Will My Stretch Marks Go Away? Finally, An Answer

Stretch marks, regardless of how you feel about them, are a reminder of your body's lifelong evolution. They don't discriminate against size, shape, or color, and they aren't indicative of how healthy you are or aren't. There's no shame in having stretch marks and, actually, more people have stretch marks than people who don't. Those who aren't big fans, though, might seek the assistance of creams or other various concoctions as a way to essentially "erase" them. But will stretch marks go away? Turns out, the answer is kind of complicated.

Depending on the texture, length, and color, over time, stretch marks can fade, but chances are they won't disappear completely. According to Medical News Today, stretch marks are "dermal scars or disfiguring lesions characterized by flattening and atrophy of the epidermis." The bands may differ in color, appearing red or purple, and may deepen during pregnancy, puberty, weight fluctuations, or even by some medical conditions that thin or stretch the skin.

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), there are actually two reasons why a woman might get stretch marks during pregnancy. One, of course, is the physical stretch of the skin during pregnancy. The second is, "the priming of the skin by increased levels of hormones in pregnancy," although this particular reason, according to the APA, is still being debated by experts. According to BabyCenter, your stretch marks should be considerably less noticeable "about six to 12 weeks after childbirth." BabyCenter explains further, writing: "The pigmentation fades and they generally become lighter than the surrounding skin (the color will vary depending on your skin color), but their texture will remain the same."

Of course, it's easy to argue that stretch marks aren't a thing you should actively try to erase. All the photoshop in the world can't hide the fact that, as humans with skin, we have stretch marks. Still, how you feel about your body will always, always, be valid. I mean, according to Medical News Today, stretch marks are also referred to as stria distensae, SD, striae, striae atrophicans and striae gravidarumare. Not a single one of those names sounds or looks appealing. So if you want to reduce the prominence of your stretch marks, there are a few things you should know before buying expensive creams, oils, and moisturizers. Because those things may feel great, and have their own moisturizing benefits, but unfortunately, there isn't enough concrete evidence to support the notion that the aforementioned treatments actually work beyond alleviating the itchiness that comes with skin stretching, according to Medical News Today.

If over-the-counter potions aren't worth the time or investment, there are other options to consider if you don't love your stretch marks and would like to see a little less of them. According to Dr. Susan Evans, health and beauty expert and regular contributor to The Dr. Oz Show, if stretch marks are bothersome in any way (or if you're feeling self-conscious about the appearance of them), surgical procedures may help to generate new skin that heals over the old stretch marks. Dermabrasion, laser treatments, fractional laser resurfacing, and tummy tucks are all viable options for helping your body regenerate a new epidermis layer (which typically happens during the healing process after these procedures).

If surgery isn't an option, and creams and oils aren't working, Allure has some suggestions to minimize these permanent skin fixtures by proactive prevention, and after-the-fact relief efforts. The first and easiest? Being adequately hydrated nourishes the skin from the inside out, according to Allure, which reduces inflammation and the appearance of stretch mark-induced redness. Another thing to try is a deep moisturizing body treatment. Again, it won't eliminate your marks, but caring for the skin will make them less visible. Additionally, applying a cream containing retinol (usually doctor-prescribed), can "stimulate collagen production." This type of cream works to bring your skin closer to what it was before the stretching occurred.

Stretch marks — love them or hate them — seem hellbent on sticking around, dear reader. While you can apply topical treatments to your heart's content, there's no guarantee any of your ultimately change their appearance. Over time, the colors can fade from purples and reds into white, and the lines themselves may thin, making them less visible to anyone but you. Whether you got them during pregnancy, carrying life, lifting weights to make you stronger, or simply growing up and experiencing kid you become adult you, stretch marks are part of the process. If nothing else, at least all that coconut oil you're using smells good.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.