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How To Eliminate Stretch Marks

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Q: Are there any treatments or products currently available that can effectively and completely eliminate stretch marks?

A: Stretch marks can happen to anyone, regardless of age, due to too much exercise, rapid weight change or pregnancy. "There are two different kinds of marks, red and white," says cosmetic dermatologist Bruce Katz, director of Juva Skin and Laser Center.

For red-looking stretch marks, Retin-A cream (prescribed by a dermatologist) may give some subtle improvement in reducing the redness by causing blood vessels to constrict. Once the redness fades, the red stretch marks become white stretch marks. Unfortunately, no topical lotion will eliminate the marks completely.

For permanent removal, Dr. Katz recommends a dual laser treatment performed at a dermatologist's office. The combination of lasers stimulates new collagen and elastic fiber growth to fill in where the marks are. After 3 to 5 treatments, with mild bruising and swelling, the marks should significantly improve, if not disappear completely.

The downside: Each treatment costs about $395.

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