How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks Naturally: The Best Products & Remedies
The topic of getting rid of stretch marks is a heavily debated one. While some experts swear that you can get rid of stretch marks with simple home remedies, others are convinced that there is absolutely no way to prevent, fade, or remove stretch marks (and any attempt to is simply a “waste of time and money”). So, what’s true? Can you get rid of stretch marks or are all efforts to eliminate them simply futile?
As with most contentious topics, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Those who say that you can’t get rid of stretch marks have a point: outside of prescription retinoids, powerful laser treatments, and medical-grade chemical peels, there are no other known treatments that are scientifically proven to completely eliminate stretch marks.
However, those who champion home remedies for stretch mark removal also have a point: with consistent use of the right topical ingredients, a healthy collagen-boosting diet, and consistent effort, it is possible to lessen the appearance of stretch marks over time. The problem with most natural stretch mark remedies is that they can take quite some time to work—and there is no single oil, cream, or food that will do the job on its own. Getting rid of stretch marks naturally requires consistency, time, and a variety of natural remedies from skin care to diet. Don’t be surprised if it takes six months to a year in order to notice a visible change in the appearance your stretch marks.
Also, there are just some stretch mark remedies that do not work. Collagen creams, for example, are the snake oils of stretch mark removal. Why? Because collagen molecules are far too large to penetrate the skin deeply enough; thus, they cannot increase the amount of collagen that exists at the deepest layers of the skin where stretch marks occur. Additionally, simply moisturizing your skin won’t reduce stretch marks either. While maintaining hydrated skin is beneficial for overall repair, moisture alone won’t visibly change the look of your stretch marks.
So, what natural remedies do work? That’s the question that this guide was designed to answer. While you may not be able to remove your stretch marks entirely, you can treat pigmentation and stimulate collagen production in order to make your skin appear more normal. Collagen is the key to making stretch marks less visible over time. After all, it’s damaged collagen that is ultimately responsible for your stretch marks.
In this guide, we’ll share the best skin care and nutrition tactics to boost your skin’s collagen production. The healthier your collagen supply, the better equipped your body will be to repair the damage caused by stretch marks. We’ll also share some of the best natural remedies for moisturizing, softening, and reducing pigmentation of the skin externally.
First, let’s examine what stretch marks are so that you have a better understanding of why certain remedies work better than others…
What Are Stretch Marks?
Our skin is made up of three layers called the epidermis (top), dermis (middle), and the subcutaneous layers (lower). When you get a cut or scar your skin, typically it’s the epidermis that is damaged. Many topical treatments are great at healing normal epidermis damage because they are able to easily penetrate the top layer of skin and aid our bodies natural skin cell repair process.
What makes stretch marks so frustratingly difficult to treat is the fact that the damage takes place underneath the epidermis — in the dermis or middle-layer of the skin. The dermis contains bundles of collagen fibers which are the proteins responsible for the structure and elasticity of your skin. Think of these bundles as an internal bridge that keeps our skin firm. When the skin is stretched rapidly, these collagen bundles are weakened and eventually break under the stress. Once that happens, the top layer of our skin appears stretched and wrinkled because there is no longer a strong support system of collagen underneath. Additionally, the skin’s ability to repair these bundles is impaired as well. Thus, once these fibers are broken, it is very challenging to heal them.
Some stretch marks appear red while others are white. When the dermis is stretched, the blood vessels underneath the layer become more visible from the outside—causing a reddish hue. White stretch marks result when the fat beneath the skin is made more visible due to stretching. Typically, red stretch marks will become white once the blood vessels have receded.
Any major stretching of the skin can cause stretch marks. The most common causes of stretch marks are pregnancy, puberty, and rapid weight changes. It is thought that during these bodily changes certain hormones, called glucocorticoids, are produced which can weaken collagen and elastin fibers and make them more susceptible to tearing.
Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Stretch Marks
How to Boost Your Collagen Production & Stimulate Healing
Based on what you’ve just learned about stretch marks, you can see why collagen and elastin production is crucial to preventing and repairing stretch mark damage. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Starting in your early 20’s your collagen production begins to diminish. By the time you reach your 70’s-80’s your body will produce 4x less collagen than it did in your youth! This is one of the main reasons why our skin sags and wrinkles with age.
The good news is that you can take steps to stimulate new collagen production and protect your existing collagen from damage. The bad news is that repairing and boosting your collagen supply cannot be done by simply eating collagen or slathering on collagen creams directly. When it comes to natural remedies for stretch marks, there are no shortcuts. Increasing your skin’s collagen supply is a long-term game that requires commitment. You won’t be able to try just one tactic and see a measurable difference. In order to effectively boost your collagen and repair your stretch marks over time, you’ll have to combine several recommendations and use them consistently until you get the results that you want.
Here are three ways to improve your collagen production naturally. When combined, these home remedies offer you the best chance of reducing the appearance of your stretch marks:
Remember, collagen creams and collagen supplements aren’t effective at boosting your collagen supply. The collagen molecules in creams are too big to penetrate the skin and most supplements use forms of collagen that aren’t bioavailable. Instead, to effectively increase your collagen, you’ll have to increase your body’s supply of the building blocks of collagen. The main compounds which help to promote collagen production and protect existing collagen are zinc and vitamins A, C, and E. Thus, many of the diet and skin care recommendations you’ll see below will revolve around increasing these three compounds. Here’s a quick summary of why each of these compounds is so important:
Step 1: Collagen Boosting Skin Care
How to Use Serums & Essential Oils to Repair Stretch Marks
Most topical creams and oils simply do not work to repair stretch marks.
While these creams may do a great job of moisturizing your skin, stretch marks are not caused by a lack of moisture. The root cause of stretch marks is damaged collagen; thus, the only topical treatments that stand a chance of improving your stretch marks are those that repair old or stimulate new collagen production. Here are a few serums and oils that can do just that:
(Remember, there is no one cream or oil that will reduce stretch marks all on its own. To be effective, you’ll should combine a few of the treatments listed below. Check out our DIY Stretch Mark Recipes below for some tips on how to make your own stretch mark serums & creams.)