What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are the off-coloured stripes or streaks formed on the skin as a result of swift stretching of skin or weight changes. They mainly appear on the abdomen due to pregnancy or obesity. In dermatology, they are termed as Striae. They are formed due to hormonal changes related to pregnancy, puberty, hormone replacement therapy, etc. Stretch marks can be commonly seen on waist, thighs, lower backs, hips, breasts, arms, and buttocks. How are these stretch marks formed? The skin of the human body consists of three main layers:
- Epidermis (the outer layer)
- Dermis (the middle layer)
- Hypodermic (the deepest and third layer)
When the connective tissue is stretched due to the expansion and contraction of skin, the stretch marks starts developing on the dermis or the middle layer of the skin. With the stretch in skin, the collagen gets weak, and the elastin fibres start tearing. Due to this, its normal production cycle gets damaged or interrupted. This results in the formation of fine scars under the epidermis or the top layer of the skin. Initially, they appear red or pink, but gradually, they turned into thin silvery line.
Stretch marks are not a disease, which infects the human body, but are the scars formed due to contraction and expansion of skin. They are basically caused by stretching of the skin. Their appearance depends on the type of skin. These ugly stretch marks are caused due to:
- The physical stretching of the skin at the end of pregnancy.
- Extraordinary weight gain, specifically 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.
While stretch marks can happen for a variety of reasons, it should be noted that the way you treat your skin as well as your genetics can play a huge role in whether or not you will get them. For example, if you take extra care to make sure that your skin stays hydrated and that your skin stays away from harmful damage that can be caused sun, smoke, and other factors. With that being said, do not underestimate the power of genetics. Your genetics can play a huge role in whether or not you will get stretch marks. This is something that you will unfortunately have little to no control over.
What are the signs of stretch marks? No one would ever like to have stretch marks on their skin. They commonly appear on the places where a large amount of fats is deposited. Some of the symptoms which help to recognize the development of stretch marks are as follows:
- The skin becomes pink, flattened and thin before the development of stretch marks.
- Development of red, pink, or purple lines of skin.
- Affected area becomes soft to touch.
- At the initial phase, these lines appear wrinkly and somewhat raised.
- With the passage of time, these lines convert into silver or white in colour.
- They may also appear in patches of parallel lines.
- They appear as scar.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
It is natural that every woman will develop stretch marks at some point of time in her life. Although they are natural, but have truly ugly looks. No woman would like to have stretch marks on her skin. Wondering what to do when you see them on your skin, and more importantly how to get rid of stretch marks? While surgical treatments are an option, there are other natural ways to get rid of them.
Yes, there are natural and herbal remedies to get rid of stretch marks at home! Here are some quick home remedies for stretch marks, which will undoubtedly reduce or remove the scars from the affected area. If you want to skip to the comprehensive guide, click here.
Sugar is used as a natural exfoliant for skin. It is one of the best home remedies to get rid of stretch marks. Take a tablespoon of sugar. Add some drops of almond oil and lemon juice in it. Stir it well and apply directly on the stretch marks. Rub it for 8-10 minutes and then, take a shower. Continue to use it for one month or so, until the stretch marks gets fade out.
2. Potato Juice
Potato juice is rich in minerals and vitamins. It promotes restoration and growth of skin cells. Cut thick slices of a medium-sized potato. Take one of the potato slices and rub gently on the stretch marks for a few minutes. When the juice gets dried, wash the affected area with lukewarm water.
Water is known for carrying oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. To prevent skin from various problems, drinking water helps a lot. To get rid of stretch marks, a well-hydrated skin is required in order to allow regular detoxification of skin pores. It is the quickest remedy to heal stretch marks. Drink 10 glasses of water daily to make skin soft and maintain a hydrated body.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is considered to be the most effective homeopathic remedy for stretch marks and various other skin problems. It is known for its healing and soothing properties. Apply aloe vera directly on the stretch marks. After a few minutes, clean it with lukewarm water.
Alternatively, take a one-fourth cup of aloe vera gel. Extract oil from 5 vitamin A capsules and 10 vitamin E capsules. Mix both the oils with aloe vera. Rub this mixture carefully on the affected area until it gets fully absorbed. For better results, apply this mix daily.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, which are effective for skin disorders. For healing stretch marks, warm the olive oil slightly. Rub it gently on the affected area. With this, the blood circulation will improve and stretch marks will get reduced.
6. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is other easy treatment for stretch marks. The acid present in lemon juice helps in reducing stretch marks, acne, skin injuries, and scars. Take out juice from some lemons. Massage it gently for 10 minutes in a circular motion on the stretch marks. Clean the affected area with warm water.
You can also mix some lemon juice with cucumber juice. Apply this mix directly on the affected area.
7. Castor Oil
Castor oil is considered to be a healing treatment for skin problems, like moles, dark spots, wrinkles, pimples, and fine lines. How is it used to heal stretch marks? Well, you can apply castor oil directly on the stretch marks. 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. Continue the process for 30 minutes daily for one month to get best results.
8. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is famous for its anti-wrinkling and anti-aging properties. It helps in enhancing the blood circulation, which reduces stretch marks. Massage the affected area with cocoa butter at least two times a day. Repeat the process for two months and notice the reduced scars.
Else, 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. The mixture can be stored in a sealed box in the refrigerator.
9. Alfalfa Leaves
Alfalfa leaves consists of amino acids, which are effective for maintaining proper health of the skin. It is rich in vitamin E, K, and proteins, which help in improving body tone. It has anti-fungal agents, which detoxifies the skin. Take some alfalfa powder and mix it with a few drops of chamomile oil to form a paste. Gently rub the paste on the affected area thrice a day.
10. Egg Whites
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.
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, rinse it with lukewarm water. Follow the process for one month and see the promising results.
12. Lavender Oil, Almond Oil, And Chamomile Oil
Prepare a mixture of vitamin-rich oils by mixing two teaspoons of almond oil, half teaspoon of lavender oil and half teaspoon of chamomile oil. Stir the mixture well and apply it on the stretch marks.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil owns 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.
14. Herbal Solution
Herbal solution is easy to prepare. It is actually a mixture of one tablespoon of wheat germ oil and one tablespoon of calendula oil. Apply this herbal mix on hips, breast, and abdomen to remove stretch marks.
15. Glycerine and Lemon
Lemon is rich in citrus acid. Put 1-2 drops of glycerine in lemon. Rub the lemon on the affected area gently. Repeat the process two times a day. It will not only reduce the stretch marks, but will also keep your skin moisturized.
16. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is helpful in preventing scars on dermis. Vitamin K is present in green vegetables, like cabbage, spring onions, pickled cucumber, etc. Make a salad of all these vegetables and consume it daily to get rid of stretch marks.
17. Physical Exercise
One must regularly do physical exercises, like abdominal crunches, sit-ups, swimming, etc., which tone the underlying muscles and remove the ugly stretch marks. Here are some exercises, which are beneficial to remove stretch marks:
- For Stretch Marks on Stomach: You are required to lie down flat on your back. Now, bend your knees keeping 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 an 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.
Note- For best results, practice 20 lifts for each exercise thrice a week.
While the sight of stretch marks may be an unsightly sight for some, you have to remember that stretch marks will always tell a story. Whether they come from pregnancy losing weight, or some other life change, they are something that will become a part of you. Once you have stretch marks, one of the best ways to deal with them is not by getting rid of them, but by embracing them. Many pregnant moms who give birth and deal with stretch marks learn to love their scars overtime because they tell the story of their amazing journey that was childbirth.
How to Get Rid of Older Stretch Marks?
In this fast pace of life, women have very less time to take care of themselves. One of the problems that most of the women counter with is stretch marks. If stretch marks are not treated on time, they get older and difficult to remove. You can simply follow these remedies to lessen the older stretch marks:
- To get rid of older stretch marks, fractional laser therapy is the best option. It makes the skin surface smooth. Fractional laser treatment may also result in side-effects, like hyperpigmentation and scarring.
- You can also use SPF 60 directly on the stretch marks.
If you do try these methods, you should note that you can never completely remove your stretch marks unless you take a more invasive approach. With that being said, these remedies will not remove your stretch marks. Rather, they will lessen the appearance of them. Time really is your best friend when it comes to dealing with stretch marks. Taking proper precautions and letting time run its course coupled with proper skin treatments and exercise will help to diminish the look of stretch marks more and more.
Other Treatments for Stretch Marks
Apart from natural home remedies, various other simple options are also available to remove stretch marks. They are as follows:
- 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.
- 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 a “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.
- Here's even more treatment options.
- Try Organic Coconut Oil.
- Consume protein, zinc and Vitamin C rich foods in abundance. Green salad, milk, fish, nuts and citrus fruits help a lot in diminishing stretch marks.
- Do yoga and other physical exercises on the regular basis.
- Pregnant women should not use creams and solutions, prepared from chemicals. Instead of fading away stretch marks, they may result in skin damaging rashes.
- Don't scratch the affected area.
- Keep your skin moisturized.
Final Thoughts on How to Heal Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are just another one of life’s gifts that you unfortunately have to deal with. While many people who have had stretch marks will tell you that they can be pesky and annoying to look at everyday, others will tell you that the best way to deal with them is to just learn and accept them. Your stretch marks are just another part of who you are and they will often tell the story of growth and accomplishment.
While you many never be able to get rid of your stretch marks forever, you can do steps to help reduce their appearance. We hope that our helpful guide on how to remove stretch marks has helped open your eyes to the different ways you can deal with them. Have you tried any of these remedies or know of any others that have worked for you? Let us know below!