A common problem for both men and women, stretch marks are stubborn and tend to have an effect on people’s confidence. Whether it’s due to pregnancy or sudden weight gain, this is one beauty woe that can be commonly seen on the waist, thighs, lower backs, hips, breasts, arms, and buttocks.
Most women suffer from stretch marks usually after pregnancy, but that’s not the only cause for it. Men too have stretch marks and so do women who are not pregnant. Stretch marks occur due to a sudden weight gain or weight loss. There is no denying the fact that stretch marks can turn out to be quite annoying. Be it, teenagers or adults, people of all age groups can anyone can experience stretch marks. People often end up resorting to various beauty treatments to get rid of stretch marks.
However, not many realize that chemical-laden beauty treatments also come along with their own sets of side effects. In order to steer clear of the harmful side effects, one can bring to use some effective home remedies. There are various natural products that can help reduce stretch marks and lighten them if not make them disappear completely.
Sudden weight gain results in the skin overstretching and the fibers breaking which ultimately causes stretch marks. When the dermis tears, the blood vessels under the skin show, making the stretch marks appear red or purple initially. Later, when the blood vessels get smaller, the pale-coloured fat under your skin becomes visible; and the marks turn silvery-white in colour. While they aren’t an indication of ill health, there are a number of natural remedies that can help lighten and get rid of stretch marks.
Signs and symptoms
Before stretch marks begin to emerge, the skin can appear thin and pink. It may also feel irritated or itchy.
The marks initially develop as wrinkly, raised streaks that can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown or dark brown, depending on skin color. The streaks eventually fade and flatten and tend to change to a silvery color over time.
Stretch marks may gradually become less noticeable, but this can often take years.
Causes of stretch marks
Bodybuilders very commonly face this problem of stretch marks. Rapid growth in muscle mass and sometimes misuse of anabolic steroids to accelerate the growth of muscle lead to the appearance of stretch marks.
If your parents have had stretch marks, then you are most likely to have them too.
Most women develop stretch marks during pregnancy as the fibers in the skin become soft and stretch, making room for the developing baby. As the baby grows, stretch marks appear on the tummy, thighs and breasts due to the continual tugging and stretching.
During puberty, youngsters experience a sudden growth spurt and might rapidly gain or lose weight. This sudden stretching and contracting of the skin lead to stretch marks on hips, thighs, and breasts.
Stretch marks occur due to weight gain in a short period of time as the skin stretches suddenly. Similarly, they also appear if you are on a diet, due to the fluctuating weight. It is therefore advisable to lose weight gradually so that the skin is not strained.
Rare health conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos, and other adrenal gland disorders cause stretch marks due to various reasons. In Cushing’s syndrome, the body tends to overproduce the hormone cortisol, which causes these marks. Meanwhile, Marfan syndrome is the result of a faulty gene that makes the body’s skin and connective tissues weak, reducing their elasticity, thus increasing the chances of developing stretch marks.
A number of risk factors have been associated with the development of stretch marks, but the evidence varies. More research is needed to confirm the causes of stretch marks.
The risk factors for developing stretch marks could be linked to:
- family history
- chronic diseases
- body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy
- birthweight of the child in women who are pregnant
These findings can be explained by the greater degrees of skin stretching in obese women with larger babies, and by age-related changes in skin collagen and connective tissue that affect the likelihood of tearing.
Home remedies to treat stretch marks
Vitamin E enriched Argan oil increases the elasticity of the skin and rubbing it on the stretch marks might heal the broken tissues gradually making the marks fade.
Coconut oil and aloe vera
Both coconut oil and aloe vera gel are natural moisturizers and help hydrate the skin. While coconut oil has healing properties, aloe vera helps in restoring skin tissues back to health. If you’re wondering how to remove stretch marks effectively, then here’s a DIY treatment you must try. Take two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil and freshly extracted aloe vera sap and mix them together in a bowl.
Apply a small amount of the mixture on the stretch marks daily for the best results. In two to three you will notice that the stretch marks are starting to fade. Coconut oil also prevents stretch marks and thus it is recommended for expecting mothers to massage the abdomen with some coconut oil to keep scarring at bay. Because, well prevention is better than cure, after all.
Retinoids have been known to remove stretch marks and give you youthful skin. Vitamin A, retinol, helps repair the skin cells and makes the skin softer and younger-looking, and that is the reason why it is widely used in many skincare creams and lotions. Intake or use of Vitamin A can help make the skin firmer and fade away the stretch marks.
How to get rid of stretch marks permanently, you ask? Consume Vitamin A orally or extract the vitamin A oil from the capsule and apply it on the affected areas every night before hitting the sack. Also, you can include Vitamin A rich foods in your meal to heal the skin quicker such as milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables, tomato etc.
Baking soda and lemon juice
Baking soda is a natural exfoliant while lemon has bleaching properties that lighten the skin. Baking soda helps remove the dead skin cells and thus removes stretch marks. Lemon reduces the redness and makes them less visible. The mixture of baking soda and lemon juice has proven to be an effective and quick way to remove stretch marks.
All you need is one tablespoon of baking soda, fresh juice of half a lemon, and cling wrap. You can use a kitchen roll for this. Mix both the ingredients and apply them on stretch marks. Cover it with the cling wrap and rinse after 20 minutes. If you have sensitive skin, it is better to first test it on your skin. Apply a small amount of the mixture on your arm and leave for 10 minutes, and if it doesn’t react or itches, then apply it to all the affected areas.
Rich in moisturising properties, olive oil is full of antioxidants and other nutrients that are exceptionally good for repairing skin damage. Application of cold-pressed olive oil on stretch marks will help them fade over time.
The use of cocoa butter helps reduce stretch marks and I have seen that if used during and after pregnancy it makes the stretch marks disappear completely. The best time to use cocoa butter is at night, so massage it well into the skin and over a period of time you will find the stretch marks reducing and fading away.
Almond and Coconut Oil
Use almond and coconut oil in equal quantities to reduce stretch marks. Massage it on the skin regularly.This home remedy is absolutely natural, which means no harmful side-effects.
Because of their dried, shrivelled up look, stretch marks need nourishment and moisture. Castor oil when massaged onto the skin will help heal and smoothen the marks slowly. But this is something that you need to constantly feed the skin with.
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