Home Remedies for Stretch Marks that Really Work

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Stretch marks, known in the medical literature as striae distensae, are the result of tissues underlying the skin growing too fast or shrinking too fast for the skin to keep up. They are a common complication of pregnancy, rapid weight loss, intensive bodybuilding programs, and prolonged use of steroid medications.

Stretch marks occur in the middle of the abdomen and around the breasts in women during pregnancy or breastfeeding, at the shoulders in bodybuilders, across the belly in dieters and in people who gain weight quickly, and almost anywhere on the body in users of steroids, including the face. Adolescents sometimes get stretch marks during their growth spurt, girls usually around the breasts, boys usually on the buttocks and thighs.

People of any race who have any skin tone can get stretch marks, but they are more common in women than in men. Younger people are more likely to get stretch marks than older people, since older skin contains less of the “tightening” collagen associated with the marks.

Doctors often treat stretch marks with potentially dangerous retinoid medications such as Retin-A or Accutane (tretinoin and isotretinoin). These medications stimulate the skin to grow faster so that stretch marks fade, but they require careful monitoring to prevent serious side effects, and can also cause acne. People with lighter skin may be given acid peels, and people with darker skin may be treated with pulsed laser or radiofrequency ablation.

Fortunately, there are much simpler methods that can be applied at home. Here are ten things about stretch marks everyone needs to know:

1. The sooner stretch marks are treated, the easier it is to erase them. Stretch marks should be treated while the skin is still red. If you wait until the skin turns white, it is much harder to encourage enough skin growth to smooth out the scar.

2. Massage stimulates the growth of collagen. Deep tissue massage, designed to relax the fascia underlying the skin, also reduces tension on the skin and makes stretch marks less likely to form or less noticeable. There are some stretch mark products that don’t have any particular value in themselves, but the action of putting them on every day stimulates the growth of collagen.

3. Try roller massage. Massage rollers are studded with tiny needles, only about 1 mm (1/25 of an inch) long. Roller treatments are helpful if they are done gently. If you have to use a numbing cream to use microneedle rolling device, you are pressing too hard. The point of using a microneedle roller is to simulate injury to the skin to stimulate collagen production, not actually to injure the skin. Massaging your skin with a metal roller gets the best results for stretch marks when it’s uncomfortable, but not painful. Don’t use any roller than you can only use with a numbing cream.

4. Use Oil for Stretch Marks. There are many oils that can help prevent and treat stretch marks as well. Mink oil, emu oil, vitamin E oil, flaxseed oil, almond oil, and olive oil are just a few used to combat stretch marks. With daily application, the skin becomes suppler, allowing it to stretch further.

Many of these oils can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks as well. Patchouli oil, Neroli oil mandarin oil and rose geranium oil, all have properties of skin regeneration. One of the most important things to remember when you apply oil for stretch marks is that it should be used faithfully. Twice a day is usually sufficient, but more will usually help as well.

5. Use Cocoa Butter. Cocoa butter has long been used to prevent and treat stretch marks. It penetrates deeply into the skin and can help repair some of the damage. Cocoa butter helps to add moisture and elasticity to the skin, which will also prevent stretch marks.

A good cocoa butter stretch mark cream will also contain emu oil, vitamin E, and aloe. When combined with these ingredients, you will find that these offer a great preventive measure for stretch marks.

6. Moisturizers minimize stretch marks. Moisture in the skin makes it more flexible. Moisturize your whole body, not just your face, every day. Moisture is especially important for fighting the newer, darker stretch marks that can leave red and purple lines on your midriff, shoulders, buttocks, thighs, breasts, pectoral muscles, or even your face. Moisture makes your skin smoother and more supple, less likely to form stretch marks. Moisture is never enough to get rid of stretch marks for good, but it is an essential first step.

7. Exfoliants, especially beta-hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid, are very useful for treating fine, red stretch marks. They loosen and separate dead skin cells that can hold the skin tight so that stretch marks are more visible. Exfoliate your skin at least once or twice a week. The more often you can exfoliate-without irritating your skin-the less noticeable your stretch marks.

8. Treat purple stretch marks first. Purple stretch marks are especially unsightly, but they are the easiest stretch marks to treat. Make a priority of treating purple stretch marks first!

9. It’s important to stay hydrated for your general health, although drinking more water won’t cure stretch marks by itself. Add moisture to your skin with emu oil. Just a tiny dab is enough.

10. The benefits of vitamins for stretch marks. Vitamins for stretch marks have also proven to be very effective. Vitamin E is often associated with reducing stretch marks. Free radicals are what is responsible for the collagen and elastin breakdown that happens in the dermis. Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant which helps to prevent this damage.

By using Vitamin E oil directly on the skin, you can significantly raise the levels of Vitamin E in the skin. This helps to give the skin a Vitamin E research which helps prevent stretch marks. Some skin types may react more positively than others to Vitamin E but it is very important that you apply it at least twice a day.

Vitamin C has also been shown to help the skin and the collagen development. 1000 mg of Vitamin C is the recommended dosage for the prevention of stretch marks.

11. Don’t go on a crash diet. Losing weight slowly helps your skin shrink slowly to avoid forming wrinkles and stretch marks. Add green leafy vegetables, liver, tomatoes, and dairy products to your diet. Nuts that are high in zinc will also help in reducing stretch marks.

12. Don’t do bulking exercises if you aren’t planning to participate in an exhibition or special event. Off-season bulking for bodybuilders causes more fat gain than muscle gain, and just gives you more stretch marks.

13. Avoid gaining fat or muscle or losing fat or muscle quickly. Stretch marks can be caused by both bulging bellies and bulging muscles, or losing them. The more slowly you make changes to your contour beneath your skin, the more time your skin has to keep up with subcutaneous growth to avoid forming stretch marks.

14. One of the most effective home remedies for stretch marks is to apply lavender oil or aloe vera gel directly to the marks. In order to get the best results, you should apply this oil and gel three times a day.

15. A good apricot scrub used daily will help reduce the appearance stretch marks. The high acidity level will work in a way that is similar to dermabrasion and helps to polish and lighten the stretch marks.

16. Consider a home microdermabrasion kit. Home microdermabrasion kits also provide very good results as a stretch marks remover. Consider a home microdermabrasion kit. Microdermabrasion wears away the top layer of skin by bombarding it with a stream of tiny particles, literally the grit used to make sand paper. This makes the stretch mark less noticeable. Fine lines, such as those bodybuilders get when they bulk up, may disappear completely. Microdermabrasion at the dermatologist’s office usually costs US $1500 to $2500, but you can get a home microdermabrasion unit for as little as US $300. Be sure you choose a kit that you can use frequently without irritation. Most microdermabrasion kits can be used every other week. Recommended brands include Dermanew, Neutrogena, and Youthful Essence.

17. Tanning for stretch marks. If you have had your stretch marks so long that your skin has turned white, try tanning. Darkening the skin makes lines less visible. Tanning creams and tanning sprays are preferable, since tanning in the outdoors in the sun or in a tanning bed can expose you to dangerous UV rays.

18. “Kitchen cures” for stretch marks include kosher salt, sugar, and oatmeal. Used as inexpensive natural exfoliants, these common food items are simply rubbed into the stretch mark and rinsed off with warm water. Don’t apply them to broken skin.

19. Avoid hot showers. Hot water loosens the “glue” that holds skin cells to the surface, but usually not enough to exfoliate. Peeling, flaky skin can pull stretch marks and make them even more noticeable.

20. Apply a concealer to match the stretch mark to the tones of surrounding skin. The first time you use a product, test only a small area of skin to make sure you are not allergic to the concealer.

21. Combine any or all of these methods with the services your dermatologist provides. The fastest and most effective way to reduce stretch marks is always to work with your doctor to get more complete results. Be sure to tell your doctor about any creams, exfoliants, or home microdermabrasion products you use so you receive compatible treatments.