Stretch marks (striae) are pink, red or purple indented streaks that often appear on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks and thighs. They are particularly common in pregnant women, especially during the latter half of pregnancy.
This kind of scarring happens when skin doesn’t bounce back after it’s been stretched by pregnancy, weight gain, or extreme weight loss. The marks often start off looking reddish or purplish and then become glossy, making the skin appear to be streaked in silver or white.
The skin consists of three main layers: Epidermis (the outer layer), Dermis (the middle layer) and Subcutaneous or Hypodermic (the deepest layer). Stretch marks form in the dermis or middle layer of the skin when the connective tissue is “stretched” beyond the power of its flexibility due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin.
As skin is stretched, the collagen is weakened and its normal production cycle is interrupted and damaged. This ultimately leads to formation of fine scars under the top layer of the skin.
Main causes for the appearance of stretch marks are:
- The physical stretching of the skin at the end of pregnancy.
- Extraordinary weight gain, especially on arms, thighs, etc.
- Use of certain medications, including lotions, pills, Corticosteroid creams, and steroids.
- Adrenal gland diseases, Cushing’s syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Genetic disorders
- Muscle building
- Hormonal changes during puberty
Stretch marks are completely natural but they look ugly to the human eye and no woman is happy when they appear. Stretch marks can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable about your appearance. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
It is an excellent natural exfoliant for skin. It is one of the best home remedies you can use to help you get rid of stretch marks. Mix tablespoon of sugar with some drops of almond oil and lemon juice. Stir and apply to stretch mark affected area.
Rub it for about 10 minutes and then clean the area or take a shower. Repeat this process daily for about a month or until you are satisfied with the results.
Potato juice provides many minerals and vitamins and it’s a great natural way for improving skin cell regeneration.
Cut potato in thick slices. Take a slice and rub it on your stretch marks for some time. When the juice from the potato has dried off, clean the affected area.
Water is a natural cure that provides oxygen and nutrients to human body. Water can help you with many skin related problems not only stretch marks.
To get rid of stretch marks make sure you are always well hydrated and you drink lots of water. This will allow regular detoxification of skin. Make sure you drink 10 glasses of water per day. That way, not only will you rid your body of stretch marks, but you will make your skin soft and your body hydrated.
When it comes to most effective homeopathic remedies for curing, not only stretch marks, but other skin related problems aloe vera is among the best. Regenerating and healing properties of aloe vera are well known.
You can apply aloe-vera directly on stretch mark one time a day. You can also mix one-fourth cup of aloe vera gel extract oil with 5 vitamin A capsules and 10 vitamin E capsules and use this mixture on your stretch marks. Wait until mixture is fully absorbed. Use it daily.
For maintaining proper skin health alfalfa leaves are best. Alfalfa leaves contain eight essential amino acids which are good for overall health of the skin. They are also rich in protein and vitamins E and K, which help nourish the skin.
Mix alfalfa powder with a few drops of chamomile oil. This will form a paste which you can use to rum stretch marks thrice a day.
Another simple way to lessen stretch marks is to use lemon juice. Lemon juice is naturally acidic which helps heal and reduce stretch marks, acne, and other scars.
Rub fresh lemon juice gently onto the stretch marks using circular motions. Allow the lemon juice to soak into your skin for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Another option is to mix equal quantities of cucumber juice and lemon juice and apply the mixture on the stretch marks.
Use this method twice a day and it will reduce stretch marks and moisturize your skin.
Cabbage, spring onion, cucumbers and all green vegetables contain high amount of vitamin K, which can help in preventing dermis and scars.
The best way to use vitamin K to reduce stretch marks is to eat a vegetable salad every day.
To get rid of stretch marks, egg whites are beneficial as they are rich in proteins and amino acid. Extract whites of two eggs. Whip it with the help of a fork. After washing the affected area with clean water, apply a thick layer of egg whites with the help of a brush. Let it dry completely and wash it off with cold water. After this, apply some olive oil to moisturize the skin. For two weeks, continue the process daily for better results.
It is an effective home remedy that is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that can help with many skin problems, including stretch marks. For optimal results warm the olive oil slightly. Rub it gently on the affected area. This will lead to improved blood circulation and as a result stretch marks will be reduced.
Castor oil is considered to be an excellent healing treatment for skin problems, like moles, dark spots, wrinkles, pimples, and fine lines. With stretch marks should you apply castor oil directly to affected areas and rub it for 15 minutes in a circular motion. Massage it in a circular motion for 15 minutes. After massaging, wrap the affected area with thin and clean cotton cloth. Now, apply some heat with the help of heating pad or hot water bottle. For best results do this process for about 30 minutes every day for a month.
Lavender Oil, Almond Oil and Chamomile Oil
These three oils are packed with vitamins that are beneficial for your skin. For this mixture you will need two teaspoons of almond oil, half teaspoon of lavender oil and half teaspoon of chamomile oil.
Simply apply it on your stretch marks once a day and repeat the process until you get the desired results.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has many anti-viral, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is effective for all types of skin problems.
Take some tea tree oil and massage gently on the affected area.
Cocoa Butter has many anti-aging and anti-wrinkling properties and it also improves your blood circulation. Massage your stretch marks with cocoa butter for 2 minutes every day. The result should be seen after two months.
Alternatively, mix half cup of cocoa butter with one tablespoon of wheat germ oil, one teaspoon of tea kernel oil, two teaspoons of grated beeswax, and vitamin E oil. Heat the mix until the beeswax melts. Apply it on the stretch marks twice or thrice a day. You should store this mixture in a sealed box in your refrigerator.
Preparing this amazing mixture is quite simple. You only need one tablespoon of wheat germ oil and one tablespoon of Calendula oil.
To remove stretch marks apply this herbal mix on your hips, breast, and abdomen.
Apricots can be a very good remedy. Take two-three apricots. Cut them and remove their seeds. Grind them to form a paste.
Apply the paste directly on the stretch marks. Leave it for 20 minutes. Then, wash it with lukewarm water. Repeat this process for one month and you should see promising results.
Physical Exercise For Stretch Marks
There are many simple exercises that can help with your stretch marks. Here are some exercises you can try:
For Stretch Marks on Stomach: Lie down flat on your back. Bend your knees, keeping the feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands on the sides of your head. Now, lift your upper body somewhat off the floor, contracting your abs.
For Stretch Marks on Thighs: Sit straight on the chair. Now, put your hands down to your sides, holding the chair. Now, swing your legs in up and down motion. This will help to firm your thighs.
For Stretch Marks on Hips and Buttocks: Lie down flat on your back. Relax for a few minutes. Then, lift one leg creating a 90 degree angle. Lift it until you feel a pull on your buttocks. Try the same on the other leg. Slowly, increase your pace and strain on the hips, buttocks, and thighs.
For Stretch Marks on Bottom: You are required to lie down facing the floor. Put your arms on the side. Lift your right leg up and then down. Repeat the same with left leg. Raise your leg at least 3-6 inches off the floor.
Other Ways to Treat Stretch Marks
You can also try some of these options if you are unsatisfied with the results from natural remedies. Some of these work really well as an addition to methods described above.
- Use oats as a natural scrub on the stretch marks.
- Use Vaseline on the stretch marks.
- For itchy stretch marks, take a warm shower followed by a gentle oil massage.
- Folic acid is also effective for healing the stretch marks.
- Use a moisturizer on the affected area.
- Retin-A (retinoic acid cream) can be used to lessen the stretch marks.
- Glycolic acid is useful to increase the production of collagen. It is safe to use during pregnancy.
- You can opt for “Mommy Makeover”, which includes liposuction, breast lifts, and tummy tuck treatments. These all are effective methods for reducing stretch marks.
- Pulsed dye laser or vascular laser can be effective on fresh stretch marks. However, it is not effective for dark women.
- One can try surgical or laser treatments to remove the stretch marks.
How to Get Rid of Older Stretch Marks?
In these modern times, many women lead an active lifestyle leaving them little time to take care of themselves. As stretch marks get older they become much harder to remove. For older stretch marks we recommend you to consider these options.
- Fractional laser therapy is the best option. It makes the skin surface smooth. But there are negative effects this treatment may also result in side-effects, like hyperpigmentation and scarring.
- Try SPF 60 solution directly on the stretch marks.
Other Useful Advices
- Consume products that contain protein, zinc and Vitamin C. Green salad, milk, fish, nuts and citrus fruits help a lot in reducing stretch marks.
- Work out on regular basis. If you dislike heavy exercises try yoga.
- If you are pregnant you should only use natural creams and solutions. Chemical solutions may result in skin damaging rashes.
- Avoid scratching the affected area.
- Keep yourself hydrated.