Stretch marks are ripples in the dermal tissue made up of collagen. They appear when the skin is stretched beyond its tensile limits. Generally, these skin marks are found on the hips, stomach and legs as a result of rapid weight change. Some women may also experience skin tags in the abdominal area as a result of pregnancy. Other factors besides weight change can also lead to stretch marks, such as Cushing's disease (excess cortisol secretion) or frequent topical or oral exposure to cortisone.
There are two types of stretch marks: red, recent and inflammatory stretch marks that can be reduced with dermocosmetic creams and white stretch marks, which are older and almost impossible to fade with a topical treatment.
Stretch marks are not necessarily unsightly, they tell a story and some people appreciate them for that and do not want to fade them at all. However, in order to reduce them, it may be interesting to turn to a body care product containing retinol. Indeed, a study has demonstrated the activity of its acid form, tretinoin, on the reduction of stretch marks. It stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers. Moreover, when retinol is applied to the skin, it is metabolized by an enzymatic system into retinal and then into tretinoin. Retinol could therefore potentially reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but literature is still lacking in studies on this subject.
VORRHEES J.J. & al. Topical tretinoin (retinoic acid) improves early stretch marks. Archives of Dermatology (1996).