Get Your Skin Fix: How to Treat Stretch Marks On Your Belly (Advertorial)

Stretch marks you wish you could erase? Redness you’d like to zap? Loose skin you’d like to tighten?

Whatever your cosmetic quandary, there are plenty of options and solutions. To make the selection process easier, we’ve scheduled consultations with some of Little Rock’s top plastic surgeons and aestheticians. Skip the waiting room and find out how these experts can help you get your Skin Fix.

Stretch Marks on Your Belly

by Michael Spann, MD, Little Rock
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

Pregnancy has long been and will continue to be one of the most marveling times of change a woman’s body will experience. It brings both the temporary belly show and the permanent stretch marks and loose skin stigmata of childbirth. The latter have long vexed patients and physicians alike and are frequent issues I see in my own practice.

Stretch marks (Striae distensae) are common in pregnancy. Their cause remains unclear but most believe that stretching of the skin and hormonal factors leads to breaks in the dermis, the skin’s middle layer. They first appear as reddish or purple lines during the sixth to seventh month of pregnancy when the skin is subjected to higher stretching forces. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of pregnant women will develop stretch marks. Risks include family history, skin type, birthweight, age, weight gain, and poor nutrition.

There are few means to fix stretch marks. The most commonly available products, skin lotions, are effective moisturizers; however, no studies have proven their ability to prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The only effective prevention has been weight control through pregnancy, which reduces associated skin stretch. Even this is not a guarantee.

Various treatments are available to improve the appearance of existing marks. Of these options, fractional laser resurfacing (Fraxel) offers the most nonsurgical promise for minor to moderate stretch marks. Using scattered laser pulses to create microscopic wounds, a fraction of the scar is treated over several treatments. The body responds by generating new collagen and reducing the marks’ appearance.

However, the most effective treatment for abdominal stretch marks is through excision of the area (tummy tuck), which removes the skin below the navel where stretch marks frequently occur. Results can be quite dramatic when performed on the appropriate patient.


  • Pregnancy: Exercise regularly, avoid excessive weight gain, and use over-the-counter cream (like Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy, $40).
  • Established stretch marks: retinoids (like Obagi Tretinoin cream, $79) or laser treatments (Fraxel, 3 to 5 treatments at $800 to $1,000 each.)
  • For severe skin laxity and stretch marks: abdominoplasty, $4,000 to $6,500.

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