You've been through puberty, pregnancy, or weight change, and you're now stuck with one of the most annoying questions - how do I get rid of my stretch marks?
Before we proceed, let's get one thing out in the open. Stretch marks are harmless, and 80% of Americans have them, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed or self-conscious. But if you still feel uncomfortable, we'll let you know how you can reduce the appearance of stretch marks fast and for good.
A stretch mark is actually a scar that appears when the skin stretches or shrinks really fast. As the skin heals, it forms long, narrow stripes or lines. Depending on your skin tone and color, a stretch mark can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown.
Not everyone will develop stretch marks when the skin changes - it all depends on the collagen and elastin ruptures that happen during those changes and the healing process. Fluctuating hormone levels seem to play a role in this too. Just like other types of scars, stretch marks are permanent but tend to fade away with time and become less noticeable.
By knowing the causes, you can learn how to prevent stretch marks from appearing (or at least make sure they don't become too aggressive and visible!)
Puberty is a period of intense physical changes where your body changes shape rapidly, turning into its adult form. For this to happen, hormonal signals initiate the growth, function, and transformation of the brain, bones, muscles, blood, skin cells, hair, breasts, and sex organs.
In the first half of puberty, changes in height and weight accelerate rapidly, and problems like stretch marks and hormonal acne usually happen. With acne, there are many skincare options you can take to tackle it. But with stretch marks, the skin can't keep up with the fast internal transformation and becomes overstretched. The elastin and collagen fibers (the proteins that make the skin elastic) break and, during the healing process, create depressions in the damaged skin. This is where the fine lines appear.
Boys and girls are both affected. How the skin reacts and how much it's capable of handling those changes without breaking depends on genetic factors. If your mom and dad had stretch marks, you're more prone to developing them in puberty.
The most common places where stretch marks appear are on the breasts, hips, and belly. It's estimated that up to 70 percent of girls get stretch marks during their teens.
Although you can't control how fast your body changes during puberty, you can still take action to prevent stretch marks. Eat healthily and avoid greasy food and refined sugar. Drink a lot of water, and moisturize regularly to keep the skin hydrated. Be physically active - being sedentary during this period is the worst thing you can do for stretch mark prevention.
The number one reason for stretch marks is pregnancy. Most statistics show that nearly 90% of women develop stretch marks during pregnancy.
There is evidence that suggests that women whose mothers or older sisters developed stretch marks during pregnancy are more likely to face this problem themselves. This associates genetic factors with how much the skin is prone to stretch marks.
Stretch marks during and after pregnancy are normal, just as swollen ankles and mood swings. In the sixth and seventh months, the baby grows fast, and the tummy stretches, breaking the collagen bonds and revealing the underlying layers of skin. If a woman rapidly gains a lot of weight in the hips and thighs, then stretch marks may appear on these areas and the breasts.
Now you know how common this condition is and how little control you have over it, the burning question left to answer is - how do you get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy?
Most dermatologists agree that massaging the belly with oils, drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated, keeping the skin moisturized, and staying active can do wonders and make you feel better.
Okay, so puberty and pregnancy can both cause rapid weight gain and loss. But, most of the time, this happens naturally as we progress through life. Stress, trauma, and social changes (like leaving home and finding financial independence, relationships, marriage, and taking care of children) all take their toll on our weight management.
And yes, losing weight or returning to your typical weight after gaining weight can also lead to stretch marks. In this case, stretch marks are due to contraction and expansion of the skin when someone frequently gains or losses weight.
The scars appear not because you are becoming bigger or heavier but because it's occurring abruptly. This is why the best way to prevent stretch marks caused by weight changes is to gain control over our lifestyle habits.
And, please do yourself a favor - don't try extreme weight loss diets. You'll probably starve yourself, lose a lot of weight really quickly, go back to your normal life, and regain the weight in even less time. This is s recipe for stretch marks and additional health problems.
Stay hydrated, and don't let your skin dry out - moisturize regularly.
Cosmetic treatments include laser surgery, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. Treatment is usually more successful if you're dealing with early stretch marks since the healing process is not finished yet.
Seeking treatment for early stretch marks is really important. However, the outcomes of the interventions can vary greatly from person to person, and your success can be affected by your age and skin tone.
Another common reason for developing stretch marks is muscle growth. While lifting weights can help you strengthen the bones and muscles, it can also produce a similar effect on the skin as pregnancy and puberty.
Regular weightlifting can result in a lot of muscle gain quickly, which doesn't leave time for the skin to adjust. The most affected areas are the shoulders, arms, and chest. Some weightlifters use steroids to enhance their performance, which is another contributing factor to stretch marks. Steroids affect the skin negatively in several ways, but they can dry out the skin, and make it rough and scaly.
Dry skin is more prone to stretch marks since it's easier to break. So, if you still want to continue to lift weights, there are some things you could do to prevent stretch marks from appearing.
The first piece of advice is to avoid steroids - they are bad for your overall health, not just your skin. Don't go for maximum weights; aim for moderate resistance that you can lift for at least 10 to 12 reps. Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. Do cardio - it will help you maintain your weight.
The good news is stretch marks fade away over time and become less noticeable. But unfortunately, just like any other scar, stretch marks are permanent. Still, don't despair! Many treatments are available, as well as natural remedies that can minimize their appearance and make them almost invisible.
Remember that medical procedures, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription medicines do not guarantee that you will get rid of the stretch marks completely. Things like dermatologic surgery will be expensive and might not even be possible based on your medical history.
Here are some safe and cheap home remedies for different body parts. With patience and persistence, you'll find the best solution for your skin.
The skin's thickness and tenderness are not the same on every part of your body. This is why we've classified the best natural home remedies by targeting specific body parts. Some people use multiple treatments.
Stretch marks on the legs, thighs, and buttocks most often appear on girls during puberty, women who gain more weight during pregnancy, or women who frequently and rapidly change weight. Men can also develop stretch marks on their legs and thighs, although women are much more affected. This is because a woman's body is designed to store fat in the hip area.
So, what can you do about them?
Here are some remedies that will help you reduce stretch marks fast.
Green tea? Well, apparently scientists swear by it. They believe green tea could be the magical, long-awaited cure for stretch marks. But why? Well, a compound found in green tea has the power to penetrate the skin and work on a much deeper level. This is why many anti-scarring and wound-healing creams are now developing formulas to include green tea in their products.
But, before spending a lot of money on those creams, try a natural way. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties that will keep your overall health and skin in check.
One way to benefit from green tea is to drink it daily. One or two cups a day should be sufficient if you've never tried it before. To boost the effects, let the used tea bags cool down and then apply them to the affected areas. Rub gently for a couple of minutes, and then let the tea absorb completely. After an hour or two, rinse off with warm water.
Drinking coffee has some benefits but also many side effects when it comes to the skin. It's a strong ingredient with many powerful nutrients. So, if you want to avoid the side effects, forgo drinking it to apply it topically. Coffee can help you fight off stretch marks when combined with other potent ingredients.
Try the super-combo mix of coffee, cinnamon, coconut oil, and sugar. Mix 2 tbsp of cinnamon, half a cup of ground coffee, half a cup of sugar, and half a cup of virgin coconut oil. Stir well until you get a smooth paste. Apply on the affected areas and rub it in with a circular motion to encourage blood circulation. This will also get rid of dead skin cells and make your skin feel soft. Do this for 10 minutes and then wash off with warm water.
Raw potatoes are beneficial for the skin because they contain vegetable starch and vitamin C. The combination of starch and vitamin C is believed to help remove stains on the skin that may appear due to lifestyle habits, age, or sun exposure, such as stretch marks or scars. They are also good for preventing dry skin and dehydration, which can aid the formation of stretch marks.
The most efficient way to use potatoes is the simplest. Just slice one potato and gently rub it on the affected areas for ten to f
ifteen minutes. Be persistent and repeat the procedure at least a couple of times a week.
The amount your tummy grows in pregnancy is not something you can control - or should, for that matter. Our advice to improve stretch marks is to moisturize the skin right from the beginning of the pregnancy. Keep it hydrated and regularly nourish it with oils. This will make it more elastic, contributing to fewer stretch marks.
If you're already dealing with early stretch marks, here are some remedies to reduce their appearance.
The aloe vera plant has powerful healing properties. This is why it's regularly used in skin care products and recommended in wound healing treatments. While it's best to use aloe vera before stretch marks form, there is evidence that this little miracle ingredient may smoothen the skin.
You can use aloe vera by applying it directly to the skin's surface. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse the skin with lukewarm water.
You could also mix one-fourth of a cup of aloe vera gel, ten vitamin E oil capsules, and five vitamin A oil capsules. Rub this mixture onto the skin until it's fully absorbed. Repeat this process daily.
Castor oil is famous and widely used in skincare products against skin conditions like wrinkles, discoloration, age spots, moles, fine lines, and pimples - but most importantly, for acne scars and stretch marks. Although research is lacking, castor oil is filled with vitamins and fatty acids, which can help heal scarring.
Apply a thick layer on the affected area of the skin. Then, wrap yourself in plastic or a saran, and warm the area with a heating pad or a hot water bottle. You should let it stay for 20 minutes before washing it off. For the best results, repeat the procedure daily. Another useful method is to massage the skin with castor oil. Apply the oil on the skin with your finger or a cotton ball and massage in a circular motion until the oil is well absorbed. After ten minutes, wash off with warm water.
Whether they're caused by puberty or pregnancy, stretch marks on the breasts can shake a woman's confidence. Try these remedies to reduce or fade stretch marks and make them less visible.
Olive oil has been used as a cosmetic treatment for centuries. It's popular in many face and body lotions, shampoos, and hair masks. Olive oil contains four major antioxidants, among other nutrients, that work as a moisturizer and cleanser.
Some of these antioxidants are vitamin E and vitamin A, which are well known in the battle against acne scars and other lesions on the skin - stretch marks included. They work by preventing the negative effect free radicals have on collagen.
It's safe for daily use, and best of all, it doesn't cause irritation. This means you can apply it directly on your skin or dilute it with water. It's best to massage the skin for 10 minutes with the oil before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
Bear in mind that not every olive oil product on the market is the same, and some of them won't be as effective. Always look for organic, extra virgin olive oil.
Rosehip oil has a well-known reputation for reducing scars, minimizing wrinkles, and moisturizing the skin. It contains high levels of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids and vitamin C, all of which are believed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks.
The good thing about rosehip oil is that you don't have to dilute it. It's safe to use on the breasts, so you can apply it directly and massage gently for a couple of minutes. You can apply rosehip oil to your stretch marks daily.
Eggs are amazing ingredients, packed with many essential nutrients. For stretch marks, however, it's best if you only use egg whites over the yolk. Egg whites contain amino acids and proteins that can treat stretch marks and help the skin repair itself faster.
To use this mask, make sure your skin is clean. After that, whip the whites of two eggs with a fork. Apply a thick layer of the mixture with a makeup brush or applicator. Allow the egg whites to dry completely, then rinse the area with cold water. Always use oil, like castor or olive, at the end to moisturize the skin.
Alfalfa leaves hold eight essential amino acids, which are all beneficial for the skin. They're also heavy in protein and vitamins E and K, which help feed and protect the skin.
To make this remedy, mix some alfalfa powder with a few drops of chamomile oil to get a paste-like blend. Apply the mixture to the skin and massage gently for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. For the best results, repeat this procedure two-three times a day.
Old stretch marks are arguably the hardest and most annoying skin condition to treat. Because the healing process is already finished, most treatments and natural ingredients fall short. Yet, here are some very powerful skin packs that might be effective at fading the visibility of old stretch marks.
Argan Oil is filled with Vitamin E, which has been proved to aid in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. It’s also packed with other fatty acids that can help diminish even extremely old stretch marks. 100% pure argan oil is safe to use for all skin types, which means you can apply it directly to your skin, on a daily basis, until you see improvement.
One study in 2015 and another specifically for stretch marks formed during pregnancy have found that both consuming Argan oil and using it topically can make the skin more elastic. This implies that argan oil might be effective in preventing and reducing stretch marks.
For topical use, just take a cotton pad or, with your fingers, apply the oil to the affected areas. Massage gently for 10-15 minutes, and then leave it on for another hour to absorb well in the skin. Wash off with warm water.
All you need to do is to mix one tbsp of sugar, a few drops of almond oil, and a few drops of lemon juice until you get a paste-like consistency. After that, apply the paste on the skin and gently scrub the affected area for at least ten minutes. In the end, wash off with warm water.