7 Best Essential Oils For Stretch Marks & How To Use Them

Reviewed by Dr. Preethi Nagaraj, MD DVL
Written by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

Most stretch marks fade away on their own and do not require much attention unless they are very severe. Therefore, the use of essential oils for stretch marks has been doubted by many, given the lack of scientific evidence. However, even the well-established treatments cannot completely erase these marks and only dim their appearance. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence suggests that replenishing and moisturizing properties of essential oils can effectively reduce these marks. In this article, we will find out whether these oils can be relied on in this regard, and if yes, which oils are the best to choose. Read on!

Can Essential Oils Reduce Stretch Marks?

The answer is, maybe.

There is not enough scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of essential oils as a treatment option for stretch marks. There is only anecdotal evidence claiming the positive effects of different essential oils in reducing stretch marks. Different essential oils have different skin-improving effects. When mixed with other ingredients, especially carrier oils, they may have a positive effect on your stretch marks.

A study conducted on pregnant women found that the topical application of emollients and moisturizers can improve the appearance of stretch marks (1). Moreover, the topical use of plant oils (fixed oils) keeps your skin healthy and moisturized (2). These might be the reasons for the positive effect of essential oils on stretch marks.

However, the results also depend on your skin type, so not everyone may experience the same effects. If you want to try essential oils for stretch marks, check out the list given below.

Best Essential Oils For Stretch Marks

  1. Bitter Almond Oil
  2. Tea Tree Oil
  3. Bitter Orange Oil
  4. Lavender Oil
  5. Neroli Oil
  6. Patchouli Oil
  7. Frankincense Oil

Note: These essential oils have different skin benefits and may not have any direct effect on the stretch marks.

1. Bitter Almond Oil

There is no study supporting the efficacy of bitter almond oil for the reduction of stretch marks. One study found that it has no direct effect in reducing the appearance of early stretch marks in pregnant women. However, massaging the affected area with any oil for 15 minutes daily may help reduce stretch marks (3).

2. Tea Tree Oil

No scientific research has been done on the effect of tea tree oil on stretch marks. But, this essential oil has multiple skin benefits. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that keep your skin healthy and prevent multiple skin issues. However, it can also irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions, so be careful while using tea tree oil (4). Do a patch test to find out if your skin can tolerate it.

3. Bitter Orange Oil

Bitter orange is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is effective in treating multiple health-related issues. When applied on the skin, bitter orange oil may help improve skin issues such as jock itch, ringworm, and athlete’s foot (5). Anecdotal evidence suggests that it could also help treat stretch marks.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is widely used for aromatherapy to relieve stress, anxiety, and pain. A study done on rats found that lavender oil promotes collagen synthesis to heal wounds (6). Thus, it may also trigger collagen synthesis in humans, which could help reduce stretch marks. However, more research is required for human subjects to prove the same.

5. Neroli Oil

Neroli oil is commonly used for multiple dermatological issues such as dry skin, wrinkles, acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and scars. It is used to treat stretch marks and maintain the overall health of the skin (7).

6. Patchouli Oil

When studied on mice, patchouli oil was found to be effective in preventing photoaging. It prevented wrinkle formation and reduction in elasticity and improved collagen formation (8). This collagen-boosting property of patchouli oil may help in the treatment of stretch marks.

7. Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil is widely used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for maintaining overall skin health. It helps in wound healing and stimulates the fibroblast (the cells that produce collagen) (9). Therefore, it may be of some help in treating stretch, though there is no scientific evidence that proves the same.

All these essential oils have specific skin benefits. When you mix them with other oils, they might help in reducing stretch marks.

How To Use Essential Oils For Stretch Marks?

The best way to use essential oils is by mixing them with carrier oils. This is because essential oils are very concentrated and can irritate your skin if not diluted. Some carrier oils that you can use are:

  • Argan Oil: Improves skin elasticity and skin hydration and repairs skin barrier (10)
  • Rosehip Seed Oil: Protects the skin from inflammation and oxidative stress (10)
  • Pomegranate Seed Oil: Has antioxidant properties (10)
  • Coconut Oil: An emollient that keeps your skin hydrated (11)
  • Grapeseed Oil: Has antibacterial and wound-healing properties(10)
  • Jojoba Oil: Prevents skin infections and skin aging and promotes wound healing (10)
  • Olive Oil: Promotes wound healing by stimulating dermal reconstruction (10)
  • Sweet Almond Oil: Can stop the stretch marks from itching and prevent them from spreading (10)
  • Apricot Kernel Oil: An emollient that keeps the skin healthy (12)
  • Wheat Germ Oil: Contains vitamins A, D, and E that supports the skin’s natural regeneration process (13).

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy suggests a standard dilution rate for essential oils (14).

In 1 US fluid ounce carrier oil (2 tablespoons), you may use:

  • 15 drops of essential oil for 2.5% dilution
  • 20 drops of essential oil for 3% dilution
  • 30 drops of essential oil for 5% dilution
  • 60 drops of essential oil for 10% dilution

It is best to start with a lower dilution rate. So, start by adding 2-3 drops of essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil, then increase the dilution as per your skin tolerance level.

The usage of essential oils during pregnancy is hotly debated and still being studied. One of the main concerns is that the essential oils may penetrate the skin and reach the placenta. Find out more about this below.

Is It Safe To Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy?

The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists has specific guidelines for using essential oils on pregnant women (both for massage and aromatherapy). The main concerns are the quality of the oil used and the risk of the oil crossing the placental barrier. However, if used in proper dilution, the chances of these oils harming the fetus are low (15).

The recommended dilution of essential oils for pregnant women is not more than 1% for topical application.

Since pregnant women are sensitive to smell, 1% dilution is well tolerated. Since the skin of pregnant women is sensitive, they are recommended to avoid tea tree and chamomile oils (15).

If you are pregnant, do not use any essential oil without consulting your doctor. Discuss your medical history with the doctor and use essential oils only after proper assessment and getting a go-ahead from them.

Applying essential oils on the skin or inhaling them may trigger adverse reactions. So, be careful about these risks.

Side Effects And Risks Of Using Essential Oils

An allergic reaction is the most common side effect of using essential oils (16). The common symptoms of an allergic response include:

  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Nausea

Some essential oils may also cause dermatitis (17).

Citrus essential oils also cause sun sensitivity and make your skin prone to sunburn and rashes (16). That’s why you must use essential oils under the supervision of a doctor.

Stretch marks are tough to erase. While some essential oils and carrier oils may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks to a great extent, studies are lacking to prove their efficacy. How well your skin responds to these oils also depends on your skin type and the severity of the stretch marks. If the marks are severe and old, it is difficult to get rid of them. Moreover, it also depends on how early you are starting the treatment. Usually, fresh (red) stretch marks respond to treatment.

Ultimately, it comes down to how you take care of your skin and your overall health. Try to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle so that you do not lose or gain weight quickly. Keep your skin and body hydrated.

While there is no empirical evidence to prove the efficacy of essential oils for stretch marks reduction, you may try using the remedies and see how they work. The results may vary depending on your skin type and the severity of the marks. However, essential oils may irritate your skin. So, if you have sensitive skin, it is best to do a patch test before using any of the remedies discussed in the article. Also, you may consult a doctor and undergo proper medical treatment and procedures if you do not see any significant difference within a few months.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitter almond oil, tea tree oil, bitter orange oil, lavender oil, neroli oil, patchouli oil, and frankincense oil are some of the best essential oils.
  • Essential oils can irritate your skin as they are highly concentrated. So use them with carrier oils like argan oil, olive oil, and apricot kernel oil.
  • Hives, rashes, itching, redness, and nausea are essential oil side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What oil is good for stretch marks during pregnancy?

You may use any plant oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or argan oil. They keep your skin moisturized and may reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It is advisable to start massaging the abdomen with a good oil/ cream very early in pregnancy even before the tummy starts expanding to prevent prominent stretch marks. Do not wait till the last trimester to begin using moisturizers for stretch marks.

Does carrot oil clear stretch marks?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that carrot seed oil may help in reducing stretch marks, though there is no scientific evidence to prove the same.

Does baby oil reduce stretch marks?

Baby oil is mineral oil. It may keep your skin moisturized, which might improve the appearance of stretch marks.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. 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/
  2. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
  3. The effect of bitter almond oil and massaging on striae gravidarum in primiparous women, Journal of Clinical Nursing, ResearchGate.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224976312_The_effect_of_bitter_almond_oil_and_massaging_on_striae_gravidarum_in_primiparous_women
  4. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/
  5. Bitter Orange, US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.
    https://nccih.nih.gov/health/bitterorange
  6. Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-β in a rat model, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/
  7. Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/
  8. Prevention of UV radiation-induced cutaneous photoaging in mice by topical administration of patchouli oil, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24747030
  9. Biological activities of frankincense essential oil in human dermal fibroblasts, Biochimie Open, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801908/
  10. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
  11. Emollient treatment of atopic dermatitis: latest evidence and clinical considerations, Drugs in Context, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908267/
  12. Formulation and evaluation of wild apricot kernel oil based massage cream, Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry.
    http://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2019/vol8issue1/PartQ/7-6-70-996.pdf
  13. Comparative measurement of hydration effects of herbal moisturizers, Pharmacognosy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3141305/
  14. Methods of Application, National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.
    https://naha.org/index.php/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/methods-of-application/
  15. Pregnancy Guidelines, International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists.
    https://naha.org/assets/uploads/PregnancyGuidelines-Oct11.pdf
  16. Aromatherapy With Essential Oils, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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  17. Adverse effects of aromatherapy: a systematic review of case reports and case series, The International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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Dr. Preethi Nagaraj

(MD, DVL)
Dr. Preethi Nagaraj is the medical director and senior consultant dermatologist at Twacha Skin and Hair Clinic, Kakkanad, Kochi, India.... more

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