You’re probably familiar with the silvery, white streaks across your skin, especially around your belly, thighs, and arms. Stretch marks are extremely common. Almost 90% of women will experience stretch marks in their lifetime. These silver streaks are “mature stretch marks” which are difficult to get rid of. When they first appear, they have a deep purplish hue which eventually fades. If you catch them during this period, you can get rid of them a lot easier.
Why Do We Get Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are caused when the connective tissue, that is, the dermis (inner layer) cannot hold together under stress or trauma. It becomes taut, stretches, and then breaks which then forms these marks to appear. Women are much more likely to get stretch marks than men, especially when they get pregnant or have been pregnant before. Anything that drastically changes the body and literally causes it to “stretch” can cause stretch marks. The causes include:
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Growth spurts
- Building muscle
- Genetic disorders like Cushing’s syndrome
- Taking corticosteroid medication
There are other options which involve laser therapy or surgery but these treatments are extremely expensive. Your best bet would be to opt for simple home remedies. Keep in mind that stretch marks do not disappear overnight so be patient and do the treatments regularly.
Lemon helps lighten the skin and improve complexion which may improve the appearance of stretch marks.1
Cut a lemon in half and rub the juice all over your stretch marks. Keep this on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing off. Make sure not to do this on skin that may be exposed to sunlight soon after, as lemon juice can increase the likelihood of getting sunburnt.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is commonly used for burns but it can be surprisingly effective to deal with stretch marks. It is a natural healing agent and skin softener so it may be able to heal the tears in the skin.2
Find pure aloe gel at your local health store, or cut open a fresh aloe leaf to extract the gel inside. You may mix this with the oil from vitamin E capsules and then apply directly onto your stretch marks until it is absorbed. Do this once a day.
3. Egg Whites
The amino acids and proteins in egg whites may help repair damaged skin. Whip two egg whites until they form soft peaks. Use a makeup brush to apply to the skin and let it dry. Once dry, rinse off with cold water and moisturize.
One of the clinically proven ways to treat stretch marks is through microdermabrasion.3 Sugar is an amazing exfoliant which may be able to mimic some of those effects.
Combine a tablespoon of sugar with a few drops of almond oil and lemon juice. Rub this paste onto the skin in circular motions. Do this for about 8–10 minutes and rinse off in the shower. Do this every time you shower for at least a month.
5. Potato Juice
The vitamins and minerals from potatoes could help heal and restore the skin. Rub freshly cut potato slices over your stretch marks, letting the juice soak into your skin. Let it air dry and rinse off with warm water.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains oleuropein which has been proven to prevent signs of aging and help speed up wound healing. This is thanks to the antioxidant activity.4 Rub slightly warmed olive oil into your stretched skin to improve circulation and penetration.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil also contains antioxidants which have been shown to heal skin and help wounds heal faster. It can also help strengthen and rebuild collagen.5
Warm up some coconut oil between your palms and rub onto your stretch marks. Do this after a shower to lock in moisture.
8. Vitamin E Capsules
Vitamin E helps in the formation of new collagen.6 It will help your stretch marks become less noticeable over time.
You can use vitamin E oil directly or buy vitamin E capsules. Pierce one end of the capsule and pour the oil onto your skin. Spread over your stretch marks but do not rub it in. Let it absorb into your skin on its own. You can also mix the oil with the other treatments listed here to get maximum effectiveness.
Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks
If you don’t want to make existing stretch marks worse or you want to prevent more stretch marks from forming, Here are some simple ways to do that.
1. Maintain Your Weight
Avoid drastic changes in your weight. This means, preventing more weight gain but it also means not to lose weight too quickly. So leave those fad diets behind. They won’t do you any good.
Drink lots of water to keep your skin healthy and functioning. It will be less likely to tear under pressure if it has enough moisture to keep it elastic and soft.
3. Wear Supportive Underwear
If you are overweight, supportive underwear that covers your belly and thighs are a good option to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
4. Use Cocoa Butter Or Shea Butter
These products don’t do much to help the appearance of already existing stretch marks but they may be effective in preventing stretch marks from forming by moisturizing skin and keeping it healthy. Pregnant women often use cocoa butter or shea butter to prevent stretch marks from forming in the first place.
Remember, stretch marks are not dangerous or painful. They are just a sign that your body has grown and changed over time. So don’t be discouraged or frustrated if they do not fade immediately. Give these treatments some time to work their magic.
|↑1||Smit, Nico, Jana Vicanova, and Stan Pavel. “The hunt for natural skin whitening agents.” International journal of molecular sciences 10, no. 12 (2009): 5326-5349.|
|↑2||Vogler, B. K., and E. Ernst. “Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness.” Br J Gen Pract 49, no. 447 (1999): 823-828.|
|↑3||El‐Domyati, Moetaz, Wael Hosam, Eman Abdel‐Azim, Hossam Abdel‐Wahab, and Elshaymaa Mohamed. “Microdermabrasion: a clinical, histometric, and histopathologic study.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 15, no. 4 (2016): 503-513.|
|↑4||Omar, Syed Haris. “Oleuropein in olive and its pharmacological effects.” Scientia pharmaceutica 78, no. 2 (2010): 133-154.|
|↑5||Nevin, K. G., and T. Rajamohan. “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 23, no. 6 (2010): 290-297.|
|↑6||Keen, Mohammad Abid, and Iffat Hassan. “Vitamin E in dermatology.” Indian dermatology online journal 7, no. 4 (2016): 311.|