Before the bliss of summertime hits, many people scramble and do everything they can to achieve a “beach body.” They hit the gym, diet, wax, tan, and find ways to cover certain aspects of their bodies that they deem unfit for beach time fun.
For some, this might mean masking the presence of cellulite (PS: cellulite is VERY common and normal—about 90 percent of women have it), and for others it might mean trying to get rid of stretch marks.
What Are Stretch Marks Anyway?
Stretch mark are scars. They develop when the skin stretches or shrinks quickly, such as during puberty, pregnancy, or rapid weight loss or gain.
The abrupt change causes collagen and elastin—fibers that support our skin—to rupture. Like other scars, stretch marks may appear as the skin begins to heal.
The Myth About Tanning and Stretch Marks
It’s a common misconception that tanning in a tanning bed will erase stretch marks. The truth is, nothing can get rid of stretch marks completely. Like any scar, stretch marks are permanent. In fact, tanning can actually make them *more* noticeable because the stretch marks themselves don’t tan.
But tanning to erase your stretch marks is not just counterproductive: It’s actually dangerous. Tanning increases your risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
How to Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks
Even though you can’t get rid of stretch marks completely, there are ways to treat them and make them less noticeable:
Note: If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor before using stretch mark creams. Some ingredients, like retinol, may be harmful for your baby.