During pregnancy, your body undergoes extensive changes and \u2013 unfortunately \u2013 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.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile 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.\r\nCauses And Symptoms Of Stretch Marks\r\nStretch 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.\r\n\r\nSource:\u00a099 Remedies\r\n\r\nNot 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.\r\nHome Remedies For Stretch Marks\r\nThe 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.\r\nOlive Oil\r\n\r\nOlive 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.\r\n\r\nTake 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 \u2013 when you are trying to get rid of stretch marks \u2013 or every second day \u2013 as a means of prevention during the period of the fastest growth of the baby.\r\nVitamin E Oil\r\n\r\nVitamin 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.\r\nCastor Oil\r\n\r\nCastor 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.\r\nOther Oils\r\nThere 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.\r\nAloe Vera\r\n\r\nThis 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.\r\nEgg Whites\r\n\r\nDue 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.\r\nHoney\r\n\r\nHoney 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.\r\nLemon Juice\r\n\r\nLemon 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.\r\nPotato Juice\r\n\r\nThe 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.\r\nSugar Scrub\r\n\r\nWhen 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.\r\nHome Made Creams And Lotions\r\nIf 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.\r\nHome Made Moisturiser\r\nYou 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.\r\nHome Made Body Lotion\r\nBreak open 6 capsules of vitamin E and 4 capsules of vitamin A and mix the liquid with \u00bd cup extra virgin olive oil with \u00bc 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.\r\nHome Made Cream\r\nMix 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil with \u00bd 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.\r\nOther Solutions For Stretch Marks\r\nDrugstore Products\r\nThe 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.\r\n\r\nIn order to choose the best cream or lotion that will help you remove the stretch marks fast, you need to know what kind of ingredients you should look for. The two most effective ingredients are hyaluronic acid, retinoids and collagen. Hyaluronic acid and collagen are produced by your body, but with age, their levels drop significantly. As a result, the skin becomes less elastic and saggy. That's why those two ingredients are such popular ingredients of many anti-ageing creams.\r\n\r\nWhen you incorporate hyaluronic acid and collagen into your stretch mark removal treatment, you help the skin regain its elasticity and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Retinoids are also a common ingredient in many skin rejuvenation products, but remember that you can't use any creams, lotions or medicines that contain retinoid just before you get pregnant and during the whole pregnancy and the breastfeeding period. Retinoids might have a very beneficial influence on the skin but can damage the foetus. Most of the really effective retinoid-based products for stretch marks are the ones you can obtain only by prescription as they contain a higher level of this ingredient, so speak to your dermatologist if you feel that you need this kind of treatment.\r\nMassage\r\n\r\nProfessionally performed massage stimulates the blood circulation and the essential oils used during the treatment boost the skin rejuvenation processes. Remember that not every type of massage will help you reduce the appearance of the stretch marks and that it has to be one directed at skin regeneration. Some massage salons already offer special postpartum treatments aimed at reducing the stretch marks and bringing back the skin elasticity.\r\nLaser Treatment\r\n\r\nLaser stretch marks removal is quite expensive, but it gives guaranteed results. Depending on the condition of the skin, you might need from five to ten sessions to remove the stretch marks completely. The laser heats the skin and stimulates the production of collagen. At the same time, it shrinks the dilated blood vessels and reduces the appearance of the stretch marks. Make sure you choose the right clinic for your laser treatment as it should be done by a qualified professional with the use of good quality equipment, in order to bring the expected results without damaging your skin.\r\nDermabrasion\r\n\r\nDeep mechanical peeling, called dermabrasion, may also give good results in the stretch marks removal treatment. During the session of dermabrasion, specialist passes a slim head along the affected skin. The skin is gently sucked into the head and stimulated with the flow of microcrystals. This way, the outer layer of epidermis gets removed and the skin gets a signal that the regeneration process has to be accelerated. The key is to repeat the process within two to three weeks, before the entire epidermis gets rebuilt. When you repeat the dermabrasion session before that time, you remove a deeper layer of the epidermis. Normally, you need five to eight sessions of dermabrasion if you want to get a visible reduction of the appearance of the stretch marks.\r\nSurgery\r\nIn some very severe cases, people get surgeries to remove their stretch marks. However, this is a highly invasive method and may result in various complications. During the surgery, the affected area of the skin get removed and new skin needs to grow in its place. It takes a lot of time, the surgery is expensive and there is a risk of scarring, which means you might replace one problem with another.\r\nHow To Prevent Stretch Marks\r\nIf you want to avoid getting stretch marks, whether you are expecting them due to pregnancy, weight imbalance or \u2013 which often happens \u2013 bodybuilding, in which case the rapidly growing muscles can cause stretch marks on the skin, you should know that there are many simple steps you can take to protect your skin from the problem of stretch marks.\r\nDiet\r\n\r\nMake sure you maintain the appropriate level of intake of the vitamins C and E and of proteins. All of them are necessary for maintaining elastic, young-looking skin since they stimulate the production of collagen and help repair the skin cells.\r\nDrink a lot of green tea, as it has anti-oxidant properties that help the skin keep its elasticity. Remember also to drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day. Water keeps you hydrated and helps flush out the harmful toxins not only from your skin but from the whole body.\r\nExercises\r\nDo regular exercises in order to boost the blood circulation. This way you will allow the nutrients carried in the blood reach the skin faster. Additionally, exercises stimulate the production of collagen. Some light cardio exercises are the best in this case, so you can go jogging for 15 minutes a day or get a cross trainer and do exercises for 15 to 20 minutes a day. It will have a great influence not only on the elasticity of your skin but also on your weight and the levels of energy.\r\nSkin Care Routine\r\nExfoliate and moisturise on a daily basis. Make regular exfoliation and daily moisturisation a habit and you won't have to worry about stretch marks at all. And if you get them because your body is genetically susceptible to stretch marks, it will be much easier for you to get rid of them fast. You can either use some of the home remedies and homemade creams and lotions or you can choose a drugstore product. In both cases, however, the key to success is discipline.