When skin is forced to stretch faster than it can grow to accommodate a larger physique the result is—you guessed it—stretch marks. For some women, it’s a puberty-induced growth spurt that leave hips and breasts with ribbons of lighter flesh. For others, it’s due to hormonal changes.
Stretch marks, also known as striae, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. Over time they may diminish, but will not disappear completely. Stretch marks form during rapid growth of the body, such as during puberty or pregnancy. In pregnancy they usually form during the last trimester, and usually on the belly, but also commonly occur on the breasts, thighs, hips, lower back and buttocks. These are known as striae gravidarum.
Stretch marks are caused by tearing of the dermis. This is often from the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth or rapid weight changes. Stretch marks may also be influenced by hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, bodybuilding, or hormone replacement therapy.
DIY Beauty Cures for Stretch Marks
Sure, there are a lot of remedies on the market that you can buy to help prevent and heal stretch marks, but many of them are loaded with chemicals that I wouldn’t suggest applying them on growing girls or pregnant women (especially on a pregnant stomach). And, more often than not, even their results leave much to be desired. As a result, many women find themselves thinking of their stretch marks as nothing short of an inevitable byproduct of puberty and pregnancy. But they’re not. Here you’ll find topical remedies that will increase your skin’s elasticity (to help prevent further stretch marks) and promote your skin’s healing (to reduce the appearance of existing ones). And, with all-natural ingredients that you can the stretch mark, the faster it will fade. So start with these APPLY remedies as soon as possible for the best results.
Sweet Potato and Honey
Retinols may be one of the go-to prescription treatments for healing stretch marks topically, but they cannot be applied during pregnancy. And, if they’re not safe for pregnant women, you may not want to apply them to non-expectant skin either. Retinols, though, get their power from vitamin A—the same vitamin A found in sweet potatoes! In this recipe the sweet potato is combined with manuka honey, which has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help stimulate collagen production and the growth of new tissue. Bottom line: this sweet mask can help to effectively fade existing stretch marks—100 percent naturally!
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped fork, approximately 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Add the honey and blend until smooth and well combined. Let it cool to room temperature before applying a thick layer to stretch marks. Let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Repeat daily for best results.
Coconut Oil + Milk + Sugar Scrub
Not for sensitive skin
Fading stretch marks is as much about fading surface damage as it is about promoting elasticity and collagen production deeper within the skin. Lactic, citric, and lauric acids (in milk, lemon juice, and coconut oil, respectively) work together to gently chemically exfoliate. Add a manual exfoliator—sugar—to the mix, and this scrub will help to fade stretch marks by sloughing off dead skin cells, encouraging cell turnover, and fading discoloration.
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
- ¼ cup white sugar
Combine the milk, lemon juice, and coconut oil. Stir in the sugar and immediately massage into affected areas for 5 to 7 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with the Ginger + Turmeric Massage Oil
Ginger, Turmeric Massage Oil
By increasing collagen production, which boosts your skin’s elasticity, and reducing free-radical damage, which can interfere in your skin’s natural ability to heal, vitamin E is a double-whammy stretch mark healer. Wheat germ oil is loaded with it! The other two ingredients in this recipe, ginger and turmeric, are popular in South Asia for their wound-repairing and collagen-boosting properties. You can safely apply this massage oil throughout pregnancy.
- 3 cups wheat germ oil
- 1 cup chopped fresh ginger root
- 1 cup chopped fresh turmeric root
In a double boiler, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and heat and turmeric pieces. Massage into your skin twice a day.