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10 Simple Home Remedies For Removing Pregnancy Stretch Marks

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
10 Simple Home Remedies For Removing Pregnancy Stretch Marks November 7, 2017

Pregnancy is one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life, but the stretch marks that come with it – not so much! Well, we have some good news for you! You can easily get rid of them by following simple home remedies. This article talks about various solutions for this cosmetic skin problem.

Stretch marks occur when our body suddenly gains or loses excess weight. During pregnancy, with the baby growing inside the womb, the skin stretches beyond its capacity, leading to those ugly looking stretch marks. It is always better to treat them as early as possible. That’s because when the stretch marks are at an early stage, they respond best to any treatment.

There are many chemical and surgical treatments available to remove stretch marks like vascular laser, fractional laser treatment, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), etc. However, these treatments have a lot of risks attached and are expensive. It is always advisable to opt for safer home remedies which are as effective and a lot cheaper. Read on to know more!

Simple Home Remedies For Pregnancy Stretch Marks

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Pregnant women are scared to think that their stretch marks will never disappear. Fret not, dear ladies, for we bring you some easy and natural solutions to make those stretch marks vanish forever. Don’t expect a change overnight, though. You need to follow these home remedies regularly to notice the difference.

How To Get Rid Of Pregnancy Stretch Marks

  1. Using Natural Oils
  2. Cocoa Butter
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Petroleum Jelly
  5. Dry Brushing
  6. Glycolic Acid
  7. Egg Whites
  8. Coffee Beans
  9. Apple Cider Vinegar
  10. Baking Soda And Lime

No More Stretch Marks With These Remedies

1. Using Natural Oils

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Carrier Oil Options –

  • Almond Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Mustard Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Castor Oil

Essential Oil Options –

  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Prepare a DIY moisturizer by mixing a few drops of your favorite essential oils with a carrier oil. Some recommended combinations are:
  • Almond oil or coconut oil with grapeseed and rosehip oils
  • Castor oil or jojoba oil with evening primrose, hemp seed, and lavender essential oils
  1. Massage the affected area with this oil for a few minutes.
  2. Leave the oil on for as long as possible.

You can intensify the effect of the oils by wrapping the area in plastic sheets (e.g. klin wrap) and place a hot water bottle over it for a couple of minutes.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply this oil blend twice a day regularly.

Why This Works

The oil massage will keep the skin moisturized, which increases its elasticity and helps to heal scars quickly. The carrier oils provide nourishment and hydration, whereas the essential oils provide antioxidants and healing compounds (1). The damage caused due to the stretching can be reversed if this remedy is used twice a day without fail.

[ Read: Use Olive Oil To Get Rid Of Stubborn Stretch Marks ]

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2. Cocoa Butter

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Organic cocoa butter or shea butter

What You Have To Do

Massage the affected area (like your tummy, chest, and thighs) with organic cocoa butter. You can also use shea butter.

How Often You Should Do This

Reapply either of the body butters twice a day.

Why This Works

Both cocoa butter and shea butter are rich sources of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids that are easily absorbed into the skin. They hydrate the skin and replenish the skin cells. Shea butter contains vitamins A and E as well, which improve the elasticity of the skin and prevent dryness (2, 3). A combination of these two butters also works well for pregnancy stretch marks.

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3. Aloe Vera

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

An aloe vera leaf

What You Have To Do
  1. Cut the aloe leaf and extract the gel.
  2. Apply it to the affected area and massage until it is absorbed into the skin.
  3. Do not rinse it away.
How Often You Should Do This

This remedy should be used twice daily.

Why This Works

This is one of the best natural methods to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Aloe vera gel promotes healing and shows visible results in a few days. It also soothes the skin and keeps it hydrated (4). However, this remedy works for early-stage stretch marks only.

[ Read: How Should You Use Aloe Vera To Treat Stretch Marks ]

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4. Petroleum Jelly

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Petroleum jelly

What You Have To Do

Apply the petroleum jelly on the stretch marks and massage for 5-10 minutes.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every night before going to bed.

Why This Works

Petroleum jelly is an occlusive agent, which means that it locks in moisture in the skin. This heals dry and stretched skin (5).

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5. Dry Brushing

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Body brush (with soft, natural bristles)

What You Have To Do
  1. Gently brush the affected area with the dry brush using circular upward motions.
  2. Continue brushing for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Shower as usual and apply a good moisturizer.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every day before taking a bath.

Why This Works

Dry brushing stimulates blood and lymph circulation. This causes enough nutrients to reach the stretch marks. It also helps in easy and better elimination of toxins from the area. Dry brushing enhances the functionality of the oil and sweat glands and exfoliates the dead skin cells. This gives you smooth, soft, and blemish-free skin (6).

Caution

Be very gentle with the brush around the pregnancy stretch marks as the skin is already irritated and sensitive.

VIDEO: How To Remove Pregnancy Stretch Marks Naturally? ]

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6. Glycolic Acid

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Glycolic acid cream

What You Have To Do

Use this cream on the affected areas as recommended on the box.

How Often You Should Do This

Reapply once or twice a day.

Why This Works

Glycolic acid is known to increase the collagen production in the skin. This helps to increase the elasticity of the skin, thus preventing the appearance of stretch marks after pregnancy. Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), one of the main constituents of chemical peels (7).

Caution

Glycolic acid cream can be bought from medical stores. However, consult your doctor before using it.

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7. Egg Whites

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1-2 egg whites
  • A pastry brush
What You Have To Do
  1. Beat the egg whites lightly and apply with the brush on the affected areas.
  2. Let it dry naturally.
  3. Rinse with cool water and moisturize.

Add a couple of drops of coconut oil or almond oil to the egg white for added benefits.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this egg white pack every day for best results.

Why This Works

The enzymes in egg whites increase the skin’s elasticity, causing the stretch marks to fade away in due course of time (8, 9).

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8. Coffee Beans

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1/2 cup ground coffee beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the coffee grounds and oil.
  2. Use this mixture as a scrub on the affected areas. Massage gently in circular motions for best results.
  3. Leave the scrub on for five minutes and then rinse with water.
How Often You Should Do This

The coffee beans scrub can be used 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

The caffeine from the coffee grounds can easily penetrate your skin and revitalize the skin cells by stimulating circulation. This, along with the olive oil, ensures that plenty of nourishment is supplied to the affected area to heal the stretch marks. Coffee also contains antioxidants that reverse the damage and offer photoprotection (10).

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9. Apple Cider Vinegar

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Spray bottle
What You Have To Do
  1. Dilute the vinegar with water and pour it into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray it on the stretch marks and let it dry naturally.
  3. Leave it on overnight.
  4. Shower as usual in the morning and follow up with a good moisturizer.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every night, before going to bed.

Why This Works

ACV is good for healing scars and blemishes. It works on the stretch marks and lightens them (11).

Caution

If you have sensitive skin, add one cup of water to one cup of ACV. Further dilution will reduce the strength of the vinegar.

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10. Baking Soda And Lime

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime/lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the ingredients and apply the mixture on the stretch marks.
  2. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes and then remove using a gentle scrubbing motion.
  3. Rinse with water.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 3-4 times a week.

Why This Works

Baking soda is a natural skin exfoliator. It removes the layer of damaged and dead skin cells (12). Lemon (or lime) juice possesses skin bleaching properties that will fade away the stretch mark scars (13).

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Stretch marks can ruin your mood easily during an already difficult phase of your life. You want to concentrate on your baby and the happiness he/she will bring along. So, use these remedies and don’t let the stretch marks bother you anymore. As mentioned before, there are cosmetic treatments available in the market to remove stretch marks after pregnancy. We have outlined the main ones for you below.

Treatments Post Pregnancy

Retinol is the main ingredient in over-the-counter ointments for stretch marks. It works by trying to stimulate collagen production. However, it can only be used after pregnancy to fade those stretch marks. This is because retinol, if used during pregnancy, can cause congenital disabilities. It can take six weeks for the retinol to show its results. Don’t expose your skin to the sun while treating it with retinol because it might cause burning.

If retinol treatment is causing skin reactions, opt for other over-the-counter ointments or lotions like:

  • Vitamin C
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Centella asiatica

These creams can help you in your quest to remove stretch marks. It is best to consult your doctor before applying them.

Let’s now look at how exactly stretch marks are formed.

Reason Behind Stretch Marks

Stretch marks occur when the skin can’t keep up with the pace with which the body grows during pregnancy. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks. Stretch marks are most commonly found on the belly and breasts since these are the two areas that grow the most during pregnancy. Stretch marks can show up on the thighs, buttocks, and upper arms as well.

The marks are reddish or purple in the beginning, but they fade after pregnancy and become white or gray. When the stretch marks are red, purple or brightly colored, they are called striae rubra and are easier to treat. Once they fade and become silvery white, they are known as striae alba. It becomes very difficult to treat them in this phase.

If your mother had stretch marks, there are high chances of you getting them as well, since genetics also play a role here. You may have skipped stretch marks during adolescence, but you can’t avoid them during pregnancy. Neither are there any preventive measures. All you can do is treat those stretch marks as soon as they begin to appear.

Those who have a light complexion will get pinkish stretch marks, and those who have a darker complexion will get stretch marks that are lighter than their skin tone. If not treated, they become scars that can bother you later. The best thing you can do is to keep your skin hydrated always. This will prevent dryness and itchiness during pregnancy and also minimize the number of stretch marks as well.

Follow these tips to prevent and fade away stretch marks easily.

14 Tips To Cure Stretch Marks

  1. Studies have shown that people who use a good moisturizer showed a lot of improvement in skin elasticity and appearance. If your skin is well hydrated, it is less prone to suffer from wear and tear. Use moisturizing lotions on new stretch marks or on areas where you think you might get stretch marks. Using a lotion on old stretch marks might improve their appearance, but it will not be as effective as using it on fresh ones.

If the chemicals in the over-the-counter creams are bothering you, make your own moisturizer as mentioned in the remedies listed above.

  1. Add vitamin E oil to any unscented moisturizer and apply it to reduce stretch marks.
  2. Massage egg oil regularly from the first trimester since this can prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Gently massage egg oil over the abdomen twice a day, starting from the eighth week of pregnancy until six months after delivery.
  3. Increase your vitamin C intake. Dermatologists suggest that 500 mg of vitamin C should be taken as oral supplement(s) to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Vitamin C helps in collagen production and removes the early-stage stretch marks. Use topical glycolic acid along with vitamin C to reduce stretch marks. Always consult your gynecologist before consuming any medicines or oral supplements during pregnancy. It is important to know what suits you and what doesn’t.
  4. For older stretch marks, you can use SPF 60 directly on the affected areas. The tanning with high SPF lotion conceals the stretch marks.
  5. Performing exercises during pregnancy, like stretching and kegel exercises, can improve blood circulation. You can also try a combination of pregnancy yoga and pilates to maintain healthy weight. Also, prevent the body weight from shooting up suddenly. Let the weight increase gradually.
  6. Workout and reduce your weight post-pregnancy, so that stretch marks become less visible. However, don’t lose the excess weight drastically post your delivery. Make sure the weight loss is gradual and does not involve crash diets. Ramp up your exercise post delivery to tone up the skin. This will naturally make the stretch marks less visible. A tummy tuck can help temporarily, but if you still gain weight after a tummy tuck, stretch marks will appear again.
  7. Eat a skin nourishing diet that is healthy and balanced. You must be already doing this for the health of your baby. Also, start incorporating foods that can improve your skin’s elasticity. These foods can help –
  • Foods rich in antioxidants like spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Foods rich in vitamin E help to protect the skin membranes. Have nuts, seeds, avocados, and broccoli.
  • Foods containing vitamin A help to repair the skin tissues. Consume carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, and red bell peppers.
  • Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids make the cell membranes healthy, and this makes your skin glow. So, have fish oils, walnuts, eggs, and oysters.
  • Have fruits and vegetables with high water content like watermelons, cucumbers, fresh bell peppers, and celery.

[ Read: Skin Care During Pregnancy ]

  1. An adequate amount of water should be consumed. This helps to increase the elasticity of the skin. Stay hydrated by drinking 8-12 glasses of water every day. This is what all skin care experts will tell you. Have herbal teas without caffeine to stay hydrated.
  2. Don’t use harsh chemicals on your skin. Many commercial body washes contain sulfates that make the skin dry and reduce its elasticity. So, choose a cleanser that has natural oils in it, which can hydrate your skin. Coconut oil can act as a healthy skin cleanser. Rub it over your skin and rinse with warm water. Pat your skin dry. If your skin is prone to becoming dry, avoid the cleanser. Just wash your skin with warm water and pat dry.
  3. If you are going to spend some time outdoors during your pregnancy, keep your skin protected with a good sunscreen.
  4. Bio-oil (a commercial stretch mark remover) can help to remove stretch marks.
  5. You can use Vaseline daily to soothe itching and redness caused by the stretch marks.
  6. Remember, removing stretch marks is a cosmetic procedure, just like liposuction and breast surgery. So, think about the pros and cons before going for such treatments. A talk with your doctor can be helpful in this regard.

Precautions

  • Always check the ingredients list before applying a new product. This is very important when you are pregnant or nursing.
  • Some treatments, such as cream solutions, may not be hypoallergenic and can induce allergies.
  • Most treatments are partially effective. So, set realistic expectations as stretch marks are permanent in nature.

Here are a few common doubts answered by our experts.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

When do you start getting stretch marks during pregnancy? What week do stretch marks often appear?

Stretch marks usually start to appear during the second trimester of your pregnancy as this is the time the skin starts stretching quite a bit. However, this time may differ for different women as genetics also play a major role in your tendency to develop stretch marks. Some women might not develop any till way later in their pregnancy. Speak to your mother to know when she got her stretch marks. It is likely that you will get them around the same time.

Why are some stretch marks red and some white?

When the skin stretches beyond its capacity, it results in stretch marks. These textured lines are initially red. As time passes, the stretch marks become older, the redness fades, and you see that the lines have become white or silvery. This is a natural process where the untreated stretch marks fade away and become difficult to get rid of.

Can stretch marks go away if you lose weight?

When you gain excess weight, it is highly likely that you will develop stretch marks. Losing that excess weight is essential to maintain a healthy body. But unfortunately, the stretch marks will not go away completely. They will fade or become less noticeable.

How long does it take for stretch marks to go away after giving birth?

Stretch marks will not completely go away after childbirth, but they will certainly start fading. In 6-12 months, they will become less noticeable and become almost invisible. Take proper care of your skin during and after pregnancy to help your skin heal quickly.

Are stretch marks hereditary?

Whether you develop stretch marks or not depends mostly on how healthy your skin and diet are. But, sometimes, even after taking utmost care, you see these annoying marks cropping up on your belly. This is because genetics also play a role here. If your mother had stretch marks during her pregnancy, there are definitely chances of you having them too.

There are various treatments and over-the-counter creams that can help fade those stretch marks. Some women embrace their new skin, but most complain about the stretch marks. It is best to act on the stretch marks when they are red in color. The soothing home remedies mentioned in this article can do wonders. Don’t neglect those stretch marks and flaunt a flawless skin throughout your pregnancy.

Now that you know how to get rid of pregnancy stretch marks, its time you try these remedies. Hope you find this article helpful. Do share your experience in the comment section given below.

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