Stretchmarks. Even the word can strike fear into a person’s heart. Skin is beautifully supple and smooth when we are younger, but time and changes in our body inevitably take a toll.
Is it possible to stop stretch marks from appearing, or get rid of them once they have appeared?
What are stretch marks?
While they aren’t a sign of illness or something that you need to get rid of for your health, stretch marks are unsightly. Their appearance can take a definite toll on a person’s self-confidence.
They can range in color from white or translucent to red and dark purple and basically look like scars or rippled lines in your skin. Usually, they are darker when they first appear and will fade with time.
Some are so severe that sufferers have turned to painful laser treatments and even plastic surgery to get rid of them.
When your body changes size relatively quickly, stretch marks can be left as a result. This can happen when a woman becomes pregnant or to anyone who gains or loses weight or body mass (such as bodybuilders) quickly. They also happen sometimes with puberty and when children or adolescents go through growth spurts.
They are usually around the stomach, buttocks, and thighs but you can get them really anywhere, including breasts, back, and arms.
The collagen in the skin is naturally elastic but when the skin is forced to stretch too quickly the collagen cannot keep up, which causes the marks.
There are two ways you can avoid living with stretch marks – either by preventing them from appearing in the first place or by lightening them once they have already appeared. While many products and remedies may help to lighten the scars, it is unlikely that you would be able to get rid of them altogether.
Why look for natural products?
Skin can be very sensitive, and it pays to really know what you are putting on it. Some man-made chemicals contained in skin care products have been shown through studies to have uncertain effects on the skin.
Creams and other substances that you put on your skin are absorbed into your body and your bloodstream.
Mineral oils for example, such as petroleum which is a common ingredient in cheaper chemical moisturizers may be unhealthy for long-term use on skin. This ingredient may clog pores, increase acne and build up in and on the skin over time.
Natural products and plant-based ones especially tend to reflect the skin’s natural processes more readily, making it easier to absorb and generally healthier for your complexion.
Prevention is better than cure
With stretch marks, hindsight is a wonderful thing. If you can anticipate that you might get stretch marks, for example when you first become pregnant, you can help prepare your body to reduce the likelihood or severity of them.
The best prevention method is to hydrate your skin as much as possible so that it stretches more easily. Drinking lots of water is a great start to healthy hydration.
You can take supplements to boost your body’s collagen levels, as well as use creams or oils to soften and prepare the skin on the areas most likely to be affected to help it stretch.
Natural Products for Stretch marks
Collagen boosters and supplements
Supplements that have been developed to increase the body’s production of collagen may help prevent stretch marks from appearing, and may also help the skin heal better if you are trying to get rid of them.
Hyaluronic acid is one common ingredient in collagen boosters and topical creams as well because it can stimulate collagen production.
Vitamin A is a retinoid, which is often an active ingredient in skincare treatments, and tends to help with skin health and overall appearance. You can use vitamin A creams on the area, or take a supplement containing vitamin A, as well as increase your intake of foods high in the vitamin such as carrots and sweet potato.
Vitamin E is a magical vitamin which can help your body with all sorts of health conditions. Having enough vitamin E can help is diverse ways including preventing cancer, lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, reducing the severity of chronic pain and helping boost general mood and cognition.
The antioxidant powers of vitamin E mean that it slows down damage to the body’s cells, including the skin and collagen cells. Many swear by vitamin E cream or supplements as part of an antiaging skin care treatment.
This is a herbal oil which has been shown to boost collagen production in your body and boost skin tissue. Using this oil topically on the skin may help to reduce stretch marks.
Bitter almond oil
Bitter almond oil has been known to reduce the appearance of stretch marks for women who massaged their bellies with it daily in the throughout their pregnancy. The massaging part of this treatment is important apparently, just applying the oil without massaging did not have the same results.
What can you use to lighten stretch marks?
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup almond oil or coconut oil
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine the ingredients and use as a scrub in the shower several times a week to lighten your stretch marks. When you apply the scrub, massage the area for up to 10 minutes.
If you apply pure aloe vera gel to your skin after you have dried it this may also help to improve your skin’s appearance.