Stretch marks are a common occurrence in many individuals, and are defined as tiny streaks on the skin’s surface. These streaks are the result of sudden stretching of the skin often attributed to extreme weight changes within a relatively short period of time. Due to the nature of the stretch marks, they are most common in pregnant women. They, however, also occur in males when one becomes obese. the medical terminology for stretch marks is striae, and pregnancy-induced stretch marks are referred to as stria gravidarum.
Stretch marks commonly occur on the abdomen region, the breasts, buttocks and thighs -typically places where the body stores fat deposits. In obese individuals, stretch marks also occur on the arms.
The formation of these marks is triggered when the middle layer of the skin, known as the dermis, starts to stretch. This causes collagen, one of the skin’s proteins, to weaken, leading to the tearing of elastin fibers that make up the skin proteins.
This disrupts the normal production of collagen, resulting in linear scars on the skin’s top layer (medically referred to as the epidermis). These scars vary in color, and usually start as red marks before progressing to purple and finally fading as silver marks.
Natural remedies are available for the home treatment of stretch marks. It is important, however, to see a doctor if the occurrence of stretch marks on your body is not related to weight changes as this nullifies the possibility of different syndromes and skin disorders. Below are natural remedies which have been shown to be effective in treating stretch marks.
1. Potato Juice :
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Medium sized potato, a cup of warm water, knife, and a chopping board.
Potato juice is an excellent home treatment for stretch marks. The juice obtained from the potatoes is rich in starch which helps to soothe the skin in the areas affected by the marks. This juice is also rich in antioxidants, one of the reasons why potatoes are used for the removal of scars left behind by stretch marks. Antioxidants come in handy because they bind to free radicals and prevent the damage of skin cells. Since potato juice is easy to make, and the potatoes affordable, you can use the juice regularly to treat the stretch marks.
- Wash the potato before peeling it and slicing it into thick slices.
- You will then rub these slices over the stretch marks, allowing the juice to stay on the skin for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse the skin using warm water and follow up with an appropriate moisturizer. Repeat this procedure twice daily for best results.
2. Freshly Squeezed Aloe Vera Gel:
Time Required: For quick treatment, 30 Min . Otherwise the remedy works well when left on the skin for about 4 hours.
What You Need: Aloe vera leaf and warm water.
Aloe vera is undoubtedly, one of the best natural remedies for the skin, and is no doubt effective in the home treatment of stretch marks. The freshly squeezed gel of the aloe plant is applied topically on the skin. This gel facilitates for the rapid healing of the skin. The gel also contains an equivalent of collagen found in plants, and which when applied on the skin, enhances the repair of the skin cells by improving elasticity. These benefits also enhance the overall health of the skin, creating a radiant glow.
- Cut one of the leaves of the aloe plant and squeeze to yield the gel from the inner parts of the leaf.
- Scoop this gel and apply it on the stretch marks, gently but firmly.
- Let the gel sit on the skin for about 4 hours before rinsing with warm water. If you are time strapped, leave the gel on for just about 30 minutes. Regular use of aloe gel goes a long way in fading the stretch marks scars.
3. Olive Oil:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Olive oil in a shallow bowl and water in a pan.
Olive oil has long been used to improve the health of the skin, making it one of the key home remedies for the treatment of stretch marks following regular use. the oil is rich in nutrients which helps nourish the skin affected by scarring from the stretch marks. Additionally, the oil is rich in antioxidants which helps the skin retain its glow since the oil effectively deals with free radicals that worsen the appearance of stretch marks.
For this purpose, you are advised to warm the oil before use, preferably using a warm bath. The purpose of warming the oil is to improve the circulation of blood in the skin surrounding the stretch marks, thus hastening the healing process. Use of olive oil consistently also has the advantage of giving the skin its characteristic youthful glow.
- Place the olive oil in a small bowl and put aside.
- Heat some water in a pan, and once the water is hot enough to produce steam, turn off the heat and place the bowl containing olive oil in it. Do not heat the oil directly as this has the capacity to destroy the potency of the oil.
- Gently massage the oil on the skin that has the stretch marks and let it sit on the skin. Repeat this procedure thrice daily over a couple of months or until you start noticing an improvement on the condition of your skin.
4. Castor Oil:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Castor oil, choice of carrier oil such as almond oil, cotton wool, heating pad (optional), and a thin cotton cloth.
Castor oil is an excellent natural remedy for the home treatment of stretch marks. This is because it has several benefits for the skin, and plays a key role in ensuring that the skin stays healthy. The presence of a unique fatty acid known as ricinoleic acid is what sets this oil apart from others found in the market. This acid helps ensure that the skin is well moisturized.
Additionally, the oil also helps lubricate the skin, thus preventing drying out which worsens the presence of stretch marks. As with other oils that are natural remedies for the skin, it is advisable to use castor oil in its purest form. This way, you are not only able to get the benefits of the oil on the skin, you are also set to avoid any potential allergic reactions as a result of sub-standard oil products in the market.
NOTE: Since castor oil is rather viscous in nature, you may want to deal with this by adding some almond oil. The two oils work in synergy to improve the condition of the skin. In the absence of almond oil, you can always source for carrier oils.
- Pour some of the castor oil onto the palms of your hands and massage the parts of with the stretch marks. This allows the proper absorption of the oil while moisturizing the skin.
- Take the thin cotton cloth and wrap it around the skin containing the oil for about 20 minutes to further facilitate penetration into the skin’s pores.
- If you’d like to save some time, it makes sense to use a heating pad. This not only improves blood circulation to the skin, it also enhances penetration of castor oil into the skin pores. Use this remedy on a daily basis for best results.
5. Cocoa Butter:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is one of the most popular natural remedies for the home treatment of stretch marks. This is because in addition to reducing wrinkles on skin affected by these marks, cocoa butter also prevents aging of the skin while improving the circulation of blood under the skin. Cocoa butter also helps improve the hydration of the skin. The presence of Vitamin E in the cocoa butter helps get rid of the scarring that develops from stretch marks. Regular and consistent use of cocoa butter to treat stretch marks has proven effective for many clients.
- Pour some of the cocoa butter into the palms of your hands and massage on the skin region affected by stretch marks.
- Let the cocoa butter sit on your skin, preferably overnight. You can repeat this procedure thrice daily for a couple of months until you notice that the stretch marks have reduced.
6. Egg Whites:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Eggs, a fork, brush for application, warm water to rinse, and olive oil or cocoa butter to moisturize.
Egg whites are an incredible home remedy for dealing with stretch marks. The egg whites are rich in protein which helps regenerate skin cells, and therefore eliminate stretch marks. Additionally, the egg whites also help the skin stay hydrated, thus preventing the spread of the stretch marks. Egg whites are easily available, and regular use shows great results over a number of weeks.
- Beat two fresh eggs in a bowl and proceed to extract the whites and discard the yolks. Use a fork to help you get rid of the yolks.
- Clean the skin area with stretch marks using some of the warm water before applying a thick layer of the whipped egg white. Use a brush to make this less messy as well as to ensure a thick layer.
- Allow the layer of egg whites to dry completely. If you have some time, add a second layer of the egg whites and allow to dry.
- Once dry, rinse the skin with warm water and follow this up with the application of a skin moisturizer. Use this remedy twice when possible for best results in dealing with stretch marks.
Other natural remedies available for you if you need to treat stretch marks include the leaves of the alfalfa plant which are rich in proteins needed for healthy skin, sugar scrub which is an excellent exfoliant and gets rid of dead skin cells on the stretch marks and black tea which is a great source of minerals required for proper skin toning. As with most natural remedies, the use of the aforementioned compounds to treat stretch marks requires consistent use over a considerable period of time. This way, it is easy to note improvements in the fading of the scars from the marks. Proper diet and regular exercise is also key to great skin