Stretch marks are your body’s natural reaction to many parts of simply living life inside a human body. If your weight has fluctuated fairly quickly or if you’ve brought a new life into the world, you may discover that you have earned your “stripes” in the form of lines lighter than your skin tone on your thighs, belly, or upper arms among other places (via Healthline).
First of all, there is nothing wrong with having stretch marks; they simply indicate that your amazing skin has accommodated all of the changes your life has inspired in your body. That said, some people prefer to find a way to decrease the appearance of these marks, and in that case, there are some at-home remedies that you can try before considering more drastic measures.
According to Be Beautiful, there are eight possible ways to help your skin heal and reduce the appearance of stretch marks, from supplements to creams made from things you probably already have in your kitchen.
Vitamin A and Sugar Scrubs are a start
Vitamin A is known for helping to reduce scarring and discoloration of the skin, which is why it is such a common ingredient in everything from acne-fighting creams to anti-aging serums.
You can either help your body tackle the issue from the inside by ensuring you are eating foods high in Vitamin A like eggs, leafy greens, and milk, or by taking oral supplements. Applying the Vitamin A oil found inside of gel vitamin capsules directly to the affected area of the skin may help as well. Alternatively, you could use creams or serums that contain Vitamin A or other forms of the nutrient like Retinol or other Retinoids to take a more targeted hit.
Another option for helping to reduce the appearance of stretch marks is exfoliation with something you almost certainly have in a kitchen cabinet: sugar. Sugar is not only a gentle exfoliant that can work as an at-home version of microdermabrasion, but it also helps the skin to retain moisture (via The Healthy). Try mixing some sugar with a few drops of Vitamin E oil, coconut oil, or almond oil to make a paste, and rub that mixture gently in a circular motion over the affected area. Do this for a couple of minutes and then gently rinse off.
Coconut Oil and Other Kitchen Staples May Help
According to Be Beautiful, you can mix two tablespoons of coconut oil with freshly-extracted aloe sap (from an aloe plant) and apply to your skin daily. Not only does this mixture help to heal scars and stretch marks, but coconut oil is proven to help prevent stretch marks in the first place as well, so if you happen to be expecting, using coconut oil on your growing baby bump can help your skin to expand healthily with less scarring.
If your stretch marks are darker than your skin (rather than lighter) another kitchen-made remedy that can help lighten these marks is a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. Baking soda is a gentle exfoliant, while lemon juice has lightening properties and is also high in antioxidants. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda and the fresh juice of half a lemon. Apply it to the affected area and wrap in plastic wrap. Let sit for twenty minutes and gently wash off. This will help to reduce the appearance of the marks over time.
Almond oil, just as it is and without any added ingredients, can also be a miracle worker where it comes to stretch marks. Actress Hillary Duff swears it changed her skin after her pregnancy. High in Vitamin E and other nutrients, Almond oil helps reduce scars and support healthy cell turnover. Apply it directly to skin daily.
You might already have these in your medicine cabinet
Another all-natural oil that is great for treating stretch marks is one you may already be using for other skin conditions like acne (via Street Directory).
Tea tree oil is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and also helps to refine skin and reduce the appearance of scarring. It is gentle enough to be used undiluted and can be applied with a cotton ball directly to the skin. You can also add a little bit of manuka honey to create a thicker healing balm and smooth it over the affected area. Tea tree oil can also help prevent stretch marks in the first place when used as a preventative during pregnancy or other weight fluctuations.
The last at-home treatment for stretch marks is one you might already be using for anti-aging on your face: glycolic acid (via Be Beautiful). This natural fruit acid known as AHA appears in many serums and creams aimed at keeping your complexion young because it both exfoliates and boosts collagen. It can be especially helpful at reducing acne scars. For all of these reasons, it is actually an ideal product to use on your stretch marks as well, especially if yours are pink, red, brown, or purple in color, like acne scarring often is.
So before you decide to shell out the money for laser treatments or other doctor-required fixes for your “tiger stripes,” consider trying some of these safe and easy at-home remedies first.
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