5 Ways To Treat Stretch Marks In Teenagers

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5 Ways To Treat Stretch Marks In Teenagers

Treating stretch marks can help prevent your teen from being conscious of their dressing choices.

Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched excessively, often as a result of rapid growth or weight changes during the teenage years. Stretch marks are a common occurrence, especially as teenagers approach puberty. While they are not physically painful, many teenagers may feel self-conscious or concerned about the appearance of their stretch marks. Stretch marks in teenagers can have various origins, exhibit distinct symptoms, and require appropriate diagnosis and treatment approaches. Additionally, there are preventative measures that can be taken to help minimize the development of stretch marks. This post explores the various aspects of stretch marks in teenagers in greater detail.

Where Do Stretchmarks Appear On Teen’s Body?

Stretch marks are a common occurrence, forming as tiny tears in the dermis, the second layer of the skin. These marks typically appear in areas where the skin has been overstretched, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, legs, and chest. However, they can develop on any part of the body that has undergone significant stretching.

The extreme stretching of the skin can cause stretch marks to appear in various colors, ranging from purple or red to white or silver. These color changes are a result of alterations in the connective tissues and collagen fibers within the skin.

Gemma, a plus-size Scottish blogger diagnosed with M.E. or Post Viral/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, openly shares her perspective on her body and the stretch marks she has experienced. She states, "My thighs are wobbly with deep stretch marks which have been there since my (thin) teens. My boobs have stretch marks too, as does my bulging belly and my waist-size ain't what it used to be. My outer thighs show signs of cellulite and I have a double chin from (most) angles. There's a whole list of things I don't like, but there's also plenty I do. I like my decolletage, my arms, my lower legs and my waist (even if it isn't as thin as it used to be). Those stretch marks to me are a story of my life, my battles with my weight."

This candid reflection highlights the personal nature of stretch marks and how individuals can embrace and find beauty within their unique physical attributes, regardless of societal expectations.

Signs And Symptoms Of Stretch Marks In Teenagers

The appearance of stretch marks can vary significantly, depending on factors such as the underlying cause, duration, location on the body, and the individual's skin type. Some common variations in the visual characteristics of stretch marks include:

  1. Indented Streaks: Stretch marks may appear as indented streaks with zigzag or irregular edges along the skin's surface.
  2. Linear Markings: In some cases, stretch marks manifest as distinct lines or streaks on the skin.
  3. Color Variations: Stretch marks can range in color from bright, vivid shades of pink, red, or purple to more faded, lighter hues.
  4. Extensive Coverage: Stretch marks can sometimes cover larger areas of the skin, creating a more extensive pattern or distribution.
  5. Pigmentation Changes: Darker-colored stretch marks, such as those that appear black or blue, are also possible.
Over time, the appearance of stretch marks may evolve, with darker pigmented marks fading to lighter tones as the skin adapts and heals.

The diverse manifestations of stretch marks highlight the individualized nature of this common skin condition, which can be influenced by a variety of biological and environmental factors.

Causes Of Teenage Stretch Marks

A variety of factors and conditions that lead to excessive stretching of the skin can result in the development of stretch marks. For instance, significant physiological changes experienced during puberty, including rapid muscle growth, weight fluctuations, and growth spurts, are common triggers for stretch marks in both teenage boys and girls.

It's important to note that the severity and appearance of stretch marks can vary considerably, depending on individual factors such as skin type, genetic predisposition, skin elasticity, and cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and its presence can influence the elasticity of the skin's fibers, potentially contributing to the formation and visibility of stretch marks.

The multifaceted nature of stretch mark development, influenced by a combination of biological, hormonal, and environmental factors, underscores the individualized experience of this common skin condition during the teenage years.

Risks Of Developing Stretch Marks

While stretch marks can develop in anyone going through puberty, certain factors may increase the likelihood of their occurrence (3, 4):

  1. Female Gender: Individuals assigned female at birth tend to be more prone to developing stretch marks, likely due to hormonal and physiological changes associated with female puberty.
  2. Family History: Genetic predisposition plays a role, as a family history of stretch marks can heighten the risk of developing them.
  3. Overweight or Obesity: Carrying excess weight or experiencing significant weight fluctuations can put more strain on the skin, leading to a higher incidence of stretch marks.
  4. Rapid Weight Changes: Rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss can both contribute to the formation of stretch marks by causing the skin to stretch or contract rapidly.
  5. Long-Term Corticosteroid Use: Prolonged use of oral or topical corticosteroid medications can impact the skin's elasticity and collagen production, increasing the risk of stretch mark development.
  6. Cushing's Syndrome: This hormonal disorder, characterized by elevated cortisol levels, is associated with a higher prevalence of stretch marks.
  7. Marfan Syndrome: This genetic disorder affecting connective tissue can also predispose individuals to the formation of stretch marks.
Understanding these risk factors can help individuals and healthcare providers proactively address and manage the potential development of stretch marks during the puberty stage

Treatment For Stretch Marks In Teenagers

If there are underlying health concerns contributing to the development of stretch marks, a teen's healthcare provider may initiate appropriate treatment for the underlying condition. For example, if stretch marks are associated with obesity or being overweight, the teen may be guided by a nutritionist to adopt a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

It's important to note that stretch marks are generally harmless, and they often fade over time. While various treatments may be able to partially diminish or improve the appearance of stretch marks, none of these methods have been proven to be highly effective. The most effective approach is to address the underlying cause, maintain a healthy weight, and allow the natural healing process to take its course, as stretch marks tend to gradually diminish over time.

Retinoid creams, lotions, or gels:

 These products contain derivatives of vitamin A, such as tretinoin, which is available under brand names like Retin-A, Renova, or Avita. Stretch mark creams containing retinoids may help rebuild collagen fibers in the skin, potentially improving the appearance of stretch marks and making the affected areas look more similar to normal skin. However, it's important to note that the use of retinoid-based stretch mark creams can sometimes cause skin irritation in certain individuals.

The application of these retinoid-containing stretch mark creams may provide some improvement in the appearance of stretch marks, but their overall effectiveness can vary. As with any skincare treatment, it's recommended to consult with a dermatologist before using retinoid-based products, especially for sensitive or problematic skin, to ensure the appropriate use and manage any potential side effects.

Laser and Light Therapies:

 These specialized treatments aim to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin within the skin. The various types of laser and light-based therapies, when used for stretch marks, can potentially help improve the appearance of these marks by promoting the regeneration of the skin's supportive structures.

Some common laser and light therapy options that may be recommended by dermatologists for treating stretch marks include:

  • Ablative Lasers: These lasers remove the outer layer of skin, encouraging new skin growth.
  • Non-Ablative Lasers: These stimulate collagen production without removing the outer skin layer.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy: This uses broad-spectrum light to target discoloration and improve skin texture.

The effectiveness of these laser and light-based treatments can vary, and multiple sessions are often required to see noticeable improvements in the appearance of stretch marks. As with any procedure, it's important to consult with a qualified dermatologist to determine the most suitable option and ensure proper application.


This is a non-invasive treatment that uses a handheld device to gently exfoliate the skin's surface. The device blows fine crystals that remove a thin layer of the outermost skin cells.

The process of microdermabrasion can potentially stimulate the growth of newer, more elastic skin over time. By removing the topmost layer of skin, microdermabrasion may encourage the skin's natural healing response, leading to the production of fresh collagen and elastin fibers.

While microdermabrasion alone may not dramatically improve the appearance of existing stretch marks, it can be part of a comprehensive skin care regimen to help minimize their visibility over multiple treatment sessions. As with any procedure, it's important to consult a dermatologist to determine if microdermabrasion is an appropriate and safe option for addressing stretch marks.

Non-Ablative Radiofrequency:

 This is a skin rejuvenation treatment that utilizes specialized radiofrequency devices. Unlike ablative techniques that remove the outermost layer of skin, non-ablative radiofrequency treatments work by delivering controlled thermal energy into the deeper layers of the skin.

The goal of non-ablative radiofrequency for stretch marks is to stimulate the production of new collagen. The targeted heating of the skin's underlying structures can trigger the body's natural wound healing response, leading to the formation of newer, more elastic collagen fibers.

This type of treatment is considered non-invasive, as it does not remove any skin layers. Instead, it aims to remodel and improve the skin's overall texture and appearance, which may help diminish the visibility of existing stretch marks over the course of multiple treatment sessions.

As with any cosmetic procedure, it's important for individuals to consult a qualified dermatologist to determine if non-ablative radiofrequency is an appropriate and safe option for addressing their specific stretch mark concerns.

Microfocused Ultrasound Therapy (Ultherapy): 

This non-invasive treatment uses focused ultrasound waves to target the deeper layers of the skin. The thermal energy delivered by the ultrasound waves can stimulate the production of new collagen, helping to improve skin elasticity and texture.

The brand name "Ultherapy" is commonly used to refer to this type of microfocused ultrasound therapy. By promoting collagen growth in the skin, Ultherapy treatments may help diminish the appearance of existing stretch marks over the course of several sessions.

Chemical Peels: In addition to the other treatments mentioned, dermatologists may also recommend chemical peels as a procedure to help reduce the visibility of stretch marks.

Chemical peels work by exfoliating the outermost layers of the skin, encouraging the growth of newer, healthier-looking skin. Depending on the depth and type of chemical peel used, this treatment can potentially improve the texture and appearance of stretch marks by stimulating collagen production and cell turnover.

As with any cosmetic procedure, it's essential for individuals to consult with a qualified dermatologist to determine the most appropriate treatment options and ensure safe and effective management of their stretch mark concerns.

The following instructions may ensure better results with topical treatment:

Apply products when the stretch marks are new: Treating fresh, newly formed stretch marks is more effective than trying to remove mature, established stretch marks. Older, more developed stretch marks can be more difficult to improve with topical treatments.
Massage the product gently over the marks: Massaging the topical product into the affected skin can help enhance the product's effectiveness. The gentle massage can improve absorption and stimulate circulation to the area.
Apply the product daily for a few weeks: Consistent, daily application of the topical treatment over a period of several weeks is important to see any noticeable results. Sporadic or infrequent use is less likely to provide meaningful improvements.
Following these application tips - using products on new stretch marks, massaging the area, and applying daily for a sustained period - can help maximize the effectiveness of topical treatments and provide better outcomes for managing the appearance of stretch marks.

As always, it's recommended to consult a dermatologist to determine the most appropriate products and routines for individual stretch mark concerns.