Stretch marks do not cause any health issues, but they are disconcerting for those afflicted with them. Stretch marks usually appear on the abdomen, thighs, hips and buttocks and are thought to occur when there is a break in the collagen fibres in the skin's dermal layer. That is something we can’t put that back together. They are caused by a rapid gain in weight or girth. Consequently, they are common during pregnancy, at times of rapid growth such as during puberty and adolescence, during extreme weight loss and gain, weight lifting or by medications such as cortisone.
There is a strong hereditary influence associated with stretch marks and women are two and a half times more likely to develop them than men. Stretch marks form gradually. At first, the skin becomes pink and slightly itchy. It then increases in length and deepens to a dark purple. Over time the stretch mark fades, but never completely disappears. Stretch marks are similar to scars, which affect the outer (epidermal) layer of skin, and both can benefit from the same treatments.
The best treatment of stretch marks is prevention. There is evidence that daily massaging with a hydrating lotion or body oil will protect the skin from developing stretch marks. If you are vulnerable to stretch marks (such as through puberty, pregnancy or weight gain and loss), use deeply hydrating oils to support the stretching skin. Some products that you can try are a non-greasy hypoallergenic oil such as Bio-Oil, Dr Lewinn’s Essentials Bio Care Oil or Swisse Bio Nature Oil.
The following remedies are helpful in the prevention and treatment of stretch marks and scars. Supplements with vitamin C (500mg to 1000mg per day) and zinc (22mg per day) help create and strengthen collagen fibres. Gotu kola (Centella asiatiaca) is an Ayurvedic herb with exceptional healing qualities for scars and stretch marks. It can be taken internally in tablet, tea or tincture form, or applied externally as a cream or lotion. Furthermore, coconut, jojoba, shea, almond or wheatgerm, or vitamin E oils are also helpful with stretch marks. Products that contain some of these include Elixia Body Shaper Stretch Mark Crème, Busby Liquid Gold Pure Tissue Oil, Palmers Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil, and Jojoba Company Golden Jojoba Oil.