Celebrities like Rihanna and Chrissy Teigen have proudly shared pictures of their stretch marks on social media. But it’s completely alright if you don’t find your scars appealing and aesthetic. Eliminating stretch marks in a completely natural way isn’t possible. These scars seldom fade enough to turn invisible. However certain home remedies can help reduce their appearance by making them fade more rapidly.
If your body has recently gone through a sudden shape change, chances are that you are now endowed with those tiger stripes on your skin. Yes, we are referring to stretch marks- also termed as Striae. A common beauty woe for both men and women, stretch marks appear either due to pregnancy, sudden weight gain or muscle gain, growth spurts during puberty, medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome, or certain genetic and hormonal factors or stress.
Stretch marks don’t indicate that anything is wrong with your health. They mostly appear and can be prominently seen on the hips, waist, thighs, buttocks, lower back, breasts, and arms, the same parts worthy of flaunting your skin in summers. Stretch marks can be frustrating as they can severely dampen your self-esteem and confidence and keep you away from wearing shorts or sleeveless outfits. Generally, these stubborn marks are visible as bands of parallel lines on your skin. These lines have a varied texture and color than the natural skin surrounding them, with shades right from bright pink, red to purple to light gray. They arise when the dermal layer of the skin is stretched i.e when it shrinks and expands quickly. The dermis has strong, connected elastic and collagen fibers that allow the skin to stretch when the body grows. Sudden weight gain leads to over-stretching of the skin which ultimately ruptures these fibers. As the skin heals, scars are formed which we call stretch marks.
When the dermis layer tears, the blood vessels under the skin become visible, causing the stretch marks to look red or purple initially. Later, when the blood vessels get smaller, the pale fat under your skin becomes visible, eventually taking on an almost translucent, smooth, and shiny look and the marks turn a silvery-white color.
Best Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
When it comes to removing stretch marks, no foolproof plan works for everyone but these remedies may be gradually effective and let you flaunt your flawless smooth skin once again. Read on to know more about these amazing ingredients that can help you get rid of stretch marks with their use:
1. Argan Oil
We have likely come across people raving about the benefits of argan oil hair care products. However, this Moroccan-derived product is also becoming wildly popular for skin treatment. It is made from argan oil tree kernel and can be applied topically or consumed orally. It improves the skin elasticity and repairs the broken tissue fibers thus making the marks fade gradually and also preventing their appearance.
2. Egg Whites
Egg whites are termed as Super Foods for the skin because of the high proportion of proteins, amino acids and Vitamin A. Applying it on stretch marks helps lighten them and at the same time leads to skin tightening.
3. Lemon Juice
Regarded for its natural bleaching properties and vitamin C extract, lemon juice reduces the visibility of marks effectively. Vitamin C found in all citrus fruits is an antioxidant that eliminates the toxins and radicals from our bodies. Simply using lemon juice regularly or applying a sliced lemon wedge on the marks will make the results evident by making the skin scars heal faster
4. Vitamin A Rich Dietary Products
Vitamin A also called Retinoid makes the skin appear youthful, supple, smooth, healthy, and repairs skin cells. Hence it is widely used in multiple over-the-counter cosmetic creams and lotions. Intake of Vitamin A-rich foods can make the skin firm & tight and help fade the marks. Instead of ingesting Vitamin A capsules orally, we can try to include Vitamin A-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, eggs, milk, tomato, etc in our daily diet.
Sugar is one of the best components for natural homeopathic microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a clinical process performed by dermatologists that is effective for fading stretch marks. Using a homemade exfoliating sugar scrub will help in treating these pesky marks. A natural scrub made by mixing sugar, lemon juice with a softening agent like almond oil, coconut oil, or any essential oil to the consistency of beach sand will regulate the blood flow in the area and fasten the healing capability of the skin. Scrub this paste and exfoliate in a circular motion for 8-10 minutes before rinsing.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that keeps the skin hydrated. Known for its healing properties, it was found in certain studies that coconut oil reduced the time taken for healing skin wounds on rats. Further research is needed to prove whether the same effect can be replicated on humans, however, the application of virgin coconut oil reduces the skin scarring and redness on the skin. Expectant mothers are recommended to apply coconut oil on their abdomen to prevent stretch marks early on in their pregnancy.
7. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera is the elixir of plants. This succulent has many medicinal uses but it’s mostly known for its gel which is a natural agent for healing and skin softening. It also acts as a deterrent against itching related to pregnancy. As scratching further damages the scars, aloe vera gel can be used to soothe and cool the stretch marks and help the skin heal faster, and keep it hydrated. Extracting 100 percent pure aloe vera gel from the plant leaf is the ideal home remedy. Use this on your marks and wash it off after 2-3 hours of application.
8. Potato Juice
Potatoes consist of skin lightening enzymes and starch making them effective for lightening dark circles, reducing blemishes, uneven skin tone, and spots on the skin. If applied regularly, it assists in skin bleaching and minimizes the visibility of stretch marks. Catecholase: a bleaching agent found in potatoes heals the scars and brightens skin. Extract the juice by squeezing grated potatoes. Mix the juice with the pulp and apply the pack over stretch marks. Rinse it with cold water after 30 minutes of application for blemish-free spotless skin.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is already a well-known remedy for treating acne and healing acne scars, but it has benefits beyond that. Due to the anti-inflammatory and healing properties present in it, tea tree oil helps reduce all types of skin scarring, even including stretch marks. Its regular use prevents the appearance of stubborn marks. A simple solution is to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a half spoon of olive oil and massage the oil gently over the stretch marks. Vitamin E oil or Coconut oil can also be added additionally. Leaving it on all night and rinsing it off the next day will make the marks less prominent over time.
10. Black Tea
Black tea contains plenty of minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B12, which helps in combatting skin pigmentation. To use black tea as a remedy for stretch marks, boil two tablespoons of black tea and add some salt to it. After the mixture gets cooled, apply it to the marks and repeat the process until they clear.
11. Keep Yourself Hydrated
The largest organ of our body i.e skin consists of countless cells that require water. Water helps eradicate the bacteria and toxins from the body and minimizes the risk of skin ailments. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily will do wonders for the skin. It helps to increase and restore skin elasticity, keeping it bouncy and plump. This helps to reduce the stretch marks. Water also boosts blood flow to the skin, giving it a healthy and glowing look. This increased blood flow evens out complexion and skin tone.
12. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients found in particular foods. They regulate the skin’s production of oil, improve hydration, pacify breakouts and reduce signs of aging. Besides these Omega 3 acids also smoothen dry and rough skin and soothe skin irritation. Foods like chia seeds, flaxseed, salmon, sardines, cod liver, soybean, walnuts, shrimps, cauliflower, and tofu can go a long way in keeping the stretch marks away. Consuming Omega-3 acids-rich foods in your diet will help balance the inflammatory response of the skin by improving the fatty acid composition. It also protects against the effects of sun damage and helps with sensitive skin conditions.
With growing age, the natural collagen levels in the body drop. The amino acids and proteins present in gelatine help the body build more collagen. Collagen is present in your skin fiber layer and is responsible for providing elasticity to your skin. Wrinkles develop when the skin loses its elasticity. A study conducted found that consuming collagen reduced wrinkles and boosted skin hydration, thus helping with stretch marks. Bone broth (lamb, beef, or chicken) is an amazing natural source of gelatine in your diet.
14. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is an excellent skin moisturizer helping maintain skin elasticity. It can be easily found in everyone’s home. It is gentle on the skin and also locks in moisture which in turn can help keep the skin smooth, plump, and supple. Daily massaging the affected scars with creams or lotions containing petroleum jelly promotes new tissue growth and breaks down the bands of collagen that are responsible for stretch marks.
If at-home remedies aren’t effective for you, there are other – pricier clinical procedures and surgical options for removing stretch marks. There are laser therapies like pulsed dye (also referred to as Vascular Laser), Excimer, and Fractional Photothermolysis. The Pulsed Dye Laser is regarded to be most impactful against early or fresh stretch marks that are still purplish or red. But this treatment won’t be as effective if one has a darker skin tone. For old stretch marks Fractional Laser Treatment is considered more effective. Abdominoplasty can assist in removing stretch marks permanently; however, it comes with a high set of risks and is a quite costly procedure. These treatments aren’t guaranteed to completely eradicate stretch marks. However, they can bring down the appearance of stretch marks, based on your skin tone and the maturity level of the scars.
Microdermabrasion can be an effective solution as already proven for acne, especially for more mature stretch marks. The treatment consists of deep skin exfoliation and may bring out newer layers
of skin below with less evident scarring. But this option may cause skin irritation. It is advisable to obtain a doctor’s consultation before opting for any of these treatments.
A relatively new dermatological procedure is needling, which comprises injecting collagen beneath the skin’s surface layer that penetrates up to 3 millimeters deep within. A 2016 study established that this treatment can be an effective way to deal with stretch marks.
After going through this myriad of home remedies as well as clinical surgical options, we can now safely conclude that the best way to treat stretch marks is to, prevent them altogether from the onset itself. As the popular saying goes “Prevention is better than Cure”. This sounds easier said than done, however by incorporating some simple steps in our daily routine we can considerably reduce the risk of stretch marks. Here are a few beneficial habits that one can inculcate:
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking sufficient water keeps the skin hydrated, soft and provides nourishment.
2. Stay moisturized
Application of topical creams, petroleum jelly, D.I.Y. home-made scrubs and pastes, and oils like coconut oil, argan oil will make stretch marks less likely to appear.
3. Lose weight gradually
A sudden, quick and drastic weight loss may cause your skin to contract quickly, leading to stretch marks.
Keep in mind that irrespective of whether you scrub, exfoliate, soften, or soothe your stretch marks, they are most likely to fade over time After all it’s rightly said that patience is an important virtue in life. So it’s time to lose your inhibitions and stop being conscious about these unavoidable scars. After all, nothing can make you look better than the confidence you carry. Try these home remedies to flaunt your flawless skin once again!