Stretch marks are off-colored streaks or stripes formed on the skin due to swift stretching of skin or because of change in weight. They generally appear on the abdomen due to pregnancy or obesity. In dermatology, they are termed Striae. These stretch marks are formed due to hormonal changes related to pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, puberty, etc. They can be commonly seen on breasts, thighs, lower backs, waist, hips, arms, and buttocks.
How are these stretch marks formed?
The skin of human body consists of 3 main layers:
Epidermis -the outer layer
Dermis -the middle layer
Hypodermis -the third layer (deepest)
When the connective tissue stretches due to expansion and contraction of skin, the stretch marks start developing on the middle layer of skin- dermis. With the stretching in the skin, collagen gets weak, and elastin fibers start tearing. Due to this, its normal production cycle gets damaged and this results in the formation of fine scars under the top layer of the skin- epidermis. Initially, these appear red or pink, but gradually, they turn into thin silvery line.
Causes of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are not a disease. They are scars formed due to the contraction and expansion of skin. The main reason for stretch marks is the stretching of the skin. The cause of these ugly stretch marks are:
- Extraordinary weight gain, especially on arms, thighs, etc.
- Physical stretching of the skin at the end of pregnancy.
- Use of certain medications, including lotions, Corticosteroid creams, and steroids.
- Genetic disorders
- Muscle building
- Adrenal gland diseases,
- Hormonal changes during puberty
Symptoms of Stretch Marks
- The skin becomes thin, pink, and flattened before the development of stretch marks.
- The affected area becomes soft in touch.
- Development of red, pink, or purple lines on the skin.
- During the initial phase, these lines appear wrinkly and raised.
- Gradually, these lines turn silver or white in color.
- They might also appear in patches of parallel lines.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
1. Sugar Scrub
Sugar is one of the best home remedies to get rid of stretch marks. It used as a natural exfoliant for skin. Take 1 tbsp. of sugar and add few drops of almond oil and lemon juice to it. Stir well and apply it directly on the stretch marks. Rub softly for 10 minutes and then take a shower. Continue using this remedy for 1 month or so, until the stretch marks get faded.
2. Potato juice
Potato juice is rich in minerals and vitamins, promoting the growth and restoration of skin cells. Take a medium-sized potato and cut thick slices of it. Take 1 potato slice and rub it gently on the stretch marks for a few minutes. Let the juice dry naturally, then wash off the affected area with lukewarm water.
Also Read: Amazing Health Benefits of Potato!
Water carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Drink plenty of water to prevent skin from various problems. To get rid of ugly stretch marks, a well-hydrated skin is required to allow regular detoxification of the skin pores. Drink ten glasses of water daily to make your skin soft and to maintain a hydrated body. It is one of the quickest home remedies to heal stretch marks.
4. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is the most effective remedy for stretch marks and for various other skin problems also. It possesses healing and soothing properties. Apply aloe vera gel directly on the stretch marks. Clean it with lukewarm water after few minutes.
Or, else take a ¼ cup of aloe gel. Take five vitamin-A capsules and ten vitamin E capsules and extract oil from them. Mix both the oils with aloe gel. Rub this mixture on the affected area until it gets fully absorbed. Apply this mix daily, for better results.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, which are effective for healing skin disorders. For vanishing your stretch marks, warm the olive oil slightly and rub it gently on the affected area in circular motion. This will improve blood circulation and stretch marks will get reduced.
6. Lemon juice
The acid present in lemon juice helps to reduce stretch marks, acne, scars and skin injuries. Extract juice from some lemons. Massage it gently for ten minutes on the stretch marks. Wash it off with lukewarm water after few minutes. Alternatively, you can also mix lemon juice with cucumber juice and apply this mixture directly on the affected area.
7. Castor oil
Castor oil is an excellent healing agent for skin problems, like moles, wrinkles, pimples, dark spots, and fine lines. For stretch marks, apply castor oil directly on them. Massage in a circular motion and then wrap the affected area with a thin and clean cotton cloth. Now, with the help of heating pad or hot water bottle apply some heat to that portion. Repeat this process for 30 minutes daily for 1 month to get best results.
8. Cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is known for its anti-wrinkling and anti-aging properties. It enhances the blood circulation, which helps in reducing stretch marks. Give a massage to the affected area with cocoa butter at least 2 times a day. Repeat this process for a month and notice reduced scars.
Or else, take ½ cup of cocoa butter, 1 teaspoon of tea kernel oil, 2 teaspoons of grated beeswax, 1 tablespoon of wheat germ oil, and vitamin E oil. Mix all of them thoroughly and heat the mix until the beeswax melts. Apply this mix on the stretch marks 2-3 times a day. You can store this mixture in a sealed box in the refrigerator.
9. Alfalfa leaves
Alfalfa leaves are rich in vitamin E, K, and proteins, which help in improving body tone and it also contains amino acids, which are important for maintaining proper health of the skin. Moreover, it also has anti-fungal agents, which detoxify the skin. Mix some alfalfa powder with a few drops of chamomile oil to form a paste. Rub this paste gently on the affected area thrice daily.
10. Egg white
Egg whites are rich in proteins and amino acid which make them suitable for removing stretch marks. Extract out whites from 2 eggs. Whip it using a fork. Wash the affected with clean water and apply a thick layer of egg whites using a brush. Let it dry naturally. Wash it off with cold water and then pat dry. Apply some olive oil to moisturize the skin. Continue this process for 2 weeks daily for better results.
Take 2-3 apricots. Slice them and remove their seeds. Grind them to make a paste. Apply this paste directly on the stretch marks. Leave for 20 minutes. Then, rinse it off with lukewarm water. Follow this process for 1 month to see good results.
Also Read: 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apricots!
12. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is present in green vegetables such as cabbage, spring onions, pickled cucumber, etc. it is helpful in preventing scars on the dermis. Make a salad of all these vegetables and consume it daily to get rid of stretch marks.
13. Lemon and Glycerine
Lemon is rich in citrus acid. Mix lemon juice with 1-2 drops of glycerine. Apply this mix on the affected area gently. Repeat this process 2 times a day. It not only reduces the stretch marks, but also keeps your skin moisturized.
14. Lavender oil, chamomile oil, and almond oil
Take 2 teaspoons of almond oil, ½ teaspoon of lavender oil and ½ teaspoon of chamomile oil and mix them well. Stir this mixture well and apply on the stretch marks.
15. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-viral It is effective for all types of skin problems. Massage the affected area gently with some tea tree oil.
16. Herbal solution
Take 1 tablespoon of wheat germ oil and 1 tablespoon of calendula oil. Mix it well and apply this mix on abdomen, breast, and hips, to remove the stretch marks.
You should regularly do physical exercises, like sit-ups, abdominal crunches, swimming, etc., which help tone the underlying muscles and also removes the ugly stretch marks. Here are some exercises, which are helpful in removing the stretch marks:
For Stretch Marks on Stomach: lie down flat on your back. Bend your knees, keeping the feet flat on the floor. Now, keep your hands on the sides of your head. Lift your upper body somewhat off the floor, contracting your abs.
For Thighs: Sit straight on a chair. Holding the chair, put your hands down to your sides. Now, swing your legs in up and down motion. This will help to firm your thighs.
For Hips and Buttocks: for this, you need to lie down flat on your back. Relax for few minutes. Then, lift 1 leg creating a 90-degree angle. Lift it until you feel a pull on your buttocks. Try the same with the other leg. Increase your pace slowly and strain on the hips, buttocks, and thighs.
Tips to remember
- Keep your skin moisturized.
- Pregnant women should not use creams and solutions, prepared from chemicals. They may result in skin damaging rashes.
- Do yoga and other physical exercises on the regular basis.
- Don’t scratch the affected area.
- Consume foods rich in protein, zinc and Vitamin C in abundance.
- Milk, fish, nuts, green salad, and citrus fruits help a lot in diminishing stretch marks.