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The reason? Most cellulite and stretch mark creams focus on moisturization, but moisture won't actually make a difference. "Stretch marks are considered a type of scar, and although there is no visible incision that is healing, stretch marks create tears deep within the skin dermis," says Christopher Zoumalan, MD, a board-certified oculoplastic surgeon in Los Angeles. And cellulite happens when skin lays over fat cells, adds Corey L. Hartman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Birmingham, Alabama.
If you want to soften the look of stretch marks, look for products that help to fade discoloration and smooth texture, but even those might not be enough to make stretch marks disappear. If you're really committed to fading these marks, there are some promising in-office procedures that could help, explains Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
"Deep radiofrequency lasers and deep resurfacing lasers like Fraxel, CO2, and microneedling can all stimulate collagen and elastin fibers to form under the skin," says Dr. Nazarian. "These are wonderful tools to improve and minimize the appearance of stretch marks, and I've had great success treating many of my patients."
And for cellulite, the best thing you can do at home is strength train the muscles underneath your cellulite. "On the face, muscle tone is not as important since we use those muscles to eat and chew and express ourselves," says Dr. Hartman. "But on the body, the muscles are a lot bigger, and they can help provide a better structure." Plus, there are in-office options like radiofrequency, injectables, or heat-and-massage contouring. But again, neither of these options is a sure-fire solution—so your best bet is to learn to love the skin you're in.
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