How do I Choose the Best Chemical Peel for Stretch Marks?

Jami Yontz

Stretch marks created by rapid weight loss or gain can be removed or faded through a chemical peel. The best chemical peel for stretch marks is one that is performed by a skin professional or dermatologist, who can safely apply a mid-level or deep layer peel for stretch marks. Only low-intensity chemical peel products are available for at-home use, and they do not contain the chemicals necessary to change the appearance of stretch marks.

Female abdomen with stretch marks.
Female abdomen with stretch marks.

Stretch marks are long, white or purple scars that form usually on the hips, buttocks, thighs or stomach. Many women are left with stretch marks after pregnancy or severe weight loss, and the marks can appear as thin, barely visible white lines or as thick, raised purple marks. Stretch marks form below the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, so for a chemical peel for stretch marks to be effective, it must be able to reach the second and sometimes the third layer of skin, known as the reticular dermis.

A dermatologist can perform a chemical peel for stretch marks.
A dermatologist can perform a chemical peel for stretch marks.

A chemical peel for stretch marks works by essentially removing the layers of skin. Skin does this naturally by sloughing off dead layers, but as a person ages the natural exfoliation process slows down. Once the layers of the skin are removed the body begins the healing process, which usually takes around two weeks. A mid-level or deep skin peel may not fully heal for several months.

Chemical peels to reduce acne scarring may be used in conjunction with other topical treatments if breakouts are still present.
Chemical peels to reduce acne scarring may be used in conjunction with other topical treatments if breakouts are still present.

Only a professional chemical peel will contain materials that are able to remove layers of skin below the epidermis. A deep skin peel usually contains trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or phenol, and these products might be combined with salicylic acid and glycolic acid to cleanse pores and remove sun spots or acne scars. Medium strength or deep skin peels will fade stretch marks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and melasma. These peels are more highly recommended because there is greater risk of infection and scarring with a deep skin peel. A medium depth peel may need to be applied a few times over several months to obtain the type of results desired.

Because nicotine found in cigarettes damages the fibers and connective tissues in the skin, people who smoke may be more likely to develop stretch marks.
Because nicotine found in cigarettes damages the fibers and connective tissues in the skin, people who smoke may be more likely to develop stretch marks.

Medium depth and deep chemical peels for stretch marks can be painful, and only a professional should administer the chemicals and provide post-procedure care. Chemical peels will leave the skin sensitive to light, and it may permanently lighten the person’s skin coloring. A person interested in undergoing a chemical peel should talk with a dermatologist about the risks and how their skin may react to the procedure.

A chemical peel can help remove stretch marks caused by rapid weight loss.
A chemical peel can help remove stretch marks caused by rapid weight loss.
Many women develop stretch marks as the abdominal skin changes during the course of a pregnancy.
Many women develop stretch marks as the abdominal skin changes during the course of a pregnancy.

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Discussion Comments

pleonasm

I actually think that laser treatment for stretch marks is probably a bit more effective. I had it to remove some hair and in the process it rejuvenated my skin a little bit as well, which was a nice bonus.

You have to be careful to go to someone who knows what they're doing though and that goes for chemical peels as well. Unfortunately, there are plenty of shady characters around who are only looking to make money and there are plenty of pictures around of people who ended up paying for their greed.

lluviaporos

@bythewell - I just wish that people would accept these kinds of things and see them as just another part of themselves. It's particularly sad when it's someone who has gone through a pregnancy and ended up with stretch marks.

Those are your battle scars for going through an arduous process, you shouldn't be trying to minimize them as much as possible. Maybe you don't have to flaunt them, but you should just see them as part of you.

To turn it around, I have to wonder who would actually go around looking at stretch marks and judging people for them. I would never have any respect for the opinion of someone who did that, so why spend lots of money to get a painful chemical skin peel just to get into their good opinion?

bythewell

I read recently (although I haven't tried it myself) that using petroleum jelly is one of the best ways to get rid of stretch marks. And this was from someone who had tried a whole bunch of standard treatments, like bio-oil and vitamin E lotions and shea butter and so forth.

I don't know if she had tried a chemical peel, but she seemed to think it was only a few days before the marks began to fade, so it might be worth a try if you really want to get rid of them and are impatient with the ways you've tried so far.

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