Almost every person at some or the other stage of life experiences stretch marks. Usually weight gain that stretches the skin to accommodate increasing fatty tissue causes this scarring in skin known as stretch marks or striations. Not surprisingly it is a common feature of pregnancy. Recent stretch marks may be itchy, however the itch fades over time. Old stretch marks are felt as slightly grooved bands and cause no symptom whatsoever. Stretch marks are common, normal and pose no health risk. They are, however, difficult to eradicate. Even if you do lose weight later on the marks that have become a feature of your skin do not regress. Therefore, the easiest course of life is to accept them as normal.
Certain steps can be taken to lower the chances of developing stretch marks. The first and foremost is to maintain a healthy weight. Rapid and unchecked rise in body weight carries a variety of health risks; it also contributes majorly to stretch mark formation. In case one does require to gain weight, the process should be systematic, controlled and well-planned. This will lower the chances of stretching the skin excessively. Hydration of the skin is necessary and applying moisturizer regularly is of prime importance. Herbal moisturizers are generally preferred rather than chemical-based ones. It is best to look for moisturizers that contain natural components with healing properties such as aloe vera, olive oil, shea butter, tea tree oil etc.
Stretch marks may also be seen in people who have hypothyroidism wherein a person gains rapid weight leading to stretching of the skin. Persons taking certain medications, notably steroids, are also at an increased risk of developing stretch marks as steroids are notorious for weight gain, especially marked on the abdomen. This phenomenon is called truncal obesity. Rapid increase in muscle mass due to exercises such as weightlifting also lead to stretch mark formation and they may be seen on arms, thighs etc. Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which the adrenal hormones are overproduced and the excess levels of cortisol in blood also contribute to obesity. The stretch marks in this case are pink or purple and occur mostly on the abdominal area.
In pregnancy, stretch marks are bound to occur as the abdomen increases in girth to accommodate the growing fetus. Olive oil is generally considered as the best medicine for pregnancy stretch marks. It is suggested that regular massaging of the body with olive oil lowers the probability of developing stretch marks. A well-hydrated body with appropriately nourished skin is definitely at a greater advantage than a body that is unhealthy or dehydrated.
Intake of retinol (vitamin A) has some correlation with reduced stretch mark formation. This is because vitamin A directly affects the skin and makes it smoother. Collagen is also known to keep the skin smooth and taut and food items rich in this protein can help reduce stretch mark formation. Eggs, dairy products, fish along with citrus fruits, broccoli, green vegetables together enhance the production of collagen. Retinol creams are also available that may be of some use as external medicine for stretch marks removal. However, in the case of pregnant women it is best to get the correct dosage of vitamin A prescribed by a qualified physician so as to avoid overdose. Pregnancy is a sensitive state of the body and no risks should be taken as regards diet and supplements.
It is said that application of coconut oil over the skin also helps inhibit stretch mark formation. This also helps tackle dehydration of the skin and causes smoothening. It can be applied to the skin twice a day for best results. Another useful method is to apply aloe vera over the stretch marks. It is best to procure fresh aloe vera gel from the plant rather than resorting to store-made creams with a variety of added chemicals. Aloe vera plants are easy to find, as they are being increasingly planted for both ornamental and practical purposes. Remove the thorn from the succulent leaf with a knife and slice off the skin. Cut the flesh of the leaf into smaller pieces and grind it in a blender. You will get fresh gel from the plant that can be safely stored in a refrigerator. You can apply this gel on your skin twice a day and gently massage the marks. Such home remedies are best continued consistently for prolonged periods of time.
For cases where home remedies do not lead to stretch marks removal medicine in homeopathy is also available and can be applied safely with good results. Homeopathic medicine for stretch marks is safe to use and shows satisfying results when used consistently. The best medicine for stretch marks in India is manufactured by Dr Willmar Schwabe and is available at licensed homeopathic dispensaries as well as online on Schwabe India website. Silicea Pentarkan manufactured by Schwabe India is widely used by homeopaths as the best medicine to remove stretch marks. It has a direct effect on connective tissues, especially skin, hair and nails. Distension marks and loosening of skin with poor elasticity can be effectively treated by this remedy. Generally, it is prescribed as one to two tablets twice or thrice a day. It must be regularly taken for an extended period of time for reliable results. No side effects of this medicine have been seen and it is safe for consumption for both children and adults. Pregnant women benefit greatly from this medicine during and after delivery. There are no known contraindications. Also, it is safe to consume along with other homeopathic treatment that may be going on. It does not interfere with the action of allopathic drugs either.
Generally, laser surgery is suggested for the stretch marks that are persistent and show no reaction to any home remedies. Laser is used to burn the stretch marks and new skin takes their place. This process leads to gradual fading of the marks and has been known to have effective results in a few sittings. However, it is a costly procedure and may not be accessible to everyone. It may also be contraindicated in various situations. Homeopathic treatment, on the other hand, is cost effective, safe for everyone, and easily accessible.