Stretch marks are one of those skin concerns that can be hard to get rid off.
They are adamant streaks on the skin that develop rather unknowingly in most cases.
There is no health risk associated with stretch marks but being a cosmetic concern, they do cause distress and apprehension easily.
But, with natural remedies and salon treatments, you can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.
Furthermore, skin clinics and dermatologists also offer many cosmetic services to treat stretch marks and cellulite as well.
To learn more about how to treat them, keep reading as we show you how.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Narrow lines or streaks on the skin that often appear together are called stretch marks.
They form when the collagen fibres in the dermis layer of the skin are damaged due to excessive stretching.
Collagen supports the skin’s smooth and supple structure and imparts the skin with its elasticity.
But, when various factors cause the skin to stretch beyond its elastic limits, the collagen fibres tear.
Lesions form in the dermis and present themselves on the surface of the skin in the form of stretch marks.
The colour and appearance of stretch marks can range widely depending on how newly formed they are.
Freshly formed stretch marks can be red, pink or purplish in colour.
They can have a raised surface and are often accompanied with associated itchiness and irritation.
Scientifically, these are referred to as striae rubra.
With passing time, the bright colour of the stretch marks starts to lighten and they become more contiguous with the skin’s natural tone.
They are often silvery white in colour at this stage or can even be the same colour as your skin tone.
The raised texture becomes flatter now and they are now called as striae alba.
Stretch marks that form due to pregnancy are called as striae gravidarum.
But, they can develop on any part of the day that experiences the excessive stretching.
The usual areas that experience this and develop stretch marks include the hips, thighs, abdomen, upper arms, breast/chest, and buttocks.
How Do You Get Them?
Any change in the body brought about by external factors or internal ones that causes the skin to stretch more than its limit can lead to stretch marks.
Other than the expansion, even the skin shrinking can cause stretch marks in some cases.
You can get stretch marks because of the following reasons –
The body goes through a lot of changes during and after the pregnancy.
As the baby grows, the belly stretches beyond its capacity.
This causes stretch marks on the abdomen, thighs, hip, and sometimes even on the lower back.
Stretch marks on the breast also form due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
When the increase in body weight is sudden and rapid, stretch marks often form as a result of the expanding skin.
During this stage of life, the body grows rapidly and causes the skin to stretch rather suddenly and beyond its elastic limit.
Muscle Growth Or Bodybuilding
Weight training to build muscles can also cause stretch marks because the skin stretches as the muscle grows.
Medical issues like Marfan Syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, and some adrenal gland disorders are associated with stretch marks formation.
They either impact the skin’s elasticity and fragility or cause weight gain due to the hormonal imbalance created from the condition.
Corticosteroid medications or topical usage, when used for longer periods of time, reduce collagen levels in the skin.
Decreased collagen directly translates weakened skin elasticity making it extremely prone to developing stretch marks.
Stretch marks prevalence can also hereditary meaning if your parents have them, you have higher chances of developing them.
How To Prevent Stretch Marks And Cellulite?
Preventing stretch marks and cellulite involves an ample amount of skin care combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Here are some helpful prevention tips:
Manage Your Weight
Avoiding rapid weight gain as much as possible is important.
In the case of stretch marks being caused due to medical conditions or an underlying issue causing the weight gain, the situation might not be under your control.
But, in most cases, it is possible to maintain a healthy weight by making some changes to the daily routine.
This is one of the easiest ways to prevent stretch marks.
Exercise regularly to keep the circulation to the skin at sound levels and also to keep your weight under control.
A healthy and balanced diet that contains unsaturated fats, healthy oils, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals can keep your skin healthy too.
When all the necessary nutrients are supplied to the skin cells, the chances of collagen weakening will be lower.
Do not subject your body any form of harsh diets that cause rapid weight loss as sudden weight gain is highly likely once you resume a regular diet.
Yo-yo dieting should be avoided.
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water on a daily basis.
Water improves blood circulation, keeps the skin hydrated and supple, and also removes toxins from the body.
During pregnancy, trying using a healthy diet and doctor approved exercises to ensure that the weight gain is gradual.
All of these prevention tips that promote skin health internally needs to be supported by external measures as well.
Applying a hydrating and moisturizing after every shower will keep the skin soft and supple.
Organic and natural moisturizers like coconut oil and olive oil can be used too as they are easily absorbed into the skin and prevent stretch marks.
Diuretic beverages that reduce moisture levels of the skin are best avoided.
These include alcohol, soda, coffee, and tea. If you cannot avoid them completely, make sure to keep the intake as minimal as possible.
Natural DIY Remedies To Reduce The Appearance Of Stretch Marks
The shelves at beauty and drugstores are laden with products and more products that claim to treat your stretch marks in just a few days or weeks.
While they might be able to lighten them slightly, they don’t offer effective treatment.
Some of these products can contain potentially unhealthy ingredients like parabens, sulphates, and silicone.
The best way to avoid these and still reduce the appearance of stretch marks is to use natural remedies that use organic and safe ingredients.
Here are our favourite natural DIY remedies for stretch marks:
Aloe vera taken out freshly from an aloe leaf is excellent for treating many skin problems, including stretch marks.
It contains moisturizing and healing components that will restore the suppleness of your skin.
It is also anti-inflammatory in nature and has healing properties.
Apply the gel once or twice every day until the stretch marks go away.
Add some vitamin E oil to it for extra moisturization.
The vitamin C found in abundance in lemon juice can promote collagen production in the skin.
Simultaneously, its natural bleaching properties will lighten the stretch marks with regular application.
Apply the juice directly on your skin and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
If you are worried that lemon might dry up your skin, make sure to apply a nourishing moisturizer after you wash it off.
Some of these highly concentrated oils can work wonders for your stretch marks.
Popular essential oils that can be used are lavender oil, sandalwood oil, tangerine oil, and frankincense oil.
Because of their high concentration, essential oils can irritate the skin and best used mixed with carrier oils like olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
Apply the oil blend twice a day and massage it into the skin.
Being rich in fatty acids, shea butter deeply moisturizes and conditions the skin.
It also has antioxidants in it and anti-inflammatory properties that improve the skin renewal and healing process.
Melt a pea-sized amount of organic shea butter in between your hands.
Apply it on the stretch marks affected skin and massage gently until it is absorbed.
Try and reapply two to three times in the day.
If you plan to use to any of these natural remedies for stretch marks during and after pregnancy, consult with your doctor first.
Some ingredients like frankincense oil are not recommended for pregnant and nursing women.
Check with your doctor before you start incorporating any of these remedies into your skincare routine.
What Salon Treatments Can You Use To Get Rid Of Them?
The cosmetic complaint of stretch marks is addressed at skin clinics and by dermatologists by means of using the latest scar removal technology to get rid of them.
These salon treatments can be performed by certified aestheticians too.
Here are the treatment options available at salons, spas or skin clinics for stretch marks removal.
Laser Treatment For Stretch Marks
Different types of laser equipment have been approved by the FDA for using them to get rid of stretch marks, scars, and similar skin concerns.
Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment
Pulsed dye laser treatment can help to lighten new stretch marks that are still red or pink in colour.
The light energy from the laser simmers down the blood vessels and this reduces the intensity of the marks.
Fractional Laser Treatment
Fractional laser is another popular equipment used for laser stretch mark removal.
The light energy goes into the deeper layers of the skin and causes injury to the tissue internally.
This triggers the skin’s natural healing process and new collagen is produced during this.
With the production of new collagen, the stretch marks that were present heal.
On the skin’s surface, these internal changes reflect in the form of lightened stretch marks.
This laser treatment for stretch marks also works for older marks that have become almost white.
The main drawback is the laser stretch mark removal cost here as repetitive sessions are required to produce the results.
A specialized tip is used to exfoliate the skin using crystals.
The exfoliation process removes the top damaged layer of the skin and also improves collagen production in the dermis.
This helps to lighten the stretch marks eventually.
This procedure is used to treat scars, wrinkles, and even large pores.
Stretch marks can be reduced to a certain extent with a few sessions of microneedling.
Fine needles are used to prick the skin.
The injury caused by the needles is healed by the skin using the natural healing process.
During this healing, fresh collagen is also produced which in turn diminishes the intensity of the stretch marks.
Best Cellulite Removal Products
The DIY remedies and salon treatments recommended for getting rid of stretch marks can reduce your cellulite as well.
However, they are not anti-cellulite in nature specifically.
The fat deposits that form under the skin and give it that dimpled appearance can be reduced using specialized cellulite removal creams.
Our top favourites for best cellulite creams are –
Soap & Glory Sit Tight Super Intense 4-D
This brand is best known for its amazing skin cleansing and moisturizing products, Soap & Glory also sells a cellulite removal cream that is great at restoring your skin’s smooth appearance.
Its active ingredients firm and tighten the skin while reducing cellulite with regular usage.
Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
The buttocks are a common site for cellulite and this anti-cellulite cream can tighten the skin and diminish those fat deposits within a few weeks.
It contains a potent form of caffeine that improves circulation and reduces cellulite.
Its nourishing cupuacu butter and coconut oil nourish and smooth the skin.
Many women even regard this as the best anti-cellulite cream in the market currently.
Clarins Body Fit Anti-Cellulite Contouring Expert For Women
Clarins is a brand that is often trusted by many women for its skin care products.
This particular product is one of the best cellulite creams because it gives the skin an instant lift.
The lower body areas which can prove to be adamant against anti-cellulite products respond well to this cream because of its effective ingredient list.
Nivea Skin Firming & Toning Gel-Cream
Our list would be incomplete without a budget buy option for best anti-cellulite cream from the drugstore.
This particular product from Nivea contains lotus extracts and L-carnitine, which deeply nourish the skin and reduce cellulite in just a few weeks.
To learn more about how to treat marks on the skin, click here to read our article on ‘Lighten Pitted Acne Scars and Body Blemishes With Natural Home Remedies.’