During pregnancy, your body undergoes extensive changes and – unfortunately – most of them are out of your control. The needs of the baby and the hormones take over your looks, your weight and the way you feel. One of the most common ‘side effects’ of pregnancy are stretch marks that make a lot of women really self-conscious. They might not realise that the problem of stretch marks affects almost 90% of women once they get pregnant and their skins start to stretch at a high speed in order to accommodate the growing baby.
While some women take pride in their stretch marks, treating them almost like war wounds, other start trying various treatments to get rid of them. If you don’t feel good about your stretch marks or if you don’t want to get them in the first place, there are many ways of preventing them during or after pregnancy.
Causes And Symptoms Of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks occur normally after the sixth month of pregnancy, when the size of the baby increases a lot in a short time. The skin has to stretch to make comfortable room for your body’s precious guest, and that often makes the elastic fibres just under the surface of the skin break. The places where it happens look like red or purple lines and with time they fade away gradually. Usually, untreated stretch marks either disappear on their own or change the colour to a lighter, grey or silver one.
Source: 99 Remedies
Not all the areas of your body are affected by this process. The abdominal area and the breasts are the most prone to stretch marks. However, if you gain quite a lot of weight rapidly, they can also appear on the buttocks and thighs. Whether and where you will get the stretch marks depends on such factors as the elasticity of your skin, the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy, hormonal changes and genetics. If your mother had stretch marks when she was pregnant, chances are that you will get them, too.
Home Remedies For Stretch Marks
The best way to get rid of stretch marks or to reduce their appearance is to act as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean starting to use special creams just before the sixth month of pregnancy. If you are planning on getting pregnant, prepare your skin for the sudden changes by doing light exercises and by moisturising the skin every day. This will stimulate the collagen in your skin and improve its elasticity, which will make you less prone to the problem of stretch marks. If you already have them and you’d like to remove them with some home remedies, you can use some of the very effective methods we describe below.
Olive oil moisturises and nourishes your skin rapidly, therefore, it’s become a common ingredient in various moisturising creams and lotions. Instead of applying a product that contains not only olive oil but also many chemical products that may be harmful to your skin, it’s better to go for an entirely natural solution, especially when you are pregnant.
Take some olive oil (the amount will depend on the area you want to apply it to) and heat it for 10 seconds in the microwave. Dip your palms in the warm, but not hot, olive oil and rub it on the belly, buttocks, thighs and breasts, or on the area that’s the most affected by stretch marks. Leave it on for 15 minutes and take a warm shower to rinse the olive oil off. For best results, you should repeat the process daily – when you are trying to get rid of stretch marks – or every second day – as a means of prevention during the period of the fastest growth of the baby.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is crucial for maintaining young-looking skin as it accelerates the rejuvenation processes and improves its elasticity. This vitamin is one of the most important ingredients in anti-ageing creams. You can use vitamin E oil to remove the stretch marks by diluting a few drops of the oil in jojoba oil and rubbing the mixture onto the affected areas. There is no need to rinse it off, just wait a few minutes until it dries up a bit and you can put your clothes on. Since it may slightly stain the fabric, it’s best to do this treatment before bedtime, just before you put your pyjamas or nightdress on. The skin regeneration process is at its peak during the night and vitamin E oil will accelerate it significantly.
Castor oil is another type of oil that can help you get great results when you are fighting with your stretch marks. It works best in higher temperatures, that’s why it is recommended to apply it on the areas of the skin where the stretch marks are visible, to wrap the skin with cling film or a plastic bag and to apply some heat on the treated area. You can either place a hot water bottle over it or use a hair dryer and direct the stream of warm air on the wrapped skin with castor oil. Alternatively, you can simply jump under a chunky blanket and keep your thighs, buttocks and belly at a slightly higher temperature. Whichever option you choose, apply the heat for 20 to 25 minutes, then remove the cling film, massage the skin with circular motions and rinse it with warm water.
There is a much wider range of oils that can be used in the treatment of stretch marks. If you want to introduce a bit of a variety to your skincare routine related to stretch marks, you can use avocado oil, coconut oil or almond oil, separately or mixed together in equal amounts. Also, you can add a few drops of some essential oils, like lavender oil, rose oil or germanium oil. Whatever type and combination of oils you choose, apply it on the skin regularly, preferably on a daily basis and massage the skin with circular motions after the application.
This magic plant has a wide range of properties and is used in multiple cosmetics. Obviously, it works best when you use its natural version and you simply squeeze the gel out of an aloe vera leaf. Depending on the area you want to treat with aloe vera gel, take an adequate amount of aloe vera leaves, cut them in half and squeeze the gel out. Apply it immediately to the affected zones on the skin by massaging it in gently. You can leave it on or rinse it off after half an hour. Repeat the process daily to moisturise the skin and boost the skin rejuvenation processes. For best results, drink a glass of aloe vera juice daily.
Due to the fact that egg whites contain a high level of proteins, which speed up the process of skin rejuvenation, they are a very effective home remedy for stretch marks. Take three to four white eggs and whip them with a fork or a mixer. The better they are whipped, the easier it will be to apply them on the skin. Ideally, they should turn into a stiff, white foam. Apply it on clean skin in the areas, where the stretch marks are visible and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it off with lukewarm water and finish off with a cold shower of the treated areas. Repeat the process two to three times a week. For best results, combine it with one of the oil treatments described above so that your skin gets a boost of rejuvenating ingredients every day.
Honey is the protagonist of home remedy recipes for all kinds of problems due to its versatile properties. Using it in the treatment targeted at removing stretch marks brings great results since honey is a very effective moisturiser. It also nourishes the skin and leaves it supple and smooth. You can apply raw honey on your skin, leave it for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water. Alternatively, you can make a scrub from three tablespoons of honey, two tablespoons of brown sugar and one tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil. Massage the skin gently with the scrub, in circular motions, and leave it on for 5 minutes before you rinse it off. You can do the scrub treatment two to three times a week.
Lemon juice speeds up the skin rejuvenation process and helps lighten up the stretch marks. This treatment gives best results while the stretch marks are still quite fresh. Squeeze the juice from one organic lemon and rub it onto the affected area. If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the juice with a tablespoon of water or apply it very precisely, only on the lines of the stretch marks. Rinse it off after 10 minutes and apply a moisturiser on the treated skin to prevent skin dryness, which sometimes might be a side effect of the lemon juice treatment.
The humble potato might be your biggest ally in the fight against the stretch marks. The starch contained in potatoes is full of enzymes that lighten up the dark lines on your skin. What’s more, potatoes are full of nutrients that will leave your skin well hydrated and supple and accelerate the skin rejuvenation process. If you have a juicer for fruits and vegetables, you can simply extract juice from two potatoes and rub it onto the affected area. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. If you don’t have the juicer, you can grate two potatoes, put them into a cotton cloth and squeeze the juice into a bowl, then proceed to the application. Another, very quick, but slightly less effective way is to cut a few thick slices of potato and rub the pieces one by one onto the skin for 15 minutes. It works, but the skin absorbs a smaller amount of potato juice and nutrients, therefore you’ll have to repeat the process more often than in the case of extracted juice.
When you exfoliate the skin, you stimulate it to regenerate faster. If you combine the exfoliation with a massage during the treatment, you can get great results within a short time. If you want to prepare a home made scrub, you can use the recipe with honey we suggested before or you can mix sugar with almond oil and a bit of lemon juice. Apply a small amount of the scrub on the area affected with stretch marks and massage it with circular motions for 5 to 10 minutes. Leave it on for 5 minutes more so that the ingredients have time to get absorbed by the skin.
Home Made Creams And Lotions
If you don’t have time to prepare a different home remedy for your stretch marks every day, you can still make use of natural ingredients in the skin treatment and prepare a larger amount of a cream or lotion straight away, then use it on a daily basis, for example before bedtime.
Home Made Moisturiser
You can make a very effective, natural moisturiser by mixing equal parts of germ oil, olive oil and aloe vera. Use it daily to boost the rejuvenation processes, lighten up the stretch marks and moisturise the skin.
Home Made Body Lotion
Break open 6 capsules of vitamin E and 4 capsules of vitamin A and mix the liquid with ½ cup extra virgin olive oil with ¼ cup aloe vera. Put the mixture into a bottle and keep it in the fridge. Before the application, shake the bottle to mix the ingredients well and apply a small amount of the lotion onto the areas of the skin with stretch marks. For best results, repeat the treatment daily.
Home Made Cream
Mix 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil with ½ cup of cocoa butter and 2 tablespoons of grated beeswax. Heat the mixture until the wax melts. Once it cools down, you have your home made stretch marks removal cream. Apply it daily on the affected area.
Other Solutions For Stretch Marks
The market offers a very wide range of stretch mark removal products and some of them can give great results if used regularly. It is very important to choose the right product, though, so that you don’t waste your time or money.