Coconut Oil for Stretch Marks – Benefits And Uses

by Ramona Sinha

Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and bactericidal and has multiple skin benefits. It is mainly due to the presence of free fatty acids, including lauric, palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids (1). Coconut oil is also widely used to improve the appearance of stretch marks. However, it cannot erase them. In this article, we will discuss how coconut oil may help and how you can use it for stretch marks.

Does Coconut Oil Work For Stretch Marks?

It may help. There is no scientific evidence to prove that coconut oil can help reduce stretch marks. However, coconut oil can help improve the appearance of the stretch marks.

A study states that the application of emollients and moisturizers is critical in improving stretch marks (2). Well-moisturized and hydrated skin are more elastic than dehydrated skin. Keeping the skin moisturized may help minimize the occurrence of stretch marks and also prevent them.

Coconut oil may help reduce stretch marks due to the following benefits:

  • It has moisturizing properties: Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer. It helps improve the skin barrier by reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) or loss of water from the epidermis, thus keeping the skin hydrated (3).
  • It boosts collagen development: It stimulates fibroblasts and promotes collagen production (which is vital for wound and scar healing) (4).
  • It protects the skin from UV damage: It protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV exposure (which is crucial for scar recovery) (4).
  • It is anti-inflammatory: It has anti-inflammatory effects and can protect your skin from inflammatory conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and eczema (5).

These properties of coconut oil (especially virgin coconut oil) can keep your skin healthy and may also help in minimizing the appearance of stretch marks. If you want to use coconut oil for pregnancy stretch marks or any other stretch marks, here are the ways to use it.

How To Use Coconut For Stretch Marks

  1. Coconut Oil
  2. Coconut Oil And Aloe Vera
  3. Coconut Oil And Castor Oil
  4. Coconut Oil And Turmeric
  5. Coconut Oil, Salt, And Sugar
  6. Coconut Oil And Olive Oil
  7. Coconut Oil And Tea Tree Oil
  8. Coconut Oil And Shea Butter
  9. Coconut Oil And Lemon Juice
  10. Coconut Oil And Baking Soda
  11. Coconut Oil and Coffee Scrub
  12. Coconut Oil And Vaseline
  13. Coconut Oil And Egg White
  14. Coconut Oil And Vitamin E Oil
  15. Coconut Oil And Camphor

Note: Use only virgin coconut oil. If you are pregnant and want to try out any of the recipes listed below, you must consult a doctor.

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil helps to keep the skin moisturized and may reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Warm the coconut oil in the microwave for a few seconds (if it is solid).
  2. Massage the warm oil onto the affected area gently for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Leave it on overnight and wash off the next day.
  4. Repeat this every day.

2. Coconut Oil And Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has a moisturizing effect on the skin (6). Along with coconut oil, it can keep the skin healthy and minimize stretch marks.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh aloe vera gel

Method

  1. Warm the coconut oil for a few seconds in the microwave.
  2. Mix the aloe vera gel and oil well.
  3. Massage it gently onto the affected area for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Leave it on overnight.
  5. Repeat this every day.

3. Coconut Oil And Castor Oil

Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which has skin-conditioning effects (7). This combination can help keep the skin moisturized and soft.

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the two oils. Warm the coconut oil if needed.
  2. Massage the mixture onto the affected area for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Leave it on overnight.
  4. Repeat every day.

4. Coconut Oil And Turmeric

Turmeric helps to boost collagen development and can help treat psoriasis and other skin conditions (8). While its effect on stretch marks is not well-researched, it can contribute to skin health.

You Will Need

  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the turmeric powder and coconut oil.
  2. Massage the mixture gently onto the stretch marks.
  3. Let it stay for at least an hour (be careful not to stain your clothes).
  4. Wash it off and apply a moisturizer.
  5. Repeat this every day.

5. Coconut Oil, Salt, And Sugar

Salt and sugar work well as scrubbers due to their coarse texture. Scrubbing helps to get rid of dead skin cells. While there are no scientific studies to establish the benefits of salt and sugar for stretch marks, anecdotal evidence suggests that they can help reduce the appearance of these marks.

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the salt, sugar, and coconut oil.
  2. Massage the mixture gently onto the affected area for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Leave it on for half an hour.
  4. Wash off and follow up with a moisturizer.
  5. Repeat this every alternate day. 

6. Coconut Oil And Olive Oil

Although olive oil was found to negatively affect the TEWL rate of the skin and make it dry,  it was found to promote wound healing in mice studies (9). Along with coconut oil, it may keep the skin moisturized and help with stretch marks.

You Will Need

  • ½ teaspoon of virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the two oils.
  2. Massage the blend onto the affected area.
  3. Leave it on overnight and wash off the next day.
  4. Do this every day.

7. Coconut Oil And Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil helps in wound healing and reduces skin infection (10). However, its effect on stretch marks is not documented. It is believed that it is anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties can reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

You Will Need

  • 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the two oils.
  2. Massage the blend well onto the stretch marks.
  3. Leave it on for an hour and wash off.
  4. Follow up with a moisturizer. 

8. Coconut Oil And Shea Butter

Shea butter contains tocopherol, phenols, and sterols and has anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter products were found to have similar efficacy as products containing ceramides (11).

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Massage the mixture onto the affected area.
  2. Leave it on overnight.
  3. Repeat every day.

9. Coconut Oil And Lemon Juice

There is no scientific research that establishes the efficacy of lemon juice for stretch marks. However, this widely used ingredient has a bleaching effect on the skin, which may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

You Will Need

  • ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Massage the mixture onto the stretch marks.
  2. Leave it for at least half an hour.
  3. Wash off and apply moisturizer.
  4. Do it once every day.

10. Coconut Oil And Baking Soda

It is not recommended to apply baking soda on the skin due to its abrasive effect. However, it is a popular home remedy and is used for exfoliation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the harsh nature of baking soda may help improve the skin texture of the stretch marks. Avoid this recipe if you have sensitive skin.

You Will Need

  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the baking soda and coconut oil well.
  2. Massage the mixture on the scars for a few minutes.
  3. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes and wash off.
  4. Apply moisturizer.
  5. Repeat this twice every week.

11. Coconut Oil and Coffee Scrub

Coffee grounds have a coarse texture and are excellent for scrubbing the skin. The effect of scrubbing on stretch marks is not known yet. However, you may try this recipe for exfoliation.

 You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of coffee grounds
  • 1-2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the coffee grounds with the oil.
  2. Massage the mixture onto the affected area gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Leave it for another 10 minutes.
  4. Wash off and apply moisturizer.
  5. Repeat this twice a week.

12. Coconut Oil And Vaseline

Vaseline is occlusive. When applied, it prevents the moisture from escaping your skin, thus helping in maintaining hydration (12). However, due to its occlusive nature, it also does not allow any other ingredient to penetrate your skin. Using Vaseline and coconut oil together may not keep the skin moisturized, but layering coconut oil with Vaseline might help.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Vaseline

Method

  1. Massage the affected area with coconut oil.
  2. Wait for 5-10 minutes and then apply Vaseline to the area.
  3. Leave it on overnight.
  4. Repeat this every day.

13. Coconut Oil And Egg White

Egg white is a popular home remedy and is used in face masks as it makes the skin tighter. There is no scientific proof that it works on stretch marks, but you may try this popular remedy if you want to.

You Will Need

  • White of one egg
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix the egg white and coconut oil.
  2. Apply the mixture on the stretch marks.
  3. Let it stay for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Wash off and apply moisturizer.
  5. Repeat it once daily.

14. Coconut Oil And Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E helps to stabilize the skin barrier and is a potent antioxidant (13). Together with coconut oil, vitamin E can keep the skin healthy and may also improve stretch marks.

You Will Need

  • 1-2 vitamin E softgels
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Squeeze the liquid from the softgels.
  2. Mix the coconut and vitamin E oils.
  3. Massage the blend onto the affected area.
  4. Leave it on overnight.

15. Coconut Oil And Camphor

Applying camphor to the skin induces an increase in blood flow (14). However, its effect on stretch marks is not known. Camphor may help improve blood flow to the affected area and improve the overall appearance of the skin.

You Will Need

  • 2 drops of camphor oil
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

Method

  1. Mix both the oils.
  2. Massage the blend gently onto the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 2-5 minutes.
  4. Wash it off and apply moisturizer.

These are the ways you can use coconut oil to reduce stretch marks. Although coconut oil is considered safe to use for the skin, you need to be aware of the associated risks.

Side Effects And Risks Of Using Coconut Oil On The Skin

Virgin coconut oil is considered a non-skin irritant, and it is also non-phototoxic, which means it will not make your skin vulnerable to sun damage (3).

Pregnant women can also use it topically on their abdomen to prevent severe stretch marks (after consulting their doctor).

However, if you are allergic to coconut, your skin might react to it. The common signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Skin irritation

Hence, it is better to check if you are allergic to coconut oil before proceeding with any of the above methods. Also, it is recommended to use virgin coconut oil and not the refined variants available on the market. Refined oils might contain additives that are harmful to the skin.

There is not much scientific evidence regarding the efficacy of coconut oil or any other ingredients mentioned in the recipes for treating stretch marks. Most of it is anecdotal. But coconut oil may help enhance overall skin health, which may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Make sure to consult your doctor, especially if you have sensitive skin or are pregnant.

Stretch marks are normal are not a health concern. But if you do not feel comfortable, you can try out these treatments to minimize their appearance.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How long does coconut oil take to remove stretch marks?

Coconut oil does not remove stretch marks. It can only make them less apparent.

Is coconut oil good for the pregnant belly?

You can massage it onto your belly to keep the skin moisturized and prevent stretch marks. However, make sure to consult a doctor before using it.

14 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
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    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892314/
  • Management of stretch marks (with a focus on striae rubrae). Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5782435/
  • The Effect of Topical Virgin Coconut Oil on SCORAD Index, Transepidermal Water Loss, and Skin Capacitance in Mild to Moderate Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Clinical Trial, International Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24320105
  • Enhanced Barrier Functions and Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Cultured Coconut Extract on Human Skin, Food and Chemical Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28564614
  • In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335493/
  • Aloe vera: a short review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/
  • Final report on the safety assessment of Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Ricinoleate, Glyceryl Ricinoleate SE, Ricinoleic Acid, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Zinc Ricinoleate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Ethyl Ricinoleate, Glycol Ricinoleate, Isopropyl Ricinoleate, Methyl Ricinoleate, and Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate.” International Journal of Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18080873
  • Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17569219
  • Olive Oil-Induced Reduction of Oxidative Damage and Inflammation Promotes Wound Healing of Pressure Ulcers in Mice, Journal of Dermatological Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27091748
  • A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22998411
  • Patient Acceptability, Efficacy, and Skin Biophysiology of a Cream and Cleanser Containing Lipid Complex With Shea Butter Extract Versus a Ceramide Product for Eczema, Hong Kong Medical Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26314567
  • Effects of Petrolatum on Stratum Corneum Structure and Function, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1564142
  • Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5057295/
  • Camphor induces cold and warm sensations with increases in skin and muscle blood flow in human. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25451841

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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