What do motherhood and excessive weight loss have in common? Stretch marks!
Unsightly, inhibiting and sometimes embarrassing, these marks can literally change the quality of your life. I don’t know anyone with stretch marks who doesn’t google “how to get rid of stretch marks fast”.
It can even become an obsession.
Some people wear them like a badge of honor (mothers!), while others would rather forget their former selves who had to acquire these marks to get to where they are today. One thing that both groups share in common is the desire to eliminate these marks from their skin.
Perhaps it would comfort you to know you are not alone in battling stretch marks. Think Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Christy Tigen, Cindy Crawford, Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Chloe and Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Oprah Winfrey, Shakira……the list is endless. Not all these celebrities got stretch marks from carrying pregnancies. Some got them from losing weight or natural growth spurts.
This just goes to show that stretch marks can plague anyone: no one is exempt.
But how do you get rid of them?
Using essential oils or carrier oils can help you to eliminate stretch marks to a large degree.
The difference between the two oil lies in their sources: carrier oils coming from the fatty parts of the plant (seeds, nuts and kernels) and essential oils coming from non-fatty parts (stems, barks, leaves, flowers and roots).
This essential oil is harvested from the bright red fruit of the Rosa laevigata (Cherokee rose) or Rosa canina (God rose). It contains linoleic acids (omega 6), linolenic acids (omega 9), essential fatty acids, lycopene, Beta-carotene and vitamins A and C, which promote the production of collagen and hydrate, nourish and heal the skin.
Originally from India and Malaysia, patchouli essential oil is thick in nature and has a rich herbal scent. It has alpha patchoulene and beta patchoulene, which are great for revitalizing skin and hydrating it to prevent the scratching that causes the skin to break into stretch marks.
Not only does jasmine essential oil smell heavenly, it promotes elasticity of the skin, helps with the skin tone and healing of scars, which promotes the fading of stretch marks. The common species that provides the best oil is Jasminum grandiflorum, the royal jasmine.
Mandarin oil is considered one of the best essential oils for stretch marks. Extracted from the outer peel of the mandarin fruit, the oil is used in lotions and cleansers to tone and firm skin as well as fade marks and discolorations.
Neroli essential oil stimulates the skin’s cells to rejuvenate and naturally regenerate. The oil, native to Italy, contains strong antioxidants and collagen promoting properties that work on skin as delicate as that of a pregnant woman.
Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties which combat stretch marks at the root: the base of the skin cell. It gets deeply absorbed into the skin due to its intense moisturizing and hydrating qualities.
Vitamin E oil
Vitamin E is a naturally occurring antioxidant that fights the free radicals that damage skin cells. It can be found in capsule form or as a pure oil and is applied topically to control the damage and begin the healing process.
Considered effective in reducing the sight of stretch marks, almond oil infuses its hydrating and antioxidant qualities into the skin to repair damaged cells. The naturally occurring antioxidants found in the oil make it ideal for all skin types and even the most extensive damage.
Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid which has strong healing properties. Because it is light and easily absorbed, the oil deeply penetrates the stretch mark areas and acts from within the cell to repair and hydrate the cell’s membranes.
Grape seed oil
Containing high levels of OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes), this oil is ideal for repairing any type of skin damage ranging from sunburn, age spots, stretch marks and discolorations from skin conditions.
The most effective way to prevent the occurrence of stretch marks is weight control. This is whether you are pregnant or not. As a pregnant woman, you can eat healthy and stay hydrated which contribute greatly to healthy skin cells that are hard to compromise.
You also need to have enough protein, gelatin and fat in your diet. Gelatin should be in the healthiest form that you can find which is bone marrow or chicken skin as opposed to the sugary option found in sweets and confections.
Most people work towards preventing stretch marks from the outside (and after they have already occurred) instead of preventing the damage from inside. After all, it is impossible to reduce stretch marks when you have unhealthy eating habits.
A pregnant belly at 30 weeks can measure between 28 to 32 centimeters (this measurement is relative). As such it is important to keep the skin hydrated by applying the oil of your choice at least twice a day. Using oils to combat stretch marks will improve your skin’s elasticity allowing the skin on your belly to expand without damage to the skin cells.
Apply the oil while your skin is still damp from a shower or a bath.
Science has proven that the drying effects of a bath or shower speed up the sloughing off of skin cells especially when you use harsh soaps and shower creams and during the toweling process. This dryness promotes the easy formation of stretch marks.
The damp skin after a shower is more receptive to absorbing the oil as the water on the skin combines with the oil and both get absorbed into the skin.
Place the oil into the palm of your hand and massage it onto your belly with a downward motion. Allow yourself enough time to really let the skin absorb the oil for great results.
One of the favored spots for stretch marks is the thighs, especially the inner thighs. They feature these damaged skin cells because they bear the brunt of puberty in women, increased weight during pregnancy and are targeted during excessive weight loss.
To eliminate the stretch marks on your thighs, begin by increasing your hydration levels. Drink 64 ounces of water, at the very least, on a daily basis.
Water hydrates your body leaving the skin supple and plump. It hydrates the roots of the skin cells where the damage to the skin that causes stretch marks originates from and prevents further damage.
Use healing oils
Invest in a stretch mark eliminating oils like vitamin E oil or rosehip seed oil. These oils increase the rate at which your skin cells are regenerated which fades the stretch marks. Apply the oil directly onto the affected area twice a day and let the oil evaporate from the skin naturally for optimum results.
Exercise is also a key to eliminating stretch marks, especially when you are losing weight. Cardio causes blood to pump through your veins reaching areas that have damaged skin cells. The blood carries nutrients like antioxidants which help in regenerating cells. Good circulation is known to improve the sight of stretch marks.
The stomach is another problem area especially if you have carried a pregnancy. As your body returns to its previous state, the wear and tear of the big belly begins to show making the stretch marks that are left behind visible.
Laser treatment which generates heat to the affected area is an ideal treatment option for the stomach area because the abdomen area is naturally hard to firm.
This treatment provides quick results owing to the faster stimulation of collagen production which helps to regenerate skin cells.
Use healing oils
Essential oils and creams with retinol are also a great option to fade the marks. Application should be twice a day and in some instances according to the instructions of a physician. Make sure to use essential oils in their purest form for faster and better results.
Exercising the stomach area firms up the skin causing it to look taut and reducing the visibility of the stretch marks. A routine, 3-4 times a week will help you see quicker results.
It is easy to distinguish an old stretch mark from a new one. The older ones are white, almost silvery in color while the newer ones tend to have a reddish, purplish hue.
Older stretch marks are harder to treat because the extent of their damage is deeper. You may notice that they tend to leave a depression in their wake as they snake across your skin.
To begin the process of getting rid of them, you must prevent further damage from occurring. You can do this by using sunscreen which has at least SPF 15. Sun exposure makes stretch marks more visible and prominent.
A session of microdermabrasion at your local spa or dermatologist will remove the top dead layer of the stretch marks fading them away in the process. You can perform the process yourself with similar results. The point is to buff the dead skin away.
A quicker, more effective method is laser treatment. The laser treatments encourage the production of melanin which covers over the old stretch mark discoloration. As more pigment cells are produced as a result of the treatment, the stretch marks become markedly less noticeable and begin to look like the rest of your skin.
Men are not immune to stretch marks. They are as susceptible as women because of growth spurts and weight changes. Weight lifting and quickly bulking up or quick weight loss are the biggest contributors to stretch marks on men.
Although the method of elimination stays the same it has a few variations. Work towards lean muscle mass as opposed to building size. Gaining muscle too fast is bound to end up in stretch marks.
You can also get laser treatment to stimulate melanin.
With more melanin production the skin pigmentation begins to look the same as the unaffected parts of the skin. Creams like tretinoin can also be used to fade the scars as they build the elasticity of skin and plump the skin by promoting collagen production.
This is also an option for men as it is for women. It can be done at home, at the spa or at your dermatologist’s practice. The affected area will be buffed to slough off the dead skin successfully fading the visibility of the stretch marks. Alternatively, silicon dioxide particles are blown onto the affected area to dislodge and remove the old dead skin. This process encourages the growth of new skin cells.
The removal of stretch marks is not a rushed affair. In fact, most people don’t see results because they do not exercise patience. Remember, stretch marks are as a result of damaged skin cell. The cells have to be repaired and regenerated for results to be visible.
It is not a lost cause to invest in, but it is one in which you have to be invested in for the long haul. I hope you stay on course and reap the results. I know I have and my confidence is through the roof since I am not afraid to show off my skin.
Let us know about your journey and whether any of the information above has been helpful.
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