Stretch marks are areas of irregular skin patterns that resemble lines or stripes stretching across the skin.
Pregnancy, rapid weight gain and some types of diseases such as Cushing syndrome can cause stretch marks. Basically, one layer of skin has stretched and torn.
Prescription retinoid creams, Retin-A included, can help to diminish the appearance of stretch marks when topically applied. Retin-A works best on new stretch marks before they have had time to age and turn a silvery/grey color.
Retin-A is applied as a topical gel or cream and is actually a form of vitamin A derivative. Understanding how you can use Retin-A for removing stretch marks is relatively easy as long as you understand how it works and are aslo aware of some of the potential side effects of using it to remove stretch marks.
How Retin-A works
It works to rejuvenate skin and promote new skin growth by:
- Increasing the quantity of damaged skin or cell turnover.
- The active ingredients of Retin-A irritate the skin thereby causing death of skin cells and reappearance of new ones.
- It speeds up the skin cells dying process to allow new ones to take their place.
- It may help non-pregnant patients to reduce stretch marks appearance by decreasing their redness (from blood vessels constriction) and by curing the damaged skin.
However, doctors point out that stretch marks often resolve themselves, once the main cause of skin stretching is already gone.
Considerations for Retin-A
Primary considerations for using Retin-A to remove stretch marks involve who uses it and when it is used. For a start, pregnant women who get stretch marks as a result of rapid weight gain related to their pregnancy are advised not to use Retin-A while during term or while breastfeeding.
Stretch marks that are caused by rapid weight gain due to obesity, weight lifting and other medical conditions might qualify for treatment with Retin-A. Make sure you ask your dermatologist or family doctor. Also, Retin-A can also react negatively with certain drugs.This potentially harmful interaction can occur with allergy medications, prednisone, antidepressants and products that contain benzoyl peroxide (commonly in acne cream) and should be avoided when using Retin-A.
Side effects of Retin-A
Common side effects for new users of Retin-A are well documented.
- It can cause redness to occur on the application area of the skin.
- Peeling and a feeling of warmth also occurs on the skin area where Retin-A has been applied.
- It may also cause one’s skin to be very sensitive to other skin products.
- Increases your skins photosensitivity to light. (wear a sun screen)
Remember, if you experience any side effects when using Retin-A, do not be alarmed as that means a new generation of collagen is being manufactured to take the place of the old one. After 2-3 months of initial use, the symptoms subside as your skin starts to get accustomed to Retin-A.
If you need to use Retin-A to remove stretch marks, have a discussion with your doctor regarding the possible strategies to manage any ill side effects of using Retin-A. It is important to note that Retin-A can only be purchased on prescription from a doctor.
For best results, there is an ideal time for applying Retin-A on the stretch marks. The best time to use Retin-A is when the stretch marks are still fresh. One way you can determine if the stretch marks are still new is when the stretch marks appear pink in color and are a bit painful. If you apply Retin-A on the stretch marks when they already have a white color, you will not be very successful in removing them.