If you have stretch marks on the abdomen, hips, butts, thighs, or breasts, it is surely going to take the sheen out of your physical charm and beauty. However, you need not be vexed and worried over the matter.
Fortunately, there are several regular treatments, prescription medicines, home remedies, and natural remedies that can effectively diminish the stretch marks over a period of time.
In this article, we are going to discuss how to get rid of stretch marks fast with simple remedies and a regular skincare regimen.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are lines or long patches formed on the surface of the skin. These lines usually appear in white, red, purple, or a lighter hue different from the original skin complexion of the person.
Stretch marks, also known as striae, are a form of scarring on the skin. Their length, breadth, and pattern can vary according to the body size and skin texture of the person.
Their appearance and visibility will gradually diminish over time but rarely do they disappear totally.
Striae mostly appear on the abdominal wall, buttocks, thighs, breasts, hips, upper arms, and flank.
How Are Stretch Marks Formed?
The elastin fibers in the dermis layer of the skin make the skin firm and elastic. It is the elastin fiber that produces the nutrient called collagen that gives a particular hue to the skin.
When the skin gets overstretched the dermis layer (lies between the epidermis and hypodermis) gets torn and this can cause disruption in the production of collagen.
If the skin is stretched beyond its elasticity limits, the skin is unable to get back to its original position due to a lack of collagen. This results in the formation of scars (stretch marks) on the skin.
Common Reasons For Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are caused by any changes in the body that cause a fast and prolonged expansion in any particular area of the body.
Pregnancy tops the list of reasons for stretch marks. Ninety percent of pregnant women will get stretch marks around their abdomen, hips, and thighs.
Common reasons for stretch marks are:
- Rapid growth such as puberty
- Hormonal changes
- Rapid weight loss
- Unhealthy diet
- Muscle growth
- Prolonged intake of corticosteroids
- Use of steroid-containing skin creams or ointment
Different Types Of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks usually have light shades of white, red, or pink colors. They appear as zig-zag lines, patches, crinkled or irregular lines of different lengths and breadth.
Here are a few different types of stretch marks:
- Distension Stretch Marks or Albicant Lines: Distension scar marks are those that usually happen to obese people and pregnant women who rapidly lose weight. Albicant lines can also be caused by pathological conditions like ascites and renal syndrome. These kinds of stretch marks usually appear on the breasts, chest, and abdomen.
- Dark, Red, Purple, or Purpuric Stretch Marks: These marks occur due to regular consumption of pharmaceutical
- Puberty Stretch Marks: It is the type of stretch mark that causes a sudden spurt in body growth caused by hormonal changes during puberty. These marks usually appear on the hips, breasts, back, lower and upper extremities. These are mostly purple or red in color.
- Rapid Muscle Growth: Stretch marks can develop in persons who rapidly gain muscle mass through bodybuilding programs. These marks appear on the triceps, biceps, and shoulder muscles of the bodybuilder. Intake of steroids for muscle growth can also result in these kinds of scar marks.
Prescription Medicines And Regular Treatments
Most people do not have patience and trust in relying on natural remedies for stretch marks reduction.
There is a wide spectrum of regular treatments and prescription medicines available for scar removal. Most of them help slightly reduce or conceal the appearance but none of them can completely remove them except surgical procedures and laser therapies.
Stretch marks disappear on their own in course of time except in some people who get stubborn stretch marks that last for life.
Here are some of the best prescription treatments for stretch marks removal:
According to a study from the University of Michigan, subjects who used a retinoic acid cream (Retin-A) on new stretch marks experienced a noticeable reduction in stretch marks.
Retin-A is aids in boosting collagen production which gives elasticity to skin without tears and scarring.
There are several anti-scar products like Retin-A, Tazorac, Renova, Differin, and others that contain retinoic acid. This product is not to be used by a pregnant or breastfeeding woman.
According to a recent research finding, Tretinoin can produce a significant effect on stretch marks reduction. The active ingredients in it are Retin-A and Renova. It is strictly not recommended for a pregnant or breastfeeding woman.
3. Glycolic Acid
This acid is beneficial for improving collagen production which helps prevent and reduce the marks on the skin caused by stretching. It belongs to the family of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) which is commonly used in chemical skin peels.
Glycolic acid is safe to use during pregnancy but does not expose to direct sunshine after applying this acid.
Excessive dryness of the skin reduces the elasticity of the skin and increases wrinkles and stretch marks on the skin. Applying moisturizing lotions or creams improves elasticity and enhances the healthy texture of the skin.
Using herbal moisturizing cream on the skin is recommended for natural hydration of the skin.
Moistening creams are effective for preventing or removing new stretch marks. They may not work for getting rid of the old scars and marks on the skin.
You can prepare a natural moisturizing lotion by mixing equal parts of olive oil, wheat germ oil, and aloe vera.
Chemical peels are popularly used mainstream treatment stretch marks. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are said to have significant results in the reduction of scars caused by skin stretching. About 20% TCA is the recommended dosage for chemical skin peels under the supervision of a well-qualified dermatologist.
TCA skin peel is superior to AHA or BHA peels because of its better ability in stimulating collagen and elastin for managing the stretch scars on the skin.
6. Laser Therapy
Some of the study reviews suggest that using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) treatments emitting 585 nanometers (nm) of light effectively manage stretch marks. A minimum of 5 sessions of laser therapy is required for a noticeable improvement in stretch mark reduction. Using a pulsed dye laser set at 585-nm is best for reducing the new stretch marks and a fractional laser treatment is suitable for old stretch marks.
A sure way to get rid of stretch marks is the surgical method. A tummy tuck procedure removes excess skin and fat around the stomach while tightening the abdominal wall.
By removing the sagging or loose skin in the abdominal area would also make the stretch marks go along with it.
Abdominoplasty is expensive; the cost of it may run between $4000 and $20,000 in the US. Life-threatening risks and complications can arise from a tummy tuck.
8. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is a popular treatment for stretch marks reduction. However, one of the recent studies says that it is not effective for all; it was shown to have moderate effectiveness only in women who have been pregnant already before.
9. Vitamin C Supplement
Some dermatologists suggest that a daily intake of 500 mg of Vitamin C supplement may help in reducing stretch marks. As another method, you can use a topical glycolic acid along with Vitamin C.
Natural Remedies For Stretch Marks
If you have the patience and time, natural remedies are the safest bet for getting rid of stretch marks. Here are some of the best natural and herbal remedies that have proven effective in reducing stretch marks on the skin.
1. Aloe Vera
According to a study review published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, “Aloe stimulates fibroblast which produces the collagen and elastin fibers making the skin more elastic and less wrinkled.”
The vital enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids found in aloe vera will help in the faster healing of stretch marks. Its plant collagen content will improve the skin’s elasticity.
Regular application of Aloe vera gel on the scarred area helps to manage stretch marks.
You can directly apply the pure aloe vera gel to the affected area.
Another effective method is to mix aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil (from capsule), and cocoa butter in a small bowl into a paste. Apply this mixture daily once till the stretch marks have faded away.
2. Castor Oil
Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil is known for the many good benefits it has for skin and hair. It contains skin-repairing antioxidants and Vitamin E.
It is also popularly used in ingredients in some of the natural remedies for wrinkles, moles, age spots, dark spots, pimples, blackheads, fine lines, and stretch marks.
Regularly applying pure castor oil on the skin areas with stretch scars will reduce their appearance. Heat the oil first at a moderate temperature and then massage it in a circular motion for 5 to 10 minutes on the affected area.
Alternatively, you can also use a mixture of aloe vera gel and castor oil for managing stretch or scar marks.
Repeat the treatment daily once for a minimum of 45 days or more for the best results.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is commonly used as a natural remedy for treating several skin problems. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and blackheads .
Citric acid and malic acid contained in lemon are effective for lessening the stretch marks.
Slice a lemon into two halves and gently run the cut open side of the lemon on the stretch marks in a circular motion for a few minutes. Let the lemon juice gradually sink into the epidermis of the skin. After 15 minutes you can rinse the lemon juice treated area with lukewarm water. Repeat the treatment twice a day for 1 or 2 months to get rid of the stretch scars.
Using a mixture of cucumber and lemon juices is found to be still more effective for treating scars.
The alfalfa plant has an extensive root system that enables the plant to absorb a large variety of nutrients from the soil.
Leaves of the Alfalfa plant contain essential Vitamins like the B complex, A, D, E, and K. Alfalfa is also rich in niacin, biotin, iron, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium.
It is beneficial for scars and stretch marks reduction because the amino acids present in it improve the elasticity and texture of the skin.
Protein and Vitamins E and K in Alfalfa leaf nourish the skin.
Take a teaspoon of alfalfa leaves powder and add to it a few drops of chamomile oil to form a smooth paste.
Gently massage the alfalfa paste on the stretch marks or scars affected areas of the skin. Repeat the treatment daily once a month to see the significant results in reducing the scars or marks on the skin.
5. Egg Whites
Egg whites contain excellent quality proteins and amino acids that help to improve the elasticity and overall health of the skin.
“If you are looking for an all-natural solution for treating acne, fine lines and wrinkles, and dull, dry skin, then you might want to consider using an egg white mask”, says a report published in The Dermatology Review.
Get two home-grown hen’s eggs and whip the whites with the help of forks.
After cleansing the affected scared skin and apply the egg whites with a makeup brush.
After 20 minutes, rinse away the egg white from the skin and apply olive oil to keep the skin moisturized. Repeat this treatment daily for a minimum of 30 to 60 days to get rid of the stretch marks.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent natural moisturizer for skin that also supplies nutrients and antioxidants for improving stretch marks and scars on the skin.
Use extra virgin olive oil to daily massage the scarred skin; this helps moisturize and reduces the scar marks over a period.
The fatty acids and Vitamins A, D, and E present in the oil greatly nourish and improve the overall health and elasticity of the skin.
7. Essential Oils
Using a blend of essential oils for massaging the skin is beneficial in managing scars and stretch marks on the skin.
A few of the recent studies also have reported the effects of EOs in stretch marks reduction especially those that appear after pregnancy or fast weight loss.
It is always good to use a blend of two or more essential oil diluted in carrier oils like coconut or olive oil.
The most effective EOs for skincare are Lavender, Rose, Geranium, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Helichrysum.
Rosehip oil is a lightweight, non-greasy oil full of essential fatty acids that improve skin strength and elasticity.
For best results, repeat the essential oils’ treatments daily for a month to see a noticeable improvement in stretch marks reduction.
Tips For Stretch Marks Removal
Stretch marks are not completely removable in a short period except through skin correction surgeries or laser therapies.
With good care and proper nourishment of the skin, it is easy to reduce the visibility of stretch marks over a long period. It might take a year or two to make them visibly disappear.
Here are a few skincare tips and preventive methods to manage stretch marks:
- Eat a nutritious diet that contains skin vitamins and nutrients;
- Use sunscreen cream with SPF 60; tanning with higher SPF protection can reduce the visibility of stretch marks.
- Doing muscle-building exercises can tighten the skin to conceal the stretch lines.
- Use bio-oils for stretch and scar marks reduction.
- Go for laser therapies for the faster reduction of stretch marks.
- Moisturize the skin regularly with Vaseline or other such creams.
- Stretch marks keep reappearing with changes in body shape and size; it is not worth doing complicated procedures like a tummy tuck for getting rid of stretch marks.
- Conceal the stretch marks by wearing suitable clothes or light cosmetics.
- Reduce or maintain body weight to prevent or remove stretch marks.
- Keep your body well hydrated by drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water daily.
- Do regular skin massages with olive, castor, or coconut oils.
- Use cosmetic camouflage (make-up) is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.
Some people become excessively worried about the appearance of stretch marks and scars. They try to use every possible treatment to get rid of scars caused by stretching of the skin.
While you try out different treatments for scar or stretch marks, here are a few reminders and warnings worth noting:
- Avoid treatments for stretch marks during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period.
- Be sure of the ingredients used in natural remedies that you use; some of them may cause adverse effects on skin and health.
- Always consult a dermatologist before you use any of the prescription medicines or over-the-counter products for skincare.
- Keep your expectations realistic; stretch marks are permanent in nature.
- Some treatments may cause allergic reactions or burns on the skin; immediately consult a dermatologist if any such things happen.
- Allow the stretch marks to naturally fade away over a long period instead of rushing with harsh treatments.
The Bottom Line
Stretch marks do occur in most women, especially after childbirth. Obesity and fast weight loss are also major reasons for stretch marks.
Nobody likes to have stretch lines on the abdomen, hips, butts, thighs, or breasts; all prefer to get rid of stretch scars in some way or other.
However, don’t be overly worried about little scars and marks on the skin. Do not fall for ad hypes or false promises of stretch mark creams!
Some of the natural remedies like castor oil, lemon juice, olive oil, or alfalfa can help you get rid of stretch marks gradually and naturally.
Prescription medicines like Retin-A, tretinoin, or Glycolic acid are proven remedies for stretch marks reduction though they may cause minor adverse health issues for some.
There are also proven medical procedures like laser treatments or TCA peels that work great for getting rid of stretch marks.