Stretch marks are scars that appear on your skin due to sudden changes in body size. This usually happens during pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, and puberty.
However, stretch marks are not caused only by overstretching of skin. Certain factors, such as a genetic predisposition, can increase your likelihood of developing stretch marks.
Nevertheless, you can take some preventive steps to try to avoid this problem. The best course of action is to keep your skin healthy and hydrated to improve its elasticity. There are many additional steps you can take to minimize the chances of such marks appearing.
Here are the top 10 tips to help prevent stretch marks.
1. Apply coconut oil
Using coconut oil is perhaps the best natural way to keep your skin moisturized.
- Rub coconut oil generously on your skin.
- Massage the area to aid absorption into the skin.
- Do this two or three times a day.
If you do not have coconut oil, you can use olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado oil, emu oil, or just some baby oil.
2. Use castor oil packs
Expectant mothers often are advised to use castor oil to prevent stretch marks. People have used castor oil to prevent and reduce fine lines, winkles, spots, blemishes, and other skin problems for ages. It works as a humectant, helping your skin retain moisture.
- Apply a thick layer of castor oil on your skin.
- Wrap the area with plastic wrap or saran wrap.
- Apply heat with a heating pad or hot water bottle for at least 20 minutes.
- Repeat the process daily or several times a week.
If you want to thin the oil, combine one tablespoon of castor oil with two tablespoons of sweet almond oil and then apply the mixture.
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help keep your skin hydrated. This keeps your skin supple and helps maintain elasticity, thereby making your skin layers less prone to tearing. For best results, drink at least two liters of water each day.
4. Enjoy a nutritious diet
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet that is rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, silica, and other nutrients to nourish your skin. Vitamin C, in particular, is essential for regenerating connective tissue.
Minerals like zinc and silica are also useful, as zinc helps in collagen synthesis and silica helps produce collagen. So, include a variety of foods such as strawberries, blueberries, spinach, carrots, green beans, collard greens, nuts and seeds in your diet.
5. Stock up on vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the collagen fibers in your skin from damage due to free radicals. This keeps the collagen fibers strong and promotes skin elasticity.
To get the maximum benefit, eat foods high in vitamin E (almonds, olives, sunflower seeds, spinach, avocados, pumpkins, etc.) and massage your skin with vitamin E oil or cream several times a day. You can take vitamin E oral supplements as well.
6. Moisturize with oil blends
You can create some interesting oil blends by combining different essential and base oils and using them to moisturize your skin.
- Combine one cup each of olive oil and coconut oil. Add four tablespoons of vitamin E oil and the contents of six vitamin A capsules. Regularly massage your skin with the mixture.
- Mix some coconut oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter. Melt the mixture in a microwave or a double boiler. Finally, add a little vitamin E oil and apply it on your skin. This is a great homemade “belly butter” for preventing pregnancy stretch marks.
- You can also add a few drops of orange oil in vitamin E oil and then apply it on your skin.