How To Remove Stretch Marks After Pregnancy: 16 Home Remedies & Medical Treatments

Stretch marks are common among women after pregnancy. You might have
fine lines mostly in the areas prone to fat accumulation like breast,
hips, arms, abdomen, tummy and thighs. They may develop due to hormonal
changes or sudden fat loss in these regions. Here, MomJunction tells you
how to get rid of stretch marks through home remedies, and medical
treatments.

 

Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks?

It
is not possible to get rid of stretch marks completely as they only get
lighter with time. Massaging creams, lotions, and oils cannot make
the marks disappear but only turn your skin smooth and supple.

Over
the months and may be years, the marks gradually turn into fine lines
which are almost closer to your skin tone. Though you may have to bear
the natural ‘battle scars’, they become less visible in three to six
months after delivery, write Janet Arenson and Patricia Drake in their
book Quick Look Nursing: Maternal and Newborn Health.

 

Home Remedies To Remove Pregnancy Stretch Marks:

There
are certain effective home remedies you can try to reduce the
appearance of postpartum stretch marks. Most of these remedies are from
The Big Book Of Home Remedies, written by Samuel Billings.

1. Oil Treatment:

Massaging
the affected areas with oils make your skin smooth and help reduce the
stretch marks. Some of the popularly used oils include:

Olive Oil:
Olive oil moisturizes and exfoliates your skin. It also improves the
blood circulation and removes stretch marks to a great extent.

  •     Take some oil in your palms and gently massage the area.
  •     Let it remain for 30 minutes so that the vitamins A, D and E in the oil are absorbed into the skin.
  •     Take a bath after the massage.
  •     Though it is a time-taking process, it gives you results when you follow it regularly.
  •     Or you can also prepare a mixture of olive oil, water and vinegar, and apply in the nights.

Vitamin E Oil:

  •     Extract the oil from vitamin E capsule.
  •     Mix with any moisturizer you use regularly and apply on the stretch marks.
  •     On regular usage, it gives effective results by fading off the marks.

Castor Oil:

  •     Apply castor oil on the stretch marks and massage the area gently in circular motion for about five to ten minutes.
  •  
      Use a plastic bag to cover the area, roll a hot water bottle on it
    for about 30 to 40 minutes. The heat opens the pores and the oil gets
    absorbed into the pores.
  •     Clean the area and repeat it every day for at least a month to see good results.

Other
Oils: Various oils like coconut, almond, avocado, castor and vitamin E
can be mixed in equal proportions and applied on the skin. You can also
use them to massage the region. You can also use any one oil and use as a
massage oil.

Essential Oil Treatment:

  •     Take regular oils like almond or coconut.
  •     Add a few drops of essential oils like rose, geranium, lavender, myrrh or helichrysum.
  •     Use this mixture to massage on the stretch marks for at least 30 minutes. It will help reduce the stretch marks quickly.

2. Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera promotes healing and soothes your skin. Use fresh gel rather than the one available in the market.

  •  
      Rub it directly over the skin, leave for 15 minutes and wash it off
    using lukewarm water. Apply on the affected areas regularly.
  •    
    You can also prepare a mixture of one-fourth cup of aloe vera gel with
    oil from five vitamin A and ten vitamin E capsules. Rub it over the skin
    until it is completely absorbed. Apply it twice a day.

3. Honey:

The antiseptic property of honey works in reducing stretch marks.

  •     Take a small cloth and apply honey on it.
  •     Place the cloth on the affected area and let it remain until it turns dry.
  •     Rinse off using warm water.
  •  
      Or you can prepare honey scrub by mixing it with salt and glycerin.
    Apply it on the stretch marks, leave until it dries and rinse off using
    water.

4. Egg White:

Egg white is rich in protein, which helps rejuvenate the skin and makes it look fresh.

  •     Beat two egg whites using a fork.
  •     Clean the affected area with water and apply a thick layer of egg white using a makeup brush.
  •     Let it dry and then rinse off using cold water.
  •     Apply some olive oil to keep the skin supple and moisturized.
  •     Repeat it every day for at least two weeks. It helps improve your skin tone, and the marks fade away slowly.

5. Shea Butter Or Cocoa Butter:

Shea
or cocoa butter can be used just like oil treatment. They are also the
primary ingredients present in most of the body lotions.

Take some shea or cocoa butter and apply on the stretch marks regularly. Rinse off the area after some time.

This
remedy improves the skin elasticity, prevents dryness and reduces the
stretch marks. Cocoa butter is an excellent moisturizer and helps
nourish your skin.

6. Sugar:

Sugar is one of the best remedies for stretch marks. It exfoliates your dead skin, and your stretch marks turn lighter.

  •     Take one tablespoon of sugar, mix with some almond oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
  •     Use it as a scrub before you go for a shower.
  •     Do this every day for a month.

7. Lemon Juice:

The acidic property of lemon juice works in healing stretch marks.

  •     Rub fresh lemon juice on the affected area.
  •     Leave it for about 10 minutes so that the juice soaks into your skin.
  •     Rinse off using warm water.
  •     Apply every day for better results.
  •     Or you can also make a mixture of lemon and cucumber juice in equal proportions and apply it on the stretch marks.

8. Water:

The
skin should be well-hydrated to erase the stretch marks and other skin
conditions. Consume at least 10 to 12 glasses of water every day to keep
your skin hydrated and protected from toxins. It keeps your skin supple
and restores its elasticity. Try avoiding tea, coffee and soda as they
are dehydrating agents.

9. Apricot:

  •     Deseed the fruit and cut into small pieces.
  •     Crush the fruit in a blender to make a paste.
  •     Apply on the stretch marks, leave for 15 to 20 minutes.
  •     Rinse off with lukewarm water and repeat regularly.

10. Potato Juice:

Potato contains phytochemicals, polyphenols, and carotenoids, which improve the skin texture.

  •     Cut a potato into two halves and rub one-half over the stretch marks.
  •     Allow the juice to soak into the skin and let it dry.
  •     Then rinse off the area using lukewarm water.
  •     You can notice the difference in a few months.
  •     Or you can use potato juice or pulp.

11. Turmeric And Sandalwood:

They are known for their ability to promote brighter and even skin texture.

  •     Prepare one spoon of sandalwood paste by rubbing sandalwood stick in a bit of water.
  •     Prepare a smooth paste of fresh turmeric root.
  •     Mix both in equal proportions and apply on the skin.
  •     Leave until it dries almost to 60% and then scrub your skin until all of it comes off.
  •     Repeat every day for at least six months to see the improvement.

12. Milk, Sugar And Green Coconut Water:

Scrubs
are effective in boosting the skin regeneration process, and they are
one of best ways to remove stretch marks after birth of the baby.

  •     Mix two spoons of raw milk, a few drops of lemon juice and cucumber juice, half a spoon of sugar.
  •     Apply on the stretch marks and scrub for around five minutes in a circular motion.
  •     Rinse off with water and pat the area dry.
  •     Apply coconut water in excess and allow it to dry until you can sense the stretch on the skin.
  •     Then apply shea butter or aloe vera gel.
  •     After some time, rinse off the area and then apply moisturizer.
  •     You can use this remedy three times a week to help remove marks and lighten the skin.
  •     Repeat not more than 3 times a week.

13. Alfalfa:

Alfalfa
leaves are a great source of protein, essential amino acids, and
vitamins E and K. Their antifungal property detoxifies the skin and
helps heal the stretch marks.

  •     Prepare a smooth paste by mixing the powder with a few drops of chamomile oil.
  •     Massage it all over the stretch marks.
  •     Apply two to three times a day and you can notice stretch marks fading away within a week.
  •     Alfalfa powder is available in food stores.

14. Home-Made Moisturizer:

Moisturizer
helps improve skin elasticity. You should choose it depending on your
skin type. If your skin is dry, you should use the one with cocoa butter
and if your skin is oily, use cream which contains aloe vera or a clay
moisturizer.

  •     Mix olive oil, aloe vera gel and wheat germ oil in equal proportions.
  •     You can use it as a moisturizer if you have dry or combination skin type.
  •     The above mixture can be mixed with clay if your skin is an oily type.

15. Home-Made Lotion:

  •     Take a quarter cup of aloe vera gel and a half cup of extra virgin olive oil.
  •     Extract oil from six vitamin E capsules and three to four vitamin A capsules.
  •     Mix all these ingredients, take in a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator.
  •     The natural stretch marks removal lotion can be applied every day.

16. Home-Made Cream:

  •     Mix half a cup of cocoa butter, one tablespoon of vitamin E oil and two tablespoons of grated beeswax.
  •     You may add apricot kernel oil and wheat germ oil as well.
  •     Bring the mixture to boil until the wax gets melted.
  •     Store it in a bottle and refrigerate it.
  •     you can use every day.

Exercise To Fight Pregnancy Stretch Marks:

You
can try doing exercises that work on the muscles of the areas with
stretch marks. They tone the skin and help regenerate the tissues. It
tightens the loosened skin and helps diminish the stretch marks. A
combination of exercises and balanced diet helps you feel better, and
you can see yourself the stretch marks before and after vary a lot.

Contrast Showers And Swimming:

They
have a significant effect on the skin. They improve the blood
circulation in the subcutaneous tissues and enhance skin elasticity.
All you need to do is alternate your shower between hot and cold water
for micro-circulation.

Medical Treatments To Remove Stretch Marks After Pregnancy:

Doctors
suggest that natural remedies are far better than medical treatments,
especially if you are breastfeeding. But if you are too tired of the
pregnancy stretch marks to try home remedies, here are the treatment
options. However, some of them could pose serious complications.

1. Chemical Peels:

Chemical
peels, also referred to as derma peeling or chemexfoliation, use a
chemical solution on the stretch marks. The solution contains
chemicals like trichloroacetic, glycolic, lactic, salicylic or carbolic
acids, which when applied on the stretch marks result in blister
formation. The blistered skin is later peeled off for the formation of a
new skin layer.

This treatment also has risks including, a color
change of the skin, abnormal skin pigmentation if you have a history of
brown discoloration or if you are on birth control pills, scarring and
cold sores (in herpes patients).

2. Laser Therapy:

Laser
therapy is a common and proven treatment for stretch marks removal. It
works on both older, deeper marks as well as newer marks. It involves
removing, vaporizing and breaking down of affected skin tissues to
enhance new cell production. The two costly options are pulse-dyed laser
and fractional non-ablative laser therapies, both of which remove the
stretch marks and improve skin’s texture, writes the Oprah Magazine. It
results in permanent stretch marks removal. But it is very costly.

3. Glycolic Acid:

The
alpha hydroxy acid has peeling properties. It restores collagen
production in the skin, increasing its elasticity, and therefore making
the stretch marks less visible (6). Glycolic acid capsules are available
in drug stores, but you should consult your doctor before taking them.

4. Tretinoin Cream:

Your
dermatologist may prescribe tretinoin cream, also known as Retin-A, if
you are not breastfeeding. It can be used alone or by mixing with other
creams.

A study shows that applying 0.1% tretinoin cream can
reduce stretch marks. It is noticed that the stretch mark length is
reduced by 14% and width by 8%. Another study reveals that the length is
reduced by 20%. However, there is not much evidence of its absorption
into the breastmilk. Hence, it is good to avoid while breastfeeding.

5. Skin Regeneration Activators:

You
can get good quality and result oriented creams for stretch marks
removal. They primarily smoothen the skin, blend the pigmentation and
gradually remove the red or silvery appearance on the skin. Most of the
products include cocoa butter and vitamin E oil along with some other
organic ingredients.

A good anti-stretch marks cream contains any of these following ingredients:

Retinol: Every anti-stretch cream contains retinol as it helps in hydrating the skin and regenerating the skin tissues.

Collagen and elastin: These are proteins that improve skin elasticity and regeneration.

Jojoba
oil and shea butter: These both are found in good anti-stretch or
cellulite creams. They improve blood circulation in your skin.

Vitamins and amino acids: These are prerequisites for rapid skin regeneration.

Essential oils: They improve the total metabolic weight in the skin and increase its elasticity.

They
are cost effective, convenient to use and easy to get. However, these
marketed products are not safe to use in the lactating stage, and can
cause discoloration of the skin.

6. Surgery:

Surgery
is not recommended for stretch marks removal. The surgical procedure
(dermabrasion) involves removal of layers of skin, which have the
stretch marks so that it regenerates. It results in incision scars that
are worse than stretch marks. It also has several risks involved.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?

There
are no magical measures to prevent stretch marks during and post
pregnancy. However, some things can help minimize the marks. The best
option is to keep your skin healthy and hydrated so that it maintains
its maximum elasticity.

1. Coconut oil:

It is the
best moisturizer for the skin. Take some, and massage on the stretch
mark prone areas such as abdomen, breasts, thighs, hips, buttocks and
lower back.

Usage: Massage until the oil is absorbed into the
skin. Doing it twice or thrice a day will help. If not coconut oil, you
can also massage with olive oil, avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter
or any baby oil.

2. Castor oil:

This is an age-old
remedy for preventing many skin problems including wrinkles, fine lines,
spots, blemishes and more. Its humectant property helps retain skin
moisture. Therefore, it can also be used to put a stop to stretch marks.

Usage:
Apply one thick layer of castor oil on the skin. Wrap it using a saran
or plastic wrap. Use a heating pad or a hot water bottle on the area for
some 20 minutes. Repeat it several times in a week. You can also mix
the oil with almond oil for a thinner consistency.

3. Drink more water:

One
of the best ways to keep your skin hydrated is to drink enough water.
It improves the skin elasticity and makes it less prone to tearing.

4. Nutritious diet:

Include
a balanced and nutritious diet rich in zinc, silica, vitamins C and E,
and other nutrients that nourish the skin. Vitamin C regenerates
connective tissue. Zinc synthesizes collagen and silica produces
collagen. Try eating foods rich in these sources such as blueberries,
strawberries, carrots, green beans, collard greens, spinach, and nuts.

5. Vitamin E:

The
powerful antioxidant protects the collagen fibers from being damaged by
free radicals. It, therefore, strengthens collagen fiber and improves
skin elasticity.

Include vitamin E-rich foods such as olives,
almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, avocados, pumpkins and more. You can
also use vitamin E oil or skin cream.

6. Low impact exercises:

Exercise
is another way to improve your skin elasticity as it stimulates
circulation. Moreover, you can also stay off from putting that extra
weight.

You can include Kegels, simple stretches, and other
movements only after checking with your practitioner. Pilates and yoga
can also be helpful.

7. Apply sunscreen:

Always make
sure you use enough sunscreen before going out in the sun or swimming.
Apply the lotion on your chest, belly, and sides, the areas where
stretching may occur.

If you still develop stretch marks after
pregnancy, take them positively. They will fade with time and
appropriate care. Until then you can have them as a sweet memory of your
pregnancy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *