Stretch marks, also called striae, happen when your skin changes shape rapidly due to growth or weight gain. They aren’t a sign that anything is wrong with your health. Both men and women can get stretch marks. Pregnancy and puberty are the two most common times in life to get stretch marks.
At first, a stretch mark will appear as a thin red or purple line on your skin that takes on a different texture than the surrounding skin layer. Eventually, most stretch marks fade and take on a white or almost translucent coloring.
Getting rid of stretch marks in a completely natural way isn’t likely. They are a type of scarring and rarely fade enough to become invisible. However, there are some remedies that can help minimize appearance of stretch marks and help them to fade more quickly.
Vitamin A is referred to as a retinoid. Retinoids make skin appear more smooth and youthful. They are used in many over-the-counter topical cosmetic creams. Simply using a topical extract of vitamin A, or taking vitamin A orally, can contribute to your skin’s health and overall appearance. One study in particular identified retinoids as helping the appearance of stretch marks. A diet rich in certain foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, might also help you increase your vitamin A levels.
Some people swear by sugar as a homeopathic microdermabrasion method. Microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist is one of the few clinically proven methods to make stretch marks fade. So this home remedy seems worth a try. Rubbing a sugar scrub on the skin will exfoliate the area.
Mix one cup sugar with 1/4 cup of a softening agent, like almond oil or coconut oil, before mixing to the consistency of wet beach sand. Add some lemon juice. Scrub the mixture on the part of your body where the stretch marks are. Repeat several times a week while in the shower, making sure to rub the mixture on for 8-10 minutes.
While little clinical evidence exists for aloe vera as a stretch mark cure, it makes sense. Pure aloe vera is both a natural healing agent and a skin softener. This makes it an ideal home remedy to try for stretch marks. Apply pure aloe vera from a plant to your stretch marks daily after your shower.
Collagen is the protein in your skin that allows it to keep its shape and appear healthy. As we age, collagen decreases in our face and our bodies. Collagen production can be stimulated with hyaluronic acid, an extract available in health food stores and online. Hyaluronic acid can be absorbed by consuming a commercially available capsule or extract.
Since stretch marks are scarring from skin damage, coconut oil might help heal the appearance quickly. Coconut oil has been studied for its healing properties and found to reduce the time it takes for skin wounds to heal. Applying virgin coconut oil to your stretch marks each day might take away some of their red appearance.
Laser therapy, needling, and microdermabrasion are three clinical treatments for stretch marks. Microdermabrasion involves exfoliating the skin in a way that at-home remedies cannot. In clinical studies, microdermabrasion improved the appearance of stretch marks. Needling, which is a relatively new treatment in which collagen is injected underneath the top layer of your skin, is also effective.
Most of these treatments are not typically covered by insurance, and they can be costly. Only a dermatologist can tell you whether you are a candidate for these procedures.
There are common misconceptions about stretch marks and who gets them. The truth is that genetics are the strongest predictor of stretch marks. According to the Mayo Clinic, women are more likely to get them, and 90 percent of pregnant women get them. Other risk factors include being on corticosteroid medication, losing or gaining weight rapidly, and having breast enlargement surgery.
The best treatment for stretch marks appears to be prevention. By keeping your skin hydrated, you can help keep the elastin that your skin needs to keep from scarring. Using topical creams such as coconut oil will keep your skin moisturized and make stretch marks less likely. Even without treatment, almost all stretch marks will fade over time. Rarely will stretch marks stay as prominent as when they initially appear.