So, let’s talk about those unsightly bands of lines pitching camp on your backside, finding their way to your underarms, let’s talk about the dark streaks that a bane to otherwise silky skin, and, let’s talk about that they affect our standards of beauty. How about men getting stretch marks? Let’s take about the fact that you cannot wear shorts that cannot cover your thighs! Frustrating stretch marks.
With the impossible standards set by the beauty industry and the body image issues you may or may not have, stretch marks make us utterly insecure.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks, also called Striae distensae, are breaks in different layers of the epidermis and the dermis. They result when the dermis fails to sustain its intrinsic mechanical forces. They appear as lines, starting off with a bright pink or a reddish-purple hue before turning silvery or white. The marks are either glossy or thin, as compared to other parts of the skin, and when you touch the stretch marks with your fingers, you feel a slight indentation on the skin. For some, the marks feel sore or itchy. Nothing you’d want to live with, right?
So, how do the unsightly stretch marks form?
Different people present with stretch marks for different reasons.
Stretch marks appear when the dermis is unable to sustain its intrinsic mechanical forces. In the process, the structure of the fibrous networks get modified, and the epidermis becomes thin. The rupture in the tissues and the resultant skin distention causes massive mast cell degranulation, and the subsequent damage to the elastic and the collagen fibers.
Therefore, the stretch marks are reflections of breaks within the connective tissue.
You might want to note that it is possible to improve the appearance of stretch marks in the early stages. Once they turn white, it becomes almost impossible to get rid or reduce the appearance of the marks.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
To understand how they form, we have to look at the causes of stretch marks.
- Weight fluctuations
Rapid weight changes cause the skin to be outstretched in a short span of time. The rapid expansion tears the epidermis and even the dermis, forming scars. On the other hand, rapid weight loss shrinks the skin. The shrinking means that the skin loses its elasticity, leaving you with tears in the skin. The tears manifest as stretch marks.
The sudden gaining and loss of weight forces the body to produce hormones which disrupt normal collagen production. The skin loses its elasticity in the process, and the tears cause scars.
Tears in the dermis cause some degree of inflammation. Like every other body part, an inflammation signals the skin cells to heal leaving a scar behind.
It is, therefore, common to see stretch marks in women or men who undergo rapid weight change and in mothers, during or after pregnancy.
- Abnormal collagen formation
Collagen is the protein that makes up most of the skin’s epidermis and dermis. It is responsible for the skin’s elasticity and firmness. The protein has to be in abundance and in perfect working shape for your skin to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, some medications cause the loss of collagen fibers in the dermis. Eventually, the loss of collagen causes loss of skin elasticity, and this causes tears on the skin. The tears happen every time the body goes through a physical change – think of the growth spurt in your teenage years.
- Medical conditions
Two medical conditions influence the formation of stretch marks – Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Cushing Syndrome. The former is a genetic disorder which affects the skin, blood vessels, and joints. The condition makes the skin susceptible to bruising and tearing, and stretch marks in the process. Cushing Syndrome, on the other hand, results from excessive production of cortisol hormone. High cortisol makes the skin susceptible to bruising, and eventually stretch marks.
Marfan’s Syndrome could also cause stretch marks because it increases the blood levels of cortisol.
Overuse of cortisone skin creams, the ones prescribed for eczema and psoriasis or dermatitis could leave you with stretch marks too.
In other cases, stretch marks will appear if you have breast implants that are too large. Liver disease also predisposes you to the marks.
Where will you spot stretch marks?
The bands often appear on the stomach, upper arms, breasts, thighs, as well as buttocks.
Which are the risk factors for stretch marks?
- Being female
- Being overweight
- Being Caucasian and having pale skin
- Being born into a family with a history of stretch marks
- Pregnancy or having a history of delivering twins or large babies.
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
- The use of corticosteroid medication.
Regardless of the risk factors, remember that stretch marks are not a disease; they are common and normal. Also, you might never erase stretch marks entirely once you develop stretch marks.
So, why essential oils.
Essential oils are safe, and they are a natural solution to minimize stretch marks. The oils are potent. While restoring moisture to the skin to speed up healing, the oils boost repair of skin cells and also encourage cellular regeneration. By repairing damaged cells, regenerating new cells, and rejuvenating the skin tissues, the oils fade and lighten the stretch marks.
Some of the essential oils also minimize inflammations, preventing scarring of the skin. This prevents further formation of stretch marks.
So, if you cannot fight the effects of puberty, or getting marked unintentionally, you might want to turn to essential oils.
The Best Essential Oils for Stretch Marks
- Argan Essential Oil
Argan oil extracted from the argan tree kennel is famed for its usefulness on the skin, hair and general health. Unless you have been living under some rock, argan oil is the new kid in the essential oils block.
Among its many qualities, Argan oil stands out because of its moisturizing effects on the skin. It also heals wounds by reducing inflammations. With these properties bagged under the sleeve, argan essential oil could be the only essential oil you need to use to fade away the pesky stretch marks.
It moisturizes the skin thanks to its richness in vitamin E as well as the high-fat content which makes the oil ideal for the skin.
Since it is non-greasy and non-irritating, it feels good on the skin, and it works as a great natural moisturizer. As mentioned above, oils that add moisture to the skin enhance cellular regeneration reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Besides keeping the skin moisturized, the oil also fights inflammation – the tearing of collagen and the dermis/epidermis trigger inflammation that instigates the start of healing. The antioxidants in the oil fight inflammation preventing formation as scars which manifest as stretch marks.
Argan oil’s wound healing effects make the oil suitable for healing the skin layers fast, preventing the formation of new lines.
Studies show that argan oil helps to increase the skin’s elasticity which is lost following rapid weight loss or gain. You should, therefore, use the essential oil to restore skin elasticity lost to stretch marks in the early stages.
- Patchouli essential oil
Patchouli essential oil is best known for its antidepressant effects. But, it turns out that depression isn’t all that Patchouli essential oil helps with. The oil helps with the disappearance of stretch marks thanks to its antioxidant properties.
The antioxidants in the oil fight free radicals preventing damage from oxidative stress, while promoting synthesis of collagen. The collagen strengthens the skin while maintaining elasticity. Enhancing collagen production, it boosts skin strength, minimizing the appearance of stretch marks.
Its anti-inflammatory effects are also helpful in diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. Since inflammations start the cascade that leads up to scarring and appearance of stretch marks, this oil reduces the appearance of stretch marks significantly.
- Bitter Almond Oil
You are probably used to sweet almond oils so, let us introduce you to bitter almond oil, all you could need to diminish the appearance of stretch marks.
First off, bitter almonds should be consumed orally because they have some toxic compounds, amygdalin, which mimic cyanide and could cause what looks like cyanide poisoning.
However, topical application of bitter almond oil potentially reduces the appearance of the bitter almond oil. It also prevents the formation of stretch marks. For the best effects, the oil should be applied early during pregnancy.
- Rosehip Essential Oil
Rosehip essential oil is extracted from the seeds or the fruit of the rose flower plant. Roses don’t look good. The oil extracted helps in preventing the severity of stretch marks, especially in pregnant women who had stretch marks previously.
Rosehip essential oil is a deep moisturizer. By keeping the skin moist, the cells regenerate faster, cells are rejuvenated, and damaged cells repaired faster.
Rosehip essential oil is rich in oleic, palmitic, linolenic, and linolenic acids, all of which improve skin and general health. These oils keep the skin moisturized. Other than the oils, it is rich in vitamins E, C and D. It also has beta-carotene. Vitamins E and C are crucial for collagen formation as well as healing.
The beta-carotene and its richness in antioxidants help fight inflammation, preventing scarring and new stretch marks.
Studies show that rosehip essential oil reduces the severity of the stretch marks when pregnant, it halts further progression of pre-existing marks, and it also prevents the appearance of new stretch marks.
- Frankincense Essential Oil
To repair your overstretched skin, you need frankincense essential oil that is extracted from the sap of Boswellia sacra tree. It tightens the skin tissue, and it also encourages cell turnover. A boost in cellular regeneration helps in maintaining the integrity of the skin. Therefore, the oil leaves no room for stretch marks.
The newly formed cells also help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Besides fading the appearance of the pre-existing stretch marks, it also prevents new stretch marks from forming. You might also like frankincense essential oil because it clears the skin preventing the appearance of blemishes. Frankincense essential oil goes a step further to abate skin damage.
Besides stretch marks, you might want to use this oil to prevent wrinkles and to cure sunburns.
- Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is extracted from lavender flowers. The oil became famous for its immense wound healing properties
Research conducted showed the lavender essential oil increases collagen production hence its ability to shrink wounds fast and to form the granulation tissue which promotes wound healing.
Collagen production and the formation of a granulation tissue helps in dealing with the purple streaks while preventing the formation of new ones.
The soothing tranquility associated with lavender essential oil is what makes it a preferred essential oil for most people. It is also a common product in most skin care products.
Its antioxidant properties could also help fight inflammations which could cause new stretch marks.
- Sweet Almond Oil
Other than the bitter almond oil, you could use the sweet almond oil to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. This oil prevents cardiovascular diseases thanks to its high levels of monosaturated fatty oils. Besides cardiovascular health, it also helps fade the appearance of stretch marks.
Its richness in vitamin E makes it one of the most recommended oils. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals which increase oxidative stress, increasing inflammations in the body. The oil also works as a moisturizer, enhancing cellular regeneration in cells. Sweet almond oil will also prevent premature aging.
- Lemon Essential Oil
The radical-fighting effects of lemon oil make it a great fit for fighting stretch marks. By preventing the build-up of radicals, it curbs inflammations and prevents the death of cells responsible for the production of keratin, elastin, and collagen.
Collagen breakdown is at the center of stretch mark formation. Therefore, encouraging production of collagen will fight formation and the appearance of stretch marks.
Lemon oil is also rich in vitamin E so, combining it with almond oil will help increase the absorption of vitamin E that protects cells from oxidative damage and inflammation.
Also known as bitter orange oil, Neroli essential oil that comes from the Rutaceae family is extracted from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree.
For centuries, the oil has been used to lighten the skin, and to reduce the appearance of scars or stretch marks.
Studies show that Neroli has powerful antioxidant properties that protect the skin by enhancing and preventing the breakdown of collagen. The oil also encourages cells to regenerate, improving the appearance of the skin.
Neroli also contains limonene and linalool which have the highest ability to scavenge the free oxygen radicals preventing inflammations and other medical conditions like light-induced skin disorders.
Neroli oil is also rich in vitamin C with is a precursor for the synthesis of collagen.
- Gotu Kola
This oil has been used for decades in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda to treat several medical and cosmetic conditions.
Studies on the oil indicate that the oil contains compounds which boost the production of collagen. It also improves the skin’s tensile strength.
The oil has also been used in wound healing because it promotes the proliferation of fibroblasts. Other than collagen, it also boosts the production of intracellular fibronectin which increases the tensile strength of newly formed skin cells.
It also inhibits the inflammatory phase of scars, and in the process, it prevents the formation of stretch marks.
- Pomegranate Oil
This oil is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It prevents the formation of stretch marks, and it also reduces the appearance of the stretch marks.
It contains conjugated fatty acids, anthocyanidins, and flavonoids which fight inflammations thanks to their antioxidant anti-inflammatory effects. Also, the oils boost the proliferation of keratinocytes, while inducing mild thickening of the epidermis, without causes a loss of ordered differentiation.
Therefore, you might want to incorporate pomegranate essential oil in your beauty regimen to thicken the dermis plus the epidermis, to hydrate the skin and to restore elasticity.
For even better results, you could mix pomegranate essential oil with Dragon’s blood extract. The mixture reduces the appearance of the blue streaks significantly.
- Geranium Essential Oil
The delicate scent identifies this essential oil. It lifts your mood, and it could make you happier as it reduces the appearance of stretch marks. Its use in cosmetics comes from the oil’s profound effects in promoting the production of collagen.
It could also prevent stretch marks by keeping the skin elastic, while healing torn dermal or epidermal layers. While making your skin streak-free, it also fights wrinkles, and it lightens scarred parts of the skin. Therefore, it prevents premature aging.
- Sage Essential Oil
Spices aside, sage essential oil promotes healthy circulation of blood necessary for healing and repair of the skin cells. It also helps in fighting inflammations preventing the formation of stretch marks. Sage essential oil is safe for use by pregnant women.
- Cedarwood essential oil
The oil’s purifying properties and its healing abilities cause fading of stretch marks. It also balances the skin’s ability to produce oils that revitalize dry cells and tissues.
But, that isn’t all – the oil also possesses anti-inflammatory effects. It, therefore, fights inflammations as the skin stretches, reducing scarring, manifesting as stretch marks. Cedarwood oil is also responsible for the healthy maintenance of skin cells in the epidermis and the dermis.
You could also use the oil to treat conditions like eczema.
- Jasmine essential oil
This oil doesn’t make some of the most sophisticated perfumes, used with the right carrier oil, jasmine essential oil enhances the elasticity of the skin, and it balances the skin, helping in maintaining a natural glow. It also moisturizes the skin while healing wounds.
- Helichrysum oil
This fruit-scented oil rose to fame for its skin healing and anti-aging effects. But, it turns out that it can do more as it possesses strong tissue-generating and anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, the oil helps with most, if not all skin conditions.
It also boosts blood circulation which enhances skin repair and cellular regeneration. To prevent the appearance of stretch marks, it nourishes the skin, helps in moisture retention, and it improves the skin’s elasticity.
- Carrot seed oil
Its richness in vitamins E and C help in fighting inflammation while neutralizing oxidative damage in the cells. The oil alleviates the appearance of stretch marks and other scars. You might also like the oil for its excellent moisturizing effects which not only fade the appearance of stretch marks but also mask out the signs of premature aging seen as sagging or fine lines.
The other oils you could use include:
- Fennel oil which eliminates toxins and promotes healthy circulation, protecting the skin cells from damage. It also moisturizes the skin and fights stretch marks and cellulite.
- Myrrh essential oil tines and tightens the skin. It also promotes cellular renewal, and it boosts blood circulation. It fades the old mark and prevents new marks from forming.
- Jojoba oil heals several skin conditions by working in the same way as collagen. Since it has a similar molecular structure to the oil glands, it keeps the skin well-moisturized and balanced. It also has vitamins and minerals which prevent further development of stretch marks.
- Castor Oil has a significant number of uses in the health and beauty world. One of these uses is the healing of stretch marks. Ricinoleic acid, the active ingredient in castor oil is a fatty acid which moisturizes the skin while preventing discoloration.
How to use essential oils for stretch marks
Whether you are using one or many essential oils, you need to make sure that you use a carrier oil to dilute the oils to prevent irritation on the skin. You also need to know that you can use the essential oil in different forms like oil mixtures. Stretch mark massage oil or a creamy salve for stretch marks.
Some of the recipes you could try to include lavender and lemon oil, frankincense and lavender. The best carrier oil is coconut oil.
Other Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks
- Sugar scrubs
- Aloe vera
- Coconut oil
- Vitamin A
- Cocoa Butter
- Lemon juice and cucumber
- Coconut oil and almond oil
- Apricot mask and an essential oil
- Potato juice
- Olive oil
- Stay hydrated
Though common and natural, it doesn’t mean that you should let stretch marks rummage your life. You can do a lot to prevent more stretch marks and to fade the appearance of the stretch marks. Since essential oils have remarkable effects in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, they are your best option.