The first thing that comes to mind when one mentions stretch marks is an expectant mother. Thanks to all the advertisements involving anti-stretch marks products targeted at would-be or new mothers, we all tend to associate this with only pregnant women. However, stretch marks are more common than you think.
It is a very common phenomenon, especially amongst women. Studies show that up to 70% of adolescent females and 40% of adolescent males have stretch marks (1). However, this is not a ‘condition’ or a disease, but a natural way in which the skin reacts to bodily changes. Usually, when a body grows quickly, stretch marks are formed. This can be caused by hormone changes or rapid weight gain/ loss or even because of bodybuilding – basically anything that changes the body’s current state.
If you look carefully, you might find a stretch mark that you haven’t noticed before. These are usually silver lines which are generally formed in the skin around the waist/ hips and sometimes also in the upper arms. However, it brings us to the question of the hour…
What Is The Difference Between White Stretch Marks And Red Stretch Marks?
Some stretch marks are red/ purple and some are white/ silver in colour. The basic difference between them is illustrated below.
Red/Purple Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are usually red when the skin has just started stretching. Which means that if action is taken, the skin can go back to its former state and silvery, permanent stretch marks can be avoided. Topical creams usually help in restoring the collagen to the skin and re-moisturizes it, preventing further damage from occurring. Some people also opt for laser surgeries like ‘pulsed dye’ that also work equally well in restoring the suppleness to the skin and reducing potential scarring.
However, doctors don’t recommend the use of these treatments for complete curing of stretch marks because that is not possible. These methods just reduce the scarring and make them less obvious.
White Stretch Marks
When the stretch marks have been there on your body for a while, they tend to become white in colour. This means that it is no longer preventable or reversible and creams or lotions will not work on them. However, there are treatments available that can help in making your skin look as polished as possible under these circumstances.
‘Microdermabrasion’ and ‘excimer laser’ are two such treatments available that can help in softening the impact of stretch marks, however, they cannot reverse them. They will not restore the collagen in your skin as in the case of red stretch marks, neither will they be able to restore them to their previous, un-stretched state.
So, Can Stretch Marks Ever Be Eliminated?
Like we’ve mentioned before, there is no way stretch marks can be made to disappear completely. Once they are on your skin, they’ll likely be there forever. But don’t lose heart. There are ways of making them less prominent and also making the skin smoother and suppler so the damage is almost like it was never there.
However, it is always a better idea to resort to natural remedies rather than opt for expensive creams that are available in the market these days. Like those beauty creams which promise a lot but don’t deliver much, anti-stretch mark creams are almost in the same category.
Here are a few natural remedies which can help you deal with stretch marks better.
1. Castor Oil
Castor oil is one of the best things to use to rehydrate your skin. It contains ricinoleic acid, which is basically a form of fatty acid that improves skin’s elasticity (2). It is also a very good remedy for acne and early onset of wrinkles.
All you have to do is take a cotton ball, pour the castor oil onto it, and rub it on the affected areas. After this, make sure you massage the oil into your skin so that it is soaked completely. Do this regularly for a month to see results.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is probably one oil which keeps coming up in all home remedy recipes. This is because this oil is simply marvelous when it comes to its curative properties! Right from diets to beauty hacks, coconut is almost ubiquitous, so to say. For stretch marks too, this is one of the best oils to use. It has cleansing properties, increases the supply of collagen to your skin, and makes skin more elastic. All you have to do is warm the coconut oil between your palms and rub it on your skin onto the affected areas. Keep massaging the area till it absorbs the oil completely. This can be done twice daily for best results.
3. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is generally good for the skin and is a natural conditioner. Which means that it nourishes and hydrates your skin, keeping it elastic (3). In most anti-stretch marks products targeted at pregnant women, you’ll see the presence of vitamin E. This can be applied in the same way as castor oil on your skin. Do it daily for best results, which should be visible in a month’s time.
Have we answered all your questions about stretch marks? Let us know in the comments. And share this with your friends who you think can benefit from it!