Stretch marks occur when the skin is subjected to rapid increase in size and a scar forms where the skin over stretches. This can occur during pregnancy, rapid weight gain and even rapid weight loss.
Striae or stretch marks begin as a red or purple slash mark then may fade to a glossy mark of white or silvery color. The stretch marks occur in the dermis layer of the skin, which is normally elastic; but the demands of the rapid expansion or contraction taxes the elastin in the dermis creating a tear in the surface and a resulting scar or stretch mark.
The abdominal area, back, arms, hip, breast, lower back and legs are the most common areas for stretch marks to occur. Medical treatment for stretch marks may include Dermabrasion, chemical peels or laser surgery in severe cases.
Over the counter treatments are available as well, including a variety of topical applications to restore elastin and reduce the visibility of the stretch marks. Some prefer to find a natural treatment for stretch marks or seek home treatments to reduce the visibility of stretch marks.
Natural Treatments of Stretch Marks
At the root of natural treatment philosophy is a focus on a healthy lifestyle, and the natural treatment of stretch marks would be no exception to that rule. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits will prevent nutritional deficiencies that will contribute to the development of stretch marks. Drinking plenty of water will improve the elastin of the skin and will reduce the potential of stretch marks.
Caffeine can increase the development of stretch marks. If you are unable to reduce caffeine intake, match it with water intake to dilute the potential effects.
Nutritional deficiencies can increase the appearance and potential of stretch marks so be certain to maintain levels of zinc, protein, vitamin A and C. Zinc can be found in red meats, shellfish and oysters. Carrots, citrus and milk are essential components in a diet to prevent stretch marks.
Exercise improves muscle and skin tone and reduces stretch marks. It is important especially during pregnancy to keep exercising to maintain muscle tone and to keep skin elastic and pliable. This will reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Massaging in essential oils into the skin will improve the elasticity and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Olive oil or vitamin E oil can be good options for massaging in. Lavender oil and aloe vera are also recommended to massage in to stretch marks in order to reduce the appearance of the stretch marks.
Prevention is a common home remedy approach for stretch marks, the use of cocoa butter, shea butter or a combination of butters and oils massaged in to vulnerable areas in early stages of pregnancy and all through the pregnancy to prevent the tearing of the skin and the appearance of stretch marks.
Self tanning creams can often reduce the visibility of stretch marks. If the self tanning cream also contains emollients it can improve the quality of skin while reducing the initial appearance.
The ingredients in anti-aging creams and serums are designed to improve skin quality and increase elastin in the skin, many of those products can be used to improve the skin in areas prone to stretch marks to prevent them from occurring.
Adding finely ground coffee to emollient rich body lotion can be used to refresh the skin, reduce the appearance of stretch marks and improve skin quality.
Other home remedies include using peanut butter or Preparation H® to reduce existing stretch marks.