How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks ? 11 Proven Home Remedies To Remove Stretch Marks

What Are Stretch Marks?

Narrow lines or streaks seen on breasts, abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks etc. occurring due to tearing of the middle layer of the skin i.e. dermis are called stretch marks. Quick changes in weight, rapid growth, hormonal changes seen during puberty, hormone replacement therapy and pregnancy are some of the reasons for appearance of stretch marks. There is a marked increase in the cortisone levels in the body. This extra cortisone in turn hamper the capacity of dermal fibroblasts to form elastin and collagen fiber. As a result, the skin gets stretched, leading to tearing in the dermal and epidermal layer and resulting in formation of stretch marks. To begin with stretch marks are purple or red in color and then eventually there is loss of pigment in those streaks. At times stretch marks may cause itching or burning but they can cause emotional issues especially in young girls. (1)

Are Stretch Marks Normal?

Stretch marks are normal and they don’t expose you to any health problem or risk. They do not hamper the normal functioning of the body. The body continues its normal repairing and other activities. However, it may cause emotional distress and it has been seen that younger women often look for dermatological interventions to get rid of stretch marks.(2)

When Stretch Marks Are Most Likely To Occur?

Stretch marks are most likely to occur in the following cases (3):

1. Puberty:

During puberty, rapid physical changes occur initiated by hormones in the hypothalamus region of our brain. Due to this the skin is stretched suddenly and rapidly and as a result the connective tissue in the dermis loses its elasticity.

2. Pregnancy:

Pregnancy also is a period of rapid growth, weight gain and stretching of skin of a woman. Skin scarring is especially seen in the abdominal area as the uterus expands rapidly. As a result, almost 50 to 90% of women get stretch marks.

3. Sudden Increase In Weight:

When a person suddenly gains weight in a short time period stretch marks appear. This is especially true for bodybuilders.

4. Use Of Corticosteroid:

Certain medical conditions require use of corticosteroid lotions and creams. But when used for prolonged time period they bring about reduction in the collagen levels in the skin. This increases the risk of getting stretch marks as collagen is responsible for skin elasticity and strength.

5. Diseases:

Medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome and Marfan syndrome put you at the risk of getting stretch marks. In Cushing’s syndrome people gain weight rapidly and skin also becomes fragile due to increase in a hormone level. Elasticity of skin reduces in Marfan syndrome.

How Long Does It Take For Stretch Marks To Go Away?

Stretch marks don’t go away completely. With time they tend to fade and you may not notice them easily. Pregnancy related stretch marks take 6 to 12 months post delivery, to become less prominent.(2)

Do Stretch Mark Creams Really Work?

There is lack of scientific evidence regarding positive effect of stretch mark creams, lotions or gels in diminishing these streaks. Studies comparing stretch mark creams having active ingredients to preparations having none did not find much difference in their effect on stretch marks. (4) In another study, it was concluded that there is no topical stretch mark cream that can completely diminish the stretch marks, though some can bring certain amount of improvement. Also, it was suggested that if you start applying the topical stretch mark creams at the initial stages, some of them may be able to control the amount of epidermal cellular alterations that take place.

How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks?

Many medical procedures, topical creams and lotions and home based remedies can be used to lighten the stretch marks. These include (5):

Medical Procedures:

1. Microdermabrasion:

Fine aluminium oxide crystalline powder is sprayed over the stretch marks. It is like a gentle abrasion of the skin to help get rid of the stretch marks. Usually one sitting is enough but you may need more. Little bit soreness may be experienced but recovery is fast.

2. Fractional Laser Treatment:

It is a non invasive treatment aimed at resurfacing of the skin by blending the stretch marks. The edges of the scars are laser treated and the texture of the stretch marks is adjusted to match the surrounding skin. A minimum of three sittings are required and moreover no sun exposure post treatment for few days is advised.

3. Pulse Dye Laser Treatment:

Also, called vascular laser treatment, it aims at enhancing skin elasticity. By promoting production of collagen, it can make the stretch marks fade to a certain extent. Depending on the size of the stretch marks three to six sittings are required for any noticeable change to begin. Sun exposure should be avoided for a short time period after the treatment.

4. Injecting Platelet-Rich Plasma:

In this process of stretch mark treatment plasma of the person’s own blood is injected into the stretch marks. It works against the stretch marks by producing collagen and enhancing the growth of skin. Depending on the skin, the number of sessions are decided. Usually one session is good enough. Little soreness may be experienced post treatment but recovery is fast.

Topical Creams And Lotions:

1. Retinoic Acid Creams:

These creams are most effective when you start applying as soon as the stretch mark appears. Retinoic acid promotes production of collagen which in turn make the skin appear better. However, pregnant and lactating mothers are advised not to use it as it may have detrimental effect on the child.

2. Trichloroacetic Acid Based Chemical Peel:

Over the counter chemical peel can be used to lighten stretch marks. The treated skin peels off and makes the stretch mark less noticeable. Usually more than one treatment is required and it is more effective when combined with microdermabrasion or any other treatment.

3. Creams Having Ascorbic Acid And Glycolic Acid:

Daily application of these creams can reduce visibility of stretch marks in a period of three months. These work by enhancing skin elasticity.

4. Shea Butter:

Application of pure shea butter can help deal with stretch marks by hydrating your skin and countering inflammation. Daily application over a long period is required.

5. Cow Udder Cream:

Originally made for cow udders, these creams are also used to lighten stretch marks. They work against stretch marks by hydrating the skin and are said to prevent formation of new stretch marks.

Lifestyle Changes:

1. Balanced Diet And Healthy Weight:

A balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein along with regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and promotes natural repairing of skin. This can to a certain extent ward off the chances of getting stretch marks.

2. Appropriate Hydration:

To maintain skin elasticity drink at least 2 liters of water a day.

3. Skin Moisturizing:

Appropriate hydration may ward off new stretch marks from appearing. Frequent application of moisture is good especially for those who are prone to stretch marks like pregnant women and those gaining and losing weight rapidly. Cow udder cream, olive oil and shea oil etc. are safe for application.

Home Remedies To Remove Stretch Marks

The following are the home remedies to remove stretch marks (6)

1. Aloe Vera:

Presence of gibberellin and glucomannan in aloe vera makes it beneficial for promoting synthesis of collagen and therefore quickening fading of stretch marks. You need to mix oils of vitamin E and A extracted from their capsules with fresh aloe vera gel. Keep massaging it on your stretch marks till it gets absorbed. Do it at least two times a day.

2. Castor Oil:

Massaging warm castor oil on the stretch marks is said to lighten them due to the presence of ricinoleic acid. It is said to promote healing and conditioning of skin.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar:

Malic and acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar help in lightening the stretch marks. You can take some amount of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. At bedtime spray the vinegar on your stretch marks and let it dry. Rinse it well in the morning and apply a moisturizer.

4. Jojoba Oil:

Application of pure jojoba oil on stretch marks as soon as they appear can help them from growing further. It works by healing and nourishing the skin and promoting development of new and healthier cells. You can apply it two to three times a day.

5. Baking Soda And Lemon Juice:

You need to mix one tablespoon of baking soda with juice of one lemon and apply it on your stretch marks. Keep it wrapped using a cling film for at least half an hour. Then wash it off well using warm water. This method works to lighten the stretch marks by exfoliating and removing the dead cells from the skin

6. Argan Oil:

Application of argan oil is good for diminishing the stretch marks as it has vitamin E and antioxidants in abundance. Applying it twice a day can help rejuvenate the elastic fibers and collagen in your skin.
Natural coffee scrub: You can mix coffee grounds with water and add few drops of olive oil or aloe vera gel to it. Scrub the stretch marks gently for five minutes daily. Wash it off with warm water. It works by penetrating the skin easily, stimulating blood flow and degrades fat accumulation in cells.

7. Sugar Scrub:

It heals stretch marks by removing dead cells from the skin, improving blood circulation and exfoliating the skin. You need to combine a tablespoon of raw sugar with little bit of lemon juice and almond oil. Massage it once or twice daily for at least 10 minutes. Then wash off with water and apply a moisturizer.

8. Tea Tree Oil:

You need to mix 4 to 5 drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil and massage it on your stretch marks till absorbed. Repeat it two times a day to lighten the marks.

9. Other Essential Oils:

Many essential oils like frankincense, rosehip and helichrysum are said to be good for stretch marks. They enhance skin elasticity and strength and thereby reduce appearance of these scars. You should mix them with coconut oil or olive oil and run a derma roller to get faster results. (7)

10. Gelatin And Vitamin K:

Gelatin is considered to be one of the best dietary sources of the protein collagen, therefore it enhances the strength and elasticity of skin. This may help in reducing the existing stretch marks and averting appearance of further marks. Moreover, vitamin K found in spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens etc. is also said to be effective in diminishing stretch marks.

11. Coconut Oil:

Apply it on stretch marks to promote elasticity of skin and regeneration of new cells. Its lauric acid is very beneficial for skin.

Do It Yourself Stretch Mark Cream:

You need 20 drops each of lavender and cypress essential oils, 10 drops each of grapefruit and helichrysum essential oil, three-fourth ounce each of unrefined shea butter and unrefined cocoa butter, 3 ounces of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons sweet almond oil, 2 teaspoon vitamin E oil and 6 tablespoons of water. Using very low heat you need to melt the coconut oil, almond oil, shea butter and cocoa butter in a pan. Now add water and mix well. Keep mixing after removing from fire to get a cream like consistency. Add rest of the ingredients when the mixture reaches room temperature. You need to store this in a dark colored glass container.  (8)

1. Cocoa Butter Cream:

You need to mix one teaspoon each of apricot oil and vitamin E oil with two tablespoons of grated beeswax, half cup of cocoa butter and one tablespoon of wheat germ. Heat the mix on till the beeswax melts and all ingredients gets mixed. After cooling you need to refrigerate it. Apply it daily many times a day on your stretch marks. (9)

2. Shea Butter And Raw Sugar Scrub:

In a pan take 1 tablespoon of shea butter, add half cup of organic raw cane sugar, half teaspoon of vitamin E oil, one fourth cup of olive or coconut oil, five drops of lavender essential oil and one teaspoon of lemon juice. In low heat mix all the ingredients. Cool it and store it in a glass jar. Massage it on your stretch marks twice or thrice a week. (10)