Stretch marks are otherwise called as striae distensae and are the result of sudden stretching of the skin. They are narrow, long streaks which differ in hue from the surrounding skin and range from purple to bright pink to light gray.
If you touch the stretch marks with your fingers, you might feel a slight ridge on the skin. The marks are formed in the middle layer of the skin, where there are a constant stretch and that layer, tears leaving stretch marks.
The marks can be visible on the thighs, tummy, breast, hips, and lower back and upper arms. Anyone can develop stretch marks; they tend to affect more women than men.
Causes of stretch marks
The skin consists of the outer layer (epidermis), middle layer (dermis) and the deepest layer (subcutaneous layer). When the connective tissue is stretched beyond its stretch adaptability marks are formed. The stretching can be due to rapid expansion and contraction of skin from sudden growth or weight gain.
Stretch marks are also the result of an increase of cortisone in your body. Cortisone is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Large amounts of this hormone make your skin lose its elasticity.
The specific reasons for this dermatological scarring occur with
- Rapid weight gain
- Medical conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Certain therapeutic interventions.
Best Remedies for Stretch Marks
Overtime age and poor diet have an effect on the collagen and elastin that helps boost up the skin levels. To remove your stretch mark permanently, first work on your diet.
Include foods and vegetables that boost your collagen levels and enhance the health of your skin. Foods such as cucumbers, kale, spinach, oranges and hyaluronic acid provide the necessary nutrients to your skin. They help to remove the stretch marks permanently by working from the inside.
Green leafy vegetables are great for skin. They are rich in collagen-boosting nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E and vitamin A and other vital minerals.
Cucumbers are rich in antioxidants such as cucurbitacins and cucumerin that fights aging and inflammation.
They are rich in vitamin C, and vitamin K which enhances collagen health and vitamin C fights wrinkles. Pantothenic acid found in cucumber increases the hydration of your skin. Vitamin A controls your skin’s production of melanin.
It has many skin friendly essential nutrients. Kale has vitamin C which enhances your collagen levels. It contains copper which has anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. It boosts the synthesis of melanin which protects you from the sun.
Vitamin A found in oranges strengthens the protective layers of skin. It speeds up wound healing and prevents scarring. Vitamin C fights free radicals and boosts skin health. Vitamin B1 and folate improves blood flow to the skin and keeps the skin hydrated.
Hyaluronic acid helps to retain moisture. It enhances the moisture content of the skin and revitalizes the outer layers to look and feel softer, smoother and plumper. It fights environmental toxins by providing antioxidant defense and acts as a multi tasking anti-aging ingredient.
DIY Stretch Mark Cream
True Beauty Expert David Pollick shares with you this home remedy. Take a little bit of cocoa butter, little bit of beeswax, little wheat germ oil, Avocado oil, Sweet almond oil, vanilla extract and Vitamin E capsules.
Take the capsules, puncture them and add it to the above mixture. Melt the mixture in a pan. Take it off and cool, allow it to solidify and massage over the stretch marks.
Potato juice contains several minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for skin regeneration and nourishment. It contains potassium that regulates body fluids and makes the stretch marks less noticeable.
Iron present in potatoes boosts the oxygen level of cells and reduces stretch marks. Potato juice contains vitamin B6 which promotes cellular regeneration and tissue repair. These root tubers contain starch with emollient properties that soothe the skin.
Potato- 1 medium size
Cut the potato into thick slices and rub gently over the stretch marks. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.
Alternatively, you can make potato juice, dip some cotton into the juice and apply it over the stretch marks.
The University of Manchester scientists claims that a compound found in the green tea calms angry red skin. EGCG found in green tea can cause dying skin cells near the surface of the skin to rejuvenate and start dividing again.
Dr. Stephen Hsu from Medical College of Georgia says that if skin cells surrounding wounds don’t heal in time, fibroblasts in connective tissue rush to fill the void and cause a scar tissue.
If we can spur the skin cells to differentiate and proliferate we can accelerate the wound healing process and prevent scarring. Since stretch marks are caused by tears in the skin and scarring, green tea holds great promise for removing stretch marks. The best way to use green tea to stretch marks is to apply on the marks externally.
Make some green tea and allow it to cool. Gently dip some cotton into the tea and apply over the stretch marks. You can also rub green tea bags over your stretch marks.
Drinking green tea helps in weight loss. Stretch marks are often the result of weight gain, and green tea can help prevent stretch marks this way as well.
Aloe Vera is a rich source of essential nutrients and help repair the damaged collagen fibers of the dermis and reduces stretch marks. It contains lots of water and helps to hydrate the skin.
The antioxidants in aloe vera help to repair the damaged skin cells and promote the generation of new skin cells which helps to remove stretch marks.
The hormones Auxins and Gibberellins present in aloe vera have anti-inflammatory and growth hormone properties. They stimulate the replenishment of healthy skin cells and helps to maintain the natural collagen of the body. Aloe vera contains some plant collagens which enhances the skin’s elasticity.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel
Extract the gel from the fresh aloe vera leaf.
Apply it gently onto the stretch marks.
Leave it for a few minutes to dry and then wash off with water.
Aloe Vera With Avocado Mask
Ripe avocado- 4 tablespoons
Aloe vera -5 tablespoons
Olive oil- 1 tablespoon
Blend the aloe vera gel and avocado pulp in a blender.
Add olive oil to make a creamy paste.
Gently apply it on the stretch marks.
Leave for 30-40 minutes.
Wash off with warm water. Repeat 2-3 times per week.
Cocoa And Shea Butter Homemade Cream
Cocoa butter is a thick fat that dissolves at body temperature. Frequent application of cocoa butter slowly makes the stretch marks pale by renovating the skin into appearing the natural way.
Cocoa butter is obtained from the entire cocoa beans or cocoa liquor. It contains antioxidants and first rate emollients that soften and calms the skin.
Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the Karite Shea tree native to Africa. Shea butter is rich in vitamin A, vitamin E and even Vitamin F which is the omega three fatty acids.
Shea butter contains oleic, palmitic, stearic and linoleic acids which nourish the skin and prevents wrinkles. It contains cinnamic acid and lupeolcinnamate that reduces skin inflammation and even prevents mutations. You can use raw, unrefined Grade A, shea butter on stretch marks. It also has a pleasant smell.
Cocoa butter-2 tsp
Shea butter- 2 tsp
Vitamin E oil-1 tsp
Melt the shea butter and cocoa butter. Add vitamin E oil to the melted butter and mix well. Store in an airtight jar. The cream will thicken once it is cooled. Apply this cream twice a day after your shower.
Alfalfa’s name is rooted in the Arabic word that means ‘Father of all Foods.’ Alfalfa is rich in vitamin A, C, and K. It is packed with antioxidants and minerals including magnesium, calcium, and iron. It is known to repair skin that is damaged and scarred.
Chamomile oil soothes irritated skin because it has high amounts of antioxidants. These antioxidants lower inflammation by fighting free radical damage.
The chamomile’s flavonoids and essential oils penetrate below into the deeper layers of the skin and preserve its youthfulness, immune defenses, and completion.
Mix alfalfa powder with chamomile oil to make a paste.
Rub this paste over your stretch marks.
You can do this up to 3 times a day for a week and let it sit for 15 minutes each instance. You will see that slowly your stretch marks will begin to fade away.
Glycolic Acid And Retinol Creams
Glycolic acid is a type of fruit acid that is also used in chemical peels. It promotes glycogen production and enhances the elasticity of your skin. It reduces the visibility and the redness of the stretch marks.
When you apply glycolic acid to the skin, it peels away the scar tissue and exposes the healthier skin underneath. Always use the lowest concentration to avoid any unpleasant side effects.
University of Michigan researchers found that people who use Retinol cream on new stretch marks saw huge improvements in its fading. Regular use of this cream boosts collagen production and helps the skin to regenerate, thus healing the stretch marks. Retinol cream removes dead skin to reveal healthier looking skin. It redistributes skin pigmentation to even out skin tone.
When glycolic acid and retinol creams are used together, they can dramatically improve the appearance of stretch marks.
A word of caution, avoid using products that contain retinoic acid, if you’re pregnant or nursing. It can cause birth defects in humans.
Egg whites are rich sources of Vitamin A and collagen. The amino acids and proteins in egg whites work to repair the damaged skin. The collagen is the main structural protein found in animal connective tissue. It contains specific amino acids such as praline, glycine, arginine, and hydroxyproline.
These amino acids increase the firmness and suppleness of the skin and help in the constant renewal of skin cells.
Separate the egg white from the yolk. Whisk the egg whites gently until it forms soft peaks.
Use a sponge or makeup brush and apply a thick layer of whipped egg white over the stretch marks.
Allow it to dry completely.
Rinse with cold water.
Apply a light coat of olive oil to hydrate the skin.
Sugar is a natural skin exfoliant, and it rubs away the dead skin cells to rejuvenate your skin. Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid, an alphahydroxic acid that stimulates the skin and generates younger and fresher looking skin. Alpha hydroxyl acids are used to treat extremely dry skin, acne and sunburn.
Sugar- 1 tablespoon
Mix the sugar and a few drops of almond oil and lemon juice and stir well.
Apply the mixture to your stretch marks and rub it gently for 8-10 minutes.
Take a warm shower.
Continue this regimen for about one month for best results.
Though stretch marks are not considered a medical priority research shows that it causes psychological issues with women. Women were concerned about the way they dressed, and some even went to the extent of hiding the stretch marks from their partners. Overall it resulted in negative self-confidence.
If you’re concerned about your stretch marks, try any of the above remedies. However, you can try some different combinations such as
- Papaya and Aloe vera gel
- Sugar and honey
- Warm almond oil and vitamin E
- Sandalwood powder and milk
- Glycerin and rosewater
- Banana and avocado
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Castor oil and black tea to fade away your stretch marks.
You can try the different combinations and stick to the ones that you’re comfortable with. You can also share with us the best remedies that have worked for you in the comments section below.