How to remove stretch marks? No matter how hard we try, they seem to be somehow more persistent than us. Well, they aren’t! Declare war on them! On that issue, we bring some valuable tips.
Stretch marks happen to everyone because countless women and some men have this frustrating but common skin problem. Yes, even Hollywood stars have them. Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Demi Moore, and even Angelina Jolie, admitted having these scary lines on their skin.
What Exactly Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks usually appear as parallel streaks or lines on the surface of the skin. These lines are mostly long and thin and differ in color and texture from normal skin.
Not everyone gets these ugly marks. Whether you will get them depends on the type of skin you have. Collagen is a protein in the skin, which makes the skin elastic and stretchy and is a very important prerequisite for preventing these lines. If you have a lot of collagen in your skin, you are less likely to get them.
Before they appear, the affected skin becomes thin, flattened, and pink in color, and itching can be felt. Stretch marks then appear as red or purple lines, but can also be pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on the color of the skin.
When you touch them with your fingers, you may feel slight bumps or dents in your skin before they finally become flat. Sometimes they may itch or even hurt.
As the lines become smoother, they will begin to change color to white or silver-gray and disappear. They usually fade and become less noticeable over time, and this can sometimes take years.
Where Do They Most Often Occur?
Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the abdomen, chest, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. In bodybuilders, they sometimes appear on the shoulders, and in teenage boys on the back, in the form of horizontal stripes, resembling ladders.
Women, people with fair skin, people with a family history of stretch marks, pregnant women, mothers who have given birth to large babies or twins, persons using corticosteroid drugs, overweight people as well as people who have suddenly gained or lost weight have a higher risk of their development and occurrence.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur due to a decrease in skin elasticity, mainly as a result of sudden stretching of the skin. The middle layer of the skin (dermis) cracks in certain places, ie. there is a damage to the connective tissue and so they appear as a kind of scar because the connective tissue cannot adapt so quickly to the sudden stretching of the skin.
Stretch marks can also be the result of an increase in cortisone in the body. Cortisone is a hormone that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands. However, too much of this hormone can cause the skin to lose its elasticity.
They also occur due to hormonal changes in our skin, which can be accompanied by an oscillation of our weight. Our skin stretches, and in addition, the hormonal structure of our body and our skin changes. And genetic predisposition can influence the loss of skin elasticity; in fact, if your mother, father, or grandparents had stretch marks, you will probably get them at some point.
Many women get them during pregnancy because the skin stretches as the baby’s space expands.
Stretch marks also appear when you lose or gain weight quickly. For example, teenagers can notice them after a sudden and quick growth.
Also, using corticosteroid creams, lotions or pills can cause these ugly marks, due to the reduced ability of the skin to stretch.
How to Remove Stretch Marks?
Let’s explain some natural ways to remove stretch marks.
It is easier to treat them when they are new, in the red or purple phase. They are often not noticeable and usually fade over time. If you do not want to wait and spend a lot of money, there are natural ways and treatments that can improve your appearance. However, you should know that no treatment can make them disappear completely.
Natural Ways to Reduce Stretch Marks
If you have these ugly lines, you probably feel uncomfortable in your body, especially on the beach or at the pool. Fortunately, there are several natural ways and easily available and cheap products that will help reduce their appearance.
Eggs are a rich source of protein. For stretch marks, use only egg whites, which contain amino acids and proteins. Beat the egg whites lightly with a fork. Clean the affected skin areas with water and then apply a thick layer of egg white with a makeup brush.
Allow the egg whites to dry completely, then rinse the area with cold water. Then apply olive oil on the skin to keep it hydrated. Repeat the process daily, for at least two weeks, and you will notice positive results.
- Castor oil, which is used to treat some skin problems such as wrinkles, age spots, moles, dark spots, and pimples, can also be used against stretch marks. Apply a thicker layer of castor oil on affected skin areas and massage gently for 5 to 10 minutes in a circular motion.
Then wrap the area that you massage with a cotton cloth and heat it for at least half an hour using a bottle of warm water. Repeat this process daily or several times a week and in at least a month you will notice positive results.
Another easy way to reduce the appearance of these persistent lines is to use lemon juice. Lemon juice is a natural acid that helps treat and reduce stretch marks, acne, and other scars. Rub fresh lemon juice lightly on affected areas using circular motions.
Allow the skin to absorb the lemon juice and wait at least 10 minutes before rinsing the skin with warm water. You can also mix equal amounts of lemon and cucumber juice and apply the mixture on the stretch marks.
- Potato juice contains vitamins and minerals that stimulate the growth and renewal of skin cells. Use it by first cutting medium-sized potatoes into thick slices. Take one piece of potato and gently massage the area with stretch marks with it for a few minutes, so that the potato starch covers the affected skin area. Let the potato juice dry and after a few minutes rinse with lukewarm water.
- Aloe vera, in addition to being effective in treating various skin related problems, can also be used to remove these ugly lines. There are several ways to use it. You can apply aloe vera and rub it directly on the skin and after 15 minutes wash with lukewarm water.
You can also make a mixture of one-quarter cup of aloe vera gel, 10 ampoules of vitamin E, and 5 ampoules of vitamin A (oil). Rub this mixture into the affected skin areas until it is completely absorbed. Repeat these processes daily.
One of the best natural remedies to get rid of stretch marks is white sugar when you use it to exfoliate the skin. Mix a tablespoon of sugar with a little almond oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Combine well and apply the mixture on the stretch marks and other parts of the skin.
Gently rub the skin with this preparation for a few minutes, every day before showering, and in a month you will see that these persistent lines become lighter.
- Alfalfa leaves contain eight essential amino acids that are good for overall skin health. It is also rich in proteins and vitamins E and K, which help in skincare.
Mix chopped alfalfa leaves with a few drops of chamomile oil until a smooth paste is made. Massage the affected skin area with paste two to three times a day. Repeat the treatment daily for a few weeks and you will notice a big improvement.
- Cocoa butter is also very useful in the treatment of stretch marks, it is an excellent natural moisturizer, helps in skin care, and reduces the appearance of these persistent lines.
The simplest way to use cocoa butter is to apply it directly to the affected skin area at least twice a day, for several months. Another way is to prepare a mixture composed of:
- cocoa butter – ½ cup
- grated beeswax – 2 teaspoons
- wheat germ oil – 1 tablespoon
- vitamin E – 1 teaspoon
- apricot kernel oil – 1 teaspoon
Heat this preparation until the wax melts, then transfer it to a jar, close and keep refrigerated. Apply it to the affected skin area 2 – 3 times per day. This will make your skin smooth and hydrated.
Olive oil is great for nutrition but also contains many nutrients and antioxidants that help improve various skin problems, including stretch marks.
Slightly heat the extra virgin olive oil and use it to massage the affected area of skin. Then leave it for half an hour, so that the skin absorbs vitamins A, D, and E present in the oil.
This will improve blood circulation and reduce stretch marks to a great extent. You can also mix olive oil with vinegar and water and use it as a night cream, which will hydrate the skin.
In addition to these products, consuming water and hydrating the body helps protect the skin from many problems, promotes detoxification, and helps the skin to be supple and restore its elasticity.
Try to drink one to two glasses of water several times during the day. Experts say that 8 to 10 glasses of water a day is the best way to keep the body hydrated.
Be patient! Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of stretch marks completely, but they will gradually fade over time. Massaging oils and other products and exfoliating the skin will not make them disappear. However, using them will make your skin softer and healthier.
Over the months and years, the lines will become similar to your skin color. Try and be patient.
Stretch Mark Removal Therapies
If you still think that your problem with these persistent lines on your body is serious and you are worried about the appearance of your skin, or if you have these ugly marks that cover large areas of your body, you can visit your doctor and inquire about treatments.
There are several options, however, there is not much medical evidence to show that these treatments are successful.
Laser stretch mark therapy may not completely remove them, but it can help make them less visible and disappear over time. Several different types of laser therapy are used for this purpose. They are mostly painless and are used at an early stage, while stretch marks are still red or purple.
The biggest drawback of laser therapies is that they are expensive, and it will probably take several treatments to get visible results. The exact number depends on the color and type of skin.
Cosmetic surgery to solve this problem is expensive and rarely recommended. If you have these persistent lines on your stomach and a large amount of sagging skin, your doctor may recommend an operation known as Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck.
This procedure removes excess fat and skin from your abdomen and the skin under the navel gets rid of stretch marks. However, this procedure carries numerous risks and can cause significant scars on the skin, so you will only replace these ugly lines with other scars.
Treatments that are also not ideal include microdermabrasion, expensive chemical scrubs, liposuction …
Manufacturers of expensive creams, gels, and lotions often claim that their cosmetic products are natural and can remove stretch marks. These products are basically moisturizers for the skin and are available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and cosmetics stores.
There are also anti-stretch mark gels that can help you gradually remove these marks. Their regular application causes the stretch marks to gradually fade and thus be less visible.
Prevention of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are very common and cannot always be prevented or completely cured. However, there are ways to reduce the risk of their appearance.
The best prevention is a healthy life and maintaining a normal body weight. Gaining or losing weight fast in a short period of time is one of the most common causes. A diet that is used for weight loss can also cause stretch marks.
Therefore, avoiding rapid weight gain and weight loss can help prevent the appearance of these lines.
If you need to lose weight, you should do it slowly, with a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals (especially vitamins E and C, as well as the minerals zinc and silicon, which will help keep your skin healthy) and regular exercise. You should not lose more than a pound (0.5 kg) per week.
Stretch marks that occur during pregnancy are usually caused by hormonal changes, which affect your skin. During pregnancy, it is normal for a woman to gain weight in a relatively short period of time.
However, your weight should be maintained at a normal level and you should eat a variety of healthy foods every day, in order to get all the nutrients necessary for you and your baby. That way, these persistent lines will be less frequent and less visible, and you will be able to get your body back in shape.