Dozens of stretch mark therapies are available, but according to experts, any stretch mark treatment is only partially effective. However, new research shows that an extract derived from ordinary onions shows promise in reducing the unsightly appearance of stretch marks.

Stretch marks occur when your skin stretches in combination with elevated cortisone levels. Cortisone weakens skin's elastic fibers and causes the middle layer to tear, leaving you with reddish marks that fade and whiten over the following months. Pregnancy, weight loss, and weight gain often lead to stretch marks, and it's estimated that more than 90 percent of women (and several men) have them. While stretch marks cause no medical problems, they can be embarrassing.

A recent study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows that a gel derived from onions may be the answer. Nearly 80 percent of the subjects who participated in the study experienced significant improvement in the color, softness, texture, and appearance of their stretch marks after 12 weeks of treatment. According to the manufacturer's website, an investigator assessment showed a 40 percent overall improvement in the appearance of these stretch marks. The study also showed the gel to be virtually side-effect free.

The gel incorporates an extract from regular onions-allium cepa-combined with hyaluronic acid to help boost skin's hydration and repair the damaged layer. Because onions contain natural antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense that they could help boost your skin's ability to repair scar tissue.

The gel from this study, Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy, seems to be one of the most promising treatments available. However, it's important to note that the study was funded by Merz Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the gel.

Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy is an over-the-counter cream that costs around $40. While not inexpensive, in comparison to many other treatment options like microdermabrasion or laser therapy, a topical treatment like this is a cost-effective option. Keep in mind that most therapies work best on new stretch marks, so you may want to consider treatment soon after they appear, though no therapy should be considered during pregnancy. 


"The Ability of Onion Extract Gel to Improve the Cosmetic Appearance of Post-Surgical Scars" Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, V. 7 No. 2, June 2008