Home Stretch Mark Remedies
Most of us have them - those stripes of red, purple, or silver that often accompany sudden growth, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations. When the skin is forced to rapidly stretch due to a variety of factors, the middle layer of skin (the dermis) may break down, causing stretch marks (more technically known as striae). However, some people may experience stretch marks due to hormone imbalance or the use of steroid medications such as cortisone.
Although there are treatments that have been medically proven to be effective for the reduction of stretch marks - including Retin-A® therapy, chemical peels, and IPL - when it comes to home remedies for the prevention or treatment of stretch marks, the extensive variety of proposed "cures" can be downright confusing. On chat boards across the Internet, household items from peanut butter to coffee grounds are being touted as miracle elixirs. While it is true that what may work for one person might not work for another, the home remedies listed below are among the most promising treatments that may reduce the prominence of stretch marks.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are, as their name implies, necessary to human health. Since our bodies cannot manufacture EFAs, we must consume them in our diet. In addition to performing a range of beneficial mechanisms in the body, EFAs nourish our skin and help it to heal itself. Since they increase skin elasticity, EFAs are widely recommended as an effective topical treatment for stretch marks and other skin blemishes.
There are a variety of oils that contain these vital components of healthy skin. Camellia is one such oil and has gained interest recently due to reports that Victoria Beckham, Kate Winslet, and other celebrities have used the oil during their pregnancies to prevent stretch marks. Other EFA-rich oils include avocado, emu, kukui, rosehip, and shea butter.
Some essential oils have strong regenerative properties, meaning that they stimulate the growth of new skin cells. Oils that are well-known for their healing powers are neroli, chamomile, and helychrysum. Since essential oils are very potent, many herbalists advise users to add several drops of the oil to a base or carrier oil such as avocado, camellia, or almond. Also, it is important to exercise care when using essential oils during pregnancy as some may be contraindicated.
The use of fruit acids to improve the texture of the skin dates back to ancient times. One can imagine Early Man or Woman eating a juicy pineapple and discovering the acidic juice's ability to slough off dead skin cells and reveal clearer, more luminous skin. The same principle may apply to the treatment of stretch marks. By removing the top layer of skin, topically applied fruit acids may encourage the growth of new skin cells and reduce the appearance of stretch marks over time.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. When considering whether to experiment with any treatment, whether it is natural or not, however, you may wish to consult your dermatologist or primary care provider.
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