Stretch marks are visible lines on the skin surface, with an off-color hue. Stretch marks are mainly found in the abdominal wall, but can also occur over the thighs, upper arms, buttocks and breasts.
Sometimes stretch marks can cover large areas of the body. While pregnancy is the main cause behind stretch marks, other reasons can be sudden gain or loss in weight, rapid growth, heredity factors, stress and changes in physical conditions.
The skin consists of three main layers: Epidermis (the outer layer), Dermis (the middle layer) and Subcutaneous or Hypodermic (the deepest layer). Stretch marks form in the dermis or middle layer of the skin when the connective tissue is “stretched” beyond the power of its flexibility due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin.
As skin is stretched, the collagen is weakened and its normal production cycle is interrupted and damaged. This ultimately results in fine scars under the top layer of the skin. Initially the marks look pink or red, but over time a thin, silvery line appears on the skin surface and a stretch mark is born.
Stretch marks appear on the skin surface when someone grows quickly, or puts on weight quickly.
Stretch marks can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable about your appearance. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
1. Castor Oil
Castor oil, which is used in the treatment of a number of skin problems such as wrinkles, age spots, moles, dark spots, fine lines and pimples, can also be used to get rid of stretch marks.
- Apply some castor oil to the stretch marks and gently massage the area in circular motions for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Wrap the area with a thin, cotton cloth. Using a hot water bottle or a heating pad, apply some heat to the affected area for at least a half an hour.
- Repeat this process daily for a minimum of one month to notice positive results.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is effective in the treatment of many skin problems. Its healing and soothing properties can be used to get rid of stretch marks. There are a couple of ways to apply it.
- You can directly rub aloe vera gel on the affected skin area, leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse the skin with lukewarm water.
- Another option is to make a mixture with one-fourth cup of aloe vera gel, oil from 10 vitamin E capsules and oil from five vitamin A capsules. Rub this mixture onto the skin until fully absorbed. Repeat this process daily.
3. Egg Whites
Eggs are a rich source of protein. For stretch marks, you want to use only the egg whites, which contain amino acids and proteins.
- Whip the whites of two eggs gently with a fork. Clean the affected skin area with water and then apply a thick layer of egg whites with a makeup brush.
- Allow the egg whites to dry completely and then rinse the area with cold water.
- Finally apply some olive oil on the skin to keep it moisturized.
- Repeat the process daily for at least two weeks and watch for positive results.
4. Lemon Juice
Another simple way to lessen stretch marks is to use lemon juice. Lemon juice is naturally acidic which helps heal and reduce stretch marks, acne, and other scars.
- Rub fresh lemon juice gently onto the stretch marks using circular motions. Allow the lemon juice to soak into your skin for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
- Another option is to mix equal quantities of cucumber juice and lemon juice and apply the mixture on the stretch marks.
Natural white sugar is one of the best natural remedies to get rid of stretch marks. You can use the sugar to exfoliate your skin.
- Mix a tablespoon of raw sugar with some almond oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Mix it well and apply it on the stretch marks and other skin areas.
- Gently rub the mixture on the skin for a few minutes every day before taking a shower.
- Do this for a month or so and watch your stretch marks become lighter.
6. Potato Juice
Potato juice contains vitamins and minerals that foster growth and restoration of skin cells.
- Cut a medium-sized potato into thick slices.
- Take one of the potato pieces and rub it gently on the stretch marks for a few minutes. Make sure the starch from the potato covers the affected area.
- Allow the potato juice to dry for some time and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
Alfalfa leaves contain eight essential amino acids which are good for overall health of the skin. They are also rich in protein and vitamins E and K, which help nourish the skin.
- Mix some alfalfa power with a few drops of chamomile oil to form a smooth paste.
- Massage the paste into the affected area two to three times a day.
- Repeat this daily for a few weeks and you will notice great improvement.
8. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is also very beneficial in treating stretch marks. Being an excellent natural moisturizer, it helps nourish your skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- You must apply cocoa butter over the affected area at least two times a day for a few months.
- Another option is to make a mixture using half a cup of cocoa butter, one tablespoon of wheat germ oil, two teaspoons of grated beeswax and one teaspoon each of apricot kernel oil and vitamin E oil. Heat this mixture until the beeswax melts. You can store the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator and apply it to your stretch marks two to three times a day. This mixture will make your skin more hydrated and smooth.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains a lot of nutrients and antioxidants that help improve various skin problems including stretch marks.
- Massage slightly warm extra-virgin olive oil into the affected skin area. This will improve the blood circulation and reduce the stretch marks to a great extent.
- Leave it for half an hour so that the vitamins A, D and E present in the oil are absorbed by the skin.
You can also mix olive oil with vinegar and water and use it as a night cream. This will keep your skin stay moisturized and also exfoliate the skin.
Keeping your body well hydrated helps protect the skin from many kinds of problems and also aids in detoxification. It also helps keep the skin supple and restores elasticity.
Try to drink one to two glasses of water several times during a day. Experts say drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day is the best way to keep the body hydrated.
It will also make your skin soft and help maintain its elasticity. It is advisable to avoid coffee, tea or soda though.
These natural remedies can help stretch marks fade, but they may not completely remove them. You can always see your doctor if you are greatly concerned about the appearance of stretch marks on your skin.