Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks & Scars
Even though stretch marks are not a symptom of any alarming dis-ease, they can be frustrating to one's appearance.
Generally affecting women more than men, the marks can range from being thin, hardly perceptible white lines, to thick dark purple, scar-like manifestations in more severe cases.
What causes stretch marks?
Also known as “striae atrophica”, stretch marks happen when the tissue under the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching.
Even though the skin is usually fairly elastic, when it’s over-stretched, the normal production of collagen, the major protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin, is disrupted.
The epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (middle layer) and the subcutaneous stratum (innermost layer) make up the three layers of skin.
Stretch marks occur in the resilient middle layer (dermis) that helps the skin retain its shape. The skin becomes less elastic and the small connective fibres within it break when the dermis is constantly stretched over time.
This can be caused as a result of:
- Weight Gain or Weight Loss
- Adolescent Growth Spurts
- Excess Hormones in the Body e.g. Cortisone
Where do stretch marks normally appear?
In teenage girls, they tend to show up in commonly seen places like on the thighs and abdomen. In women, they can also show up on the breasts, especially after pregnancy and once breast feeding is complete.
In men, stretch marks can show up where a large amount of weight is lost in a fairly short space of time and for body builders once they stop training and the muscles reduce to a more normal size.
People whose skin has been stretched by obesity, tumour, or swelling or those who have taken steroids for a prolonged period can also get them anywhere on the body.
The stages of stretch marks
Stretch marks may at first show up as reddish or purplish lines that may appear indented and have a different texture from the surrounding skin.
Fortunately, stretch marks often turn lighter, whitish or flesh coloured, and almost disappear over time - some nice consolation if you plan to spend most of your summer in a bathing suit.
Foods to help avoid and heal stretch marks
By getting enough Vitamins A, E and B, and adequate intake of wholefoods rich in Zinc and Vitamin C stretch marks can be prevented and even healed.
Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin so make sure you eat plenty of the following:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Broccoli, Spinach and Kale
Natural sources of Vitamin E are:
- Cold-Pressed Oils: Avocado, Grape Seed and Virgin Olive Oil
- Wheat Germ
- Whole Grains
- Nuts: Hazelnuts and almonds
- Green Leafy Vegetables
Whole food sources of Zinc include:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Soy Beans
In terms of Vitamin C, citrus fruits are loaded with this nutrient, as well as:
- Green Peppers
Topical remedies to help get rid of stretch marks and scars
Though are also some things you can do topically to help heal stretch marks and scars.
Although it might take some time, here are a few natural remedies you can try to improve and minimise their appearance:
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Rub the juice on the affected area several times a day until the marks fade out;
- Essential Oils: Helichrysum, Rosehip and Frankincense can also be applied topically in order to reduce the appearance and encourage faster skin regeneration;
- Coconut Oil: In addition to the essential oils above, try mixing in some Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil or use it by itself. Coconut is a food that is made for the skin because it has wonderful nourishing and healing properties, including improving skin elasticity and increasing cell regeneration.