Typically, stretch marks appear as bands of parallel lines on your skin. These lines are a different color and texture than your normal skin, and they range from purple to bright pink to light gray. They occur when the dermal layer of the skin is suddenly stretched, as in the case of pregnancy. The dermis has strong, inter-connected fibers that let your skin stretch as your body grows. 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.
New Delhi-based consultant dermatologist and dermatosurgeon, Dr Pooja Chopra, says, "Striae or stretch marks are depressed lines or bands of thin reddened skin which later become white, smooth, and shiny. These occur on the stomach during pregnancy, and on the breasts after lactation. They are common in those who have suddenly gained weight or muscle mass (bodybuilders and weight lifters). They occur on thighs, buttocks, knees, and elbows in children during the growth spurt of puberty, and are also the result of certain medical conditions like Cushing's syndrome."
2. White stretch marks
Also known as striae alba, these are the most stubborn and appear white or silverish in colour. The tiny tears on the skin occur when the blood vessels reduce in size, thus making the fat under the skin visible. Since the white stretch marks are mature, it might take longer treat it.
Dr Chopra explains, "Even though our skin is elastic, overstretching leads to disruption of collagen (which makes up most of the connective tissue) resulting in stretch marks. They are initially pinkish/ red in colour. At this stage, the use of topical creams containing Tretinoin may be useful. Once the stretch marks turn white, the use of vitamin E creams can help to some extent. Stretch marks never completely disappear, but fade with effective natural remedies. However, consult your dermatologist at the earliest for effective treatment."
Home remedies to treat stretch marks
1. Argan oil
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.
2. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is known for its natural bleaching properties, so it helps reduce the visibility effectively. Use fresh lemon juice daily or simply rub a sliced lemon wedge on your marks to see results.
3. Egg white
High in proteins and amino acids, egg white is a superfood for the skin. When applied on stretch marks, the egg white will help lighten the marks while also tightening the skin.
4. Potato juice
Potatoes contain starch and other skin lighting enzymes which is why they are often used to lighten dark circles, spots and blemishes from the skin. It bleaches the skin and effectively reduces the visibility of stretch marks when applied regularly.
5. Olive oil
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.
Mix sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice and mix to form a scrub. Apply it to the stretch marks and rub it in for 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
7. Castor oil
Apply castor oil directly on the stretch marks and massage it in a circular motion for 15-20 minutes. After massaging, cover the area with a thin cotton cloth and apply some heat using a heating pad. For best results, do this as often as you can for a month.
8. Aloe vera gel
Remove the outer layer of the aloe vera leaf and take out the sticky gel from the inside of the leaf. Use this aloe vera gel on stretch marks and wash off with water after 2-3 hours.
Grind 2-3 apricots after removing their seeds to form a smooth paste. Apply the paste directly on the stretch marks. Leave it for 20 minutes. Then, rinse it with lukewarm water.
10. Black tea
Black tea contains lots of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, which helps to control skin pigmentation. To use black tea for stretch marks, boil a couple of tablespoons of black tea and add some salt to it. After cooling, apply the mixture to the marks and repeat the process until they disappear.
Drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily is very good for the skin. It helps to restore its elasticity, keeping it supple and soft. This helps to reduce the stretch marks.
2. Vitamin C
Foods like berries, raw cabbage, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, melons, peas, peppers, broccoli, pineapple, spinach, tomatoes and turnips provide the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. It is antioxidant that helps our bodies to fight the toxins or free radicals. With adequate Vitamin C intake, the skin scars heal faster.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that fights free radicals while deeply nourishing the skin. Foods like almonds, raw seeds like pumpkin and sesame, Swiss chards, hazelnuts, pine nuts, spinach, avocado, broccoli, parsley, papaya and olives are rich sources of Vitamin E. Daily consumption of these foods will help to get rid of stretch marks.
Gelatin contains collagen which is also present in your skin and is responsible for providing elasticity to your skin. Bone broth (chicken, lamb or beef) is an excellent natural source of gelatine in your diet.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids also help increase elasticity in the skin. Foods like flaxseed, chia seeds, salmon, sardines, cod liver, walnuts, soybean, beef, tofu, shrimps and cauliflower can go a long way in keeping the stretch marks at bay.
Most Popular in Skin
Like Using Ice On The Face? Here’s What You Might Be Doing Wrong
The Best Plant-Based Natural Butters For Your Skin
The Key To A Blemish-Free Skin
Everything To Know About Azelaic Acid, Underdog Of The Skincare World
5 Breakout-Busting Sheet Masks For Acne-Prone Skin
Understanding Single-Ingredient Skincare And How It Works
Do Pimple Patches Work? Here’s My Honest Review
Everything You Need to Know About Using Salicylic Acid For Clear Skin
All About Dark Circles And How To Remove Them Permanently
Dove India Aims To Change Matrimonial Ads With #StopTheBeautyTest Campaign
Everything You Need To Know About Dove's #StopTheBeautyTest Movement
Experience Dandruff-Free Locks With ishonestXDove Dear Winter Campaign