A major complaint after a reduction of weight or following pregnancy is the appearance of red or purple lines on the surface of your skin. Though they are not particularly hazardous where your overall health is concerned, those ugly lines have a tendency to irritate and aggravate. If the unsightly appearance of stretch marks is something you want to smooth out, here are 8 ultimate remedies that are proven effective at reducing, eliminating or preventing those unwanted lines.
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an effective means for smoothing out stretch marks. A double-blind study conducted in Cumbria, England determined that women who made use of a type of vitamin E known as tocopherol were subject to fewer stretch marks.
2. Vitamin C
Smoothing out those stretch marks could be as simple as downing an extra glass of orange juice or rubbing it on. Oregon State University researchers concluded that vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen synthesis and overall skin health and vitality, which certainly helps to reduce and heal stretch marks.
3. Tretinoin Cream
Stretch marks can also be reduced and eliminated through the use of tretinoin cream. The vitamin A extracted tretinoin has been proven to significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks according to scientists at the University of Michigan.
4. Vitamin A
On a similar note to the use of tretinoin cream to remove stretch marks, the use of vitamin A, both topical and orally has been proven to also contribute to their reduction and elimination. In both cases, the retinoids found in vitamin A smooth out those unsightly lines according to research conducted at Oregon State University.
5. Sugar Scrub
Microdermabrasion making use of sugar as a scrub is also known to smooth out stretch marks. Egyptian researchers determined that microdermabrasion reduced the distribution of melanosomes and increased the density of collagen, which reduced or eliminated stretch marks entirely.
6. Aloe Vera
Though clinical studies have yet to indicate that aloe vera can cause stretch marks to disappear, there is evidence to suggest that it might keep them from appearing in the first place. Aloe vera helps in the production of collagen and elastin to help keep the skin tissue healthy and prevent damage.
7. Coconut Oil
Similar to aloe vera, which we discussed earlier, coconut oil might not get rid of stretch marks, but it has a high potential for preventing them from occurring. United Kingdom researchers noted the effectiveness of coconut oil in helping to maintain collagen production, elasticity and tissue vitality, all of which might contribute to the prevention of striae.
8. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Polish scientists point reducing your caffeine intake as also having a significant effect on smoothing out stretch marks. An insulin-like growth factor receptor associated with caffeine has been proven to inhibit the production of collagen and collagen biosynthesis.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are lines or marks that appear on the skin and are typically associated with skin changes due to rapid growth, weight gain or pregnancy. Often called striae or, in the case of pregnancy, striae gravidarum. These are not signs of any sort of nutrient deficiency or skin issue, but are merely associated with extending the limit of the elasticity of the skin, which causes the thin red or purple lines to appear.
Eventually, stretch marks fade to a liter color before turning white and then becoming entirely translucent or disappearing altogether. Though there are numerous products on the market which claim to be able to get rid of stretch marks fast, few remedies actually have the necessary scientific or clinical backing to substantiate those claims. For the most part, the best that can be expected is for the marks to fade to a lighter color.
In the beginning stages, stretch marks are a thinning of the skin which might itch. The stretching of the skin causes the fibers in the middle layer of the dermis to tear. That tearing and thinning of the epidural layer allows the appearance of blood vessels and capillaries to become visible, thus producing the red or purple shade.
A Note of Caution
There are really no dangers or risks involved with stretch marks. In time, they tend to fade away on their own. The only risk that you will have involving stretch mark remedies comes in the form of spending money on products that really do not do what they claim to be able to do. In most cases, other than the ones listed above, the claims extend well beyond the actual potential of the product.
Even laser therapy cannot completely remove the appearance of stretch marks. In some cases, laser treatments can reduce the pigmentation to a lighter tone, but for the most part, it is ineffective at making them disappear completely. Additionally, laser therapy has some associated risks of its own that ought to be taken into consideration.
Another option often tried is cosmetic surgery. As with any form of surgery, there are associated risks and side effects to be considered. Besides those risks, cosmetic surgery is only marginally successful in removing stretch marks.
If you are overly concerned about your stretch marks and impatient to be rid of them, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional in order to receive the best advice available and obtain safe, effective treatment.
Tying It All Together
A cosmetic issue which is certainly irritating and aggravating, stretch marks do not pose a serious risk to your health, but they do make it embarrassing to be seen in swimwear or in a moment of intimacy. Though they will fade in time, you can make use of one or several of our 8 ultimate remedies to help speed up the process and bring your skin back to the smoothness you desire. If you have questions, comments or other scientifically backed methods to add to our list, please leave them in the comments section below.