, you'll have much better luck if you treat them when they're fresh.

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Moisturizers are a temporary fix.
Lotions and body oils encourage cells to retain water, which plumps the skin. This helps improve the look of stretch marks and can also minimize, but not prevent, their formation during pregnancy.

Retin-A targets red streaks.
Applied twice daily for two to six months, a 0.1 percent prescription retinoid can improve the appearance of new stretch marks by more than 50 percent by boosting collagen and elastin regeneration. However, such regular Retin-A application will temporarily irritate the skin. Over-the-counter retinols may help as well, just not as much (and definitely not as quickly).

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Lasers are even better.
A Vbeam laser increases and remodels collagen and elastin in stretch marks and decreases inflammation, the cause of surface redness. Four to six treatments at $300 to $500 a session will drain color from red marks and make white marks less opaque by nearly 100 percent.


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