What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks originally appear as red or purple lines along the skin, and fade over time to a grey or white color. They’re created when areas of the body–like the stomach, breasts, or buttocks–grow quickly, causing the skin to literally overstretch itself. When the skin gets stretched but fast growth, it can weaken and lose elasticity, causing blood vessels to become visible. These visible blood vessels are essentially what we know as stretch marks.
We often associate stretch marks with pregnancy, but they can also occur during other times in our lives. Many young men and women will experience stretch marks during adolescence, when they experience rapid growth.
Rapid weight gain can also cause the formation of stretch marks. Stretch marks caused by weight gain are the easiest to prevent. Make sure to eat a balanced diet and get the right amount of exercise, which will help to keep your body toned and your skin supple.
Hydration and a healthy diet may help to prevent the onset of stretch marks–as, by keeping your skin hydrated and nourished, you will help to keep it supple and elastic.
Best ingredients for treating stretch marks
There are plenty of natural ingredients that can help to naturally treat stretch marks, although many of these may only diminish the appearance of stretch marks, and not permanently erase them. As with any skin concern, we recommend combining the following treatments with some meditation and self-love. Bodies are beautiful, and although you may wish to diminish the appearance of your stretch marks, they don’t make you any less gorgeous.
1. Shea butter: Shea butter contains antioxidant vitamins A and E, which can help to heal some forms of skin damage while delivering essential nutrients to support healthy skin. Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great option for reducing redness and puffiness.
2. Argan oil: Research suggests that argan oil may help to promote skin elasticity, thereby targeting the root cause of stretch marks. While it may be more effective at preventing the formation of stretch marks than diminishing their appearance, argan oil should help to condition the skin and improve its appearance.
3. Bitter almond oil: Research has also linked the topical use of bitter almond oil with a reduction in the appearance of stretch marks. Rich in fatty acids and vitamins, bitter almond oil can help to promote healthy skin and reduce inflammation.
How to make a DIY stretch mark cream
To make a DIY cream for stretch marks with these three powerful ingredients, start with 1 cup of organic, raw shea butter. Using a fork, whip the shea butter to a smooth texture; then add one ½ tablespoon of argan oil and ½ tablespoon of bitter almond oil, and whip to combine all of the ingredients. Store your DIY cream in a sterilized container.
We recommend using this DIY cream 1-3 times per day. Warm a small amount up between your hands, and then massage it gently into any affected areas.
Camille Bond is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has interned in the film industry and the publishing industry, as well as for a political campaign. When it comes to the world of beauty and wellness, she loves researching natural skincare brands, concocting DIY recipes, and discovering new mediation techniques!