Stretch marks or striae (singular stria), as they are called in dermatology, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. They are caused by tearing of the dermis, which over time may diminish, but will not disappear completely.
If you’re noticing stretch marks on your body, you’re not alone. Most girls and women have stretch marks, which tend to show up on the breasts, thighs, hips, and butt. Many women get them during pregnancy. And while they’re more common in girls, guys can get stretch marks, too.
How did they form?
Stretch marks are often the result of the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth or rapid weight changes. Although the skin is usually fairly elastic, when it’s overstretched, the normal production of collagen (the major protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin) is disrupted. As a result, scars called stretch marks may form. Stretch marks may also be influenced by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, bodybuilding, hormone replacement therapy, etc. Stretch marks formed during pregnancy, usually during the last trimester, and usually on the belly, but also commonly occurring on the breasts, thighs, hips, lower back and buttocks.
The first signs of stretch marks are going to be read lines that move throughout the skin usually they have a slight wavy pattern. Over time these lines will fade into a lighter color almost a white. This is why the darker your skin color from tanning or naturally the more stretch marks show on your body.
People who are obese often have stretch marks. Bodybuilders are prone to getting stretch marks because of the rapid body changes that bodybuilding can produce. Stretch marks also may occur if a person uses steroid-containing skin creams or ointments (such as hydrocortisone) for more than a few weeks, or has to take high doses of oral corticosteroids for months or longer.
How can I get rid of my stretch marks?
The best way to handle stretch marks is to prevent them entirely. If you know you will be gaining weight or your skin will be stretching do something like pregnancy or weight lifting then you can take steps in order to reduce the likelihood of stretch marks to occur in the first place. If you have them already, try some of the advises below.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drink lots of water to keep your skin fresh, drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and more if you live in a hot climate or sweat a lot. Along with this, eat nutritious food that will complement the water and keep your skin soft. This is probably the simplest home remedy for stretch marks and helps with a host of other ailments as well. When the skin is properly hydrated the cells are able to expand and stretch in a natural way. In addition to drinking water, you should make sure that your skin stays moisture.
REMEMBER! – Staying hydrated is key to keeping skin moisturized.
2. Eat Healthy
One of the best ways to deals with stretch marks and live healthy is to eat healthy. Having a diet full of foods rich in vitamins and nutrients such as fruits and vegetables will help provide elasticity to your skin and could help prevent stretch marks from forming. Foods that contain vitamin A, C and E, if included sufficiently in the diet, help in reducing the stretch marks. Foods that are rich sources of zinc and silica, aid in producing collagen, which is an important ingredient in renewing and regenerating the skin. Foods like fish oils, vegetable oils and fresh vegetables also help to eliminate stretch marks.
There isn’t much that a good workout can’t do and it’s another way to deal with stretch marks. It might seem like working out won’t do much for your skin but working out tones your muscles, which helps your skin look and feel better. Exercise also helps boost oxygen and blood flow to your skin, helps purge your body of toxins from sweating and helps rebuild skin-all which can make a difference in dealing with stretch marks!
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a core building block in skin health. You can work vitamin E into your diet a few different ways. First you can run it directly on your skin. Vitamin E oil is a great way to get the nutrients directly to the source. In addition your body will absorb the vitamin E systematically through the skin. One can also take vitamin E orally. This will increase the vitamin E with immune system and allow your skin to properly protect itself.
5. Vitamin C
According to WebMD, some formulations of vitamin C can increase the production of collagen in your body and help with stretch marks in the early stages. They recommend combining vitamin C with glycolic acid for best results. You can also talk to your doctor about adding 500 milligram vitamin C supplements to your diet.
These simple ways to deal with stretch marks can be an effective way to treat stretch marks at home. But if you find that your stretch marks are stubborn or you’ve had them for years so they aren’t budging, you might want to talk to a dermatologist about laser treatment.
6. Shea or Cocoa Butter
I think those two butters are the oldest way to deal with stretch marks and many women still swear by it! They can be a good preventive measure to be used to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Both butters contains enzymes that can reduce damage to the skin’s tissues, can help tone your skin and keep it moisturized so it’s more pliable.
7. Retinol – Tretinoin Creams
If you’ve got relatively new stretch marks that are less than six weeks old and are still red, you can try applying retinol topically to minimize the appearance of stretch marks. Using retinol on the skin can help minimize the color, rebuild the dermis and exfoliate older skin, all of which helps decrease their overall appearance. You can find skin care products with retinol in drugstores or by prescription. Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should however, avoid using such creams.
8. Lavender Oil
Another topical treatment you can use as a way to deal with stretch marks is lavender oil. Lavender oil is one of the gentler oils and can be used to induce the growth of new skin to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Mix lavender oil with a carrier oil or a body butter and apply it to the affected area up to three times a day.
9. Coffee Beans
Coffee beans make for a great home remedy for stretch marks. Coffee beans are a great source of chemicals which help in tightening the skin in the affected area. Grind the coffee beans until they take the form of a fine powder. Add olive oil to the powdered coffee beans to make a paste. Apply the mixture to the affected area, rubbing in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds. Wrap the affected area with a cling wrap and allow the applied mixture to warm up and get absorbed in to the skin. Leave it on for 5 minutes and then wash it off. Repeat this every day to get rid of your stretch marks.
10. Jojoba Oil
Massaging the affected skin with essential oils such as jojoba oil, helps in improving the blood circulation in the area. When the blood circulation improves, the skin on the breasts heal, thus minimizing the appearance of the marks. Massaging with jojoba oil is one of the most effective home remedies.
11. Glycolic acid
Glycolic acid comes from fruit and is often used in small doses as part of home remedies for stretch marks. This acid has the potential to be dangerous in large doses, so it should only be used by experts.
The best way is to exfoliate the affected area on alternate days with a good quality exfoliator. Regular exfoliation removes the dead skin layer, thus revealing the soft, blemish-free and mark-free skin beneath. Post exfoliation, moisturizing the skin with a cream which has a collagen-producing active ingredient, will help in making the skin look smooth and tight.
Stretch Mark Removal Creams/Lotions
When buying Stretch Mark Removal Cream check all ingredients first.
Those are Natural Ingredients you should look for:
Vitamin A – Vitamin A is already well known for its ability to helps improve the skin’s elasticity, texture and tone.
Vitamin E – The most widely used antioxidant in skincare products today, Vitamin E increases the moisture content of the epidermis, making the skin softer, smoother and more supple. Vitamin E also assists in the proliferation and maintenance of healthy skin.
Calendula oil – Calendula Officinalis, more commonly referred to as marigold, has been used for centuries as a natural antioxidant and has the ability to clarify and condition the skin, while providing soothing and calming benefits for sensitive skin types.
Lavender oil – Lavender oil is well known for its skin conditioning properties, and is also effective in calming and soothing the skin.
Rosemary oil – Rosemary oil helps to invigorate and condition the skin, and has calming and soothing properties.
Chamomile oil – Chamomile has a calming and soothing effect and is particularly beneficial for sensitive skin. It also helps to condition and clarify the skin, assisting to maintain its natural health.
Aloe Vera Gel – There are over 240 different species of Aloe, growing mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia , Europe and America . The aloe leaf contains over 75 nutrients and 200 active compounds, including 20 minerals, 18 amino acids, and 12 vitamins. Aloe gel has been used for topical treatment of wounds, minor burns, and skin irritations since ancient Egypt . A major part of acne treatment is healing, and nothing natural heals acne better than aloe.
Alfalfa – First discovered by the Arabs, they dubbed this valuable plant the “father of all foods”. The leaves of this remarkable legume contain eight essential amino acids. Rich in protein, vitamins E and K, alfalfa restores and increases body tone. It contains an anti- fungus agent which alkalizes and detoxifies the skin. This ingredient is one of the top scar treatments.
Green Tea – Catechins (the medicinal portion of green tea) are well recognized as powerful antioxidants. Used to enhance your skin’s immunity and rebuild damaged skin cells. Useful in the treatment of acne scars, burns,stretch mark chronic photo-damage, aging and the effects of environmental pollutants.
Vegetable glycerin – Vegetable glycerin comes to us through a very complex and sophisticated method of extraction known as Hydrolysis. It is invaluable as a natural acne treatment ingredient with emollient like properties which can soften and soothe the skin and it assists the outer epidermis is retaining moisture. Like Divas Masas Shea butter will never dry out your skin, and will make it feel clean and smooth.