Striae, commonly known as Stretch marks, are irregular patches of skin that appear as stripes, bands or lines. Stretch marks can appear when there is rapid stretching of the skin, such as during pregnancy, weight gain or rapid weight loss. It can also occur during the rapid growth of children during puberty.
Both men and women can have stretch marks. They normally appear on the breasts, abdomen, upper arms, thighs and buttocks. The marks form in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin that allows it to keep its shape. When constantly stretched, the skin loses its elasticity as collagen is weakened and its normal reproduction is interrupted.
This results in fine scars that initially appear reddish or purplish streaks of glossy skin. Over time these turn grey or white, and a stretch mark is born.
Stretch marks can make you self-conscious about your appearance. They can be treated surgically or with a topical cream that could diminish the marks. Nevertheless, there are natural remedies you can use that provide an inexpensive way to conceal, if not at all totally eliminate your stretch marks.
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera contains plant collagen which effectively repairs human skin. Instead of store bought aloe gel, use the gel squeezed from aloe vera leaves as much as possible
Get an aloe vera leaf and cut it along the length of the leaf. Squeeze out the gel and apply the gel on the affected area. Leave it for 20 minutes then rinse it off.
Alternatively, you can mix ¼ cup of aloe vera gel with the oil from 10 vitamin E capsules and 5 vitamin A capsules. Rub the mixture on the affected area until it’s absorbed thoroughly. Do this daily to see better results.
2. Potato juice
Potatoes are rich in essential fatty acids, phytochemicals like polyphenols and carotenoids, as well as in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, B complex vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and zinc. All of these nutrients support the potatoes’ capability to stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, thus effectively restoring skin and diminishing stretch marks.
Get a medium-sized potato and cut it into thick-sized slices. Rub the potato slices over your stretch mark, making sure the entire affected area is covered with potato juice. Leave this for 5-10 minutes before washing with lukewarm water.
3. Lemon juice
Lemons are known to have a bleaching effect on the skin. They also contain alpha-hydroxy acid and vitamin C, which are effective in lifting off dead skin cells and diminishing your stretchmark’s.
Get one lemon and slice it in half. Rub the juicy part of the lemon on the affected area. Let your skin soak the juice for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
For a more potent mixture, you can mix equal parts of lemon juice with other juices, like tomato juice, cucumber juice and potato juice.
Exfoliating lifts off dead skin cells and reveals new skin. The granules found in Fine white sugar makes an excellent scrub.
Mix one tablespoon of sugar with some almond oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Mix well and gently massage this on the affected area. Do this for a month just before you take a shower. Soon you’ll see your marks fading away.
5. Egg whites
Egg whites contain all nine essential amino acids the body needs to build bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and blood. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that egg whites are an excellent treatment for stretch marks.
Separate the white from the yolk. Beat the white until frothy. Apply the egg white on the affected area and leave off for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly with warm water and moisturize after.
6. Olive oil
Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, all of which are known to be beneficial for the skin by promoting healing and providing protection from the damaging effects of the sun.
Massage slightly warm olive oil over your marks. Massaging helps increase circulation. Leave this for 15-20 minutes to allow your skin to absorb all the beneficial nutrients into your skin.
Alfalfa leaves contain 8 essential amino acids, thus providing the building blocks needed by the skin to regenerate and maintain its structure. It also contains vitamin E and vitamin K, which help in restoring and improving body tone.
Mix alfalfa powder with some chamomile oil. Mix well until it forms a paste. Apply the paste over the affected area 2-3 times a day. Do this for a week and you’ll begin to see improvements.
8. Cocoa-shea butter cream
This natural remedy makes use of ingredients that have long been known for their benefits on the skin: shea butter, cocoa butter and vitamin E oil. The combined soothing effects and antioxidant content of cocoa butter and shea butter provides a moisturizing ability that penetrates deep and quickly into the skin, thus repairing it and diminishing stretch marks. Vitamin E provides additional antioxidant protection, which promotes healing of damaged cells.
Melt 2 teaspoons cocoa butter and 2 teaspoons shea butter, then add 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil. Mix well and store in a container. The butters will solidify once it’s cool, but will melt as soon as it gets in contact with your skin. Use this over your stretch marks at least twice a day.