We generally associate stretch marks with pregnancy, but that is not the only cause of stretch marks. Our skin is the first organ that shows signs of ageing like wrinkles or stretch marks. However, stretch marks are not only caused due to ageing, but also due to obesity, sudden increase in height, sudden weight gain or loss, etc.
Why do we get stretch marks?
Stretch marks are a type of scar that occur when the skin fails to resume normal form after a sudden intense growth like in the case of pregnancy, weight gain or loss or puberty. Certain medical conditions can also cause stretch marks. It is also found that use of corticosteroid creams and lotions for a long period of time reduces the collagen level in the skin. Collagen strengthens the dermis, and a decrease in collagen usually increases the risk of stretch marks. Stretch marks usually appear on the stomach, thighs, hips, upper arms, and back.
According to Ayurveda, the cause of all skin disorders is due to weakened digestive fire or agni, which is caused by incorrect diet and lifestyle. When our digestive fire gets imbalanced, the undigested food converts into toxins or ama. These toxins circulate throughout our body and get deposited on the tissue, which causes different skin disorders.
Ayurveda believes that skin disorders can be eliminated or significantly reduced. It believes that correct diet, lifestyle, medicinal herbs, and detox treatments like Panchakarma help significantly.
Aloe Vera has many healing properties and is known to help regenerate the skin. Take out the gel from the Aloe Vera leaf and massage it over the stretch marks. Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes, and then wash it off. Repeat it daily till you see results.
Castor oil: Massage castor oil on the stretch marks. It will provide nourishment and moisture the skin, thereby healing the skin slowly. Massage the affected area twice a day for good results. Keeping the scars moisturised will eventually make them less visible.
Almond oil and coconut oil work wonders on the skin as they have excellent healing properties. Mix both together in equal proportions and massage it on the stretch marks regularly.
Sesame oil: Mix sesame oil with almond oil and massage it gently over the stretch marks. This will help lighten the marks.
Sandalwood helps the skin to cool down, and improves the elasticity of the skin.
Lemon juice and cucumber: Make a paste of lemon juice and cucumber and apply on the affected area. It will lighten the marks.
Potato juice contains enzymes and starch that lighten the skin. Apply potato juice on the skin regularly to lighten the stretch marks.
Sugar scrub: Exfoliating the skin with sugar scrub will remove dead skin cells and help in fading out the stretch marks. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and sugar to form a thick paste. Apply it on the stretch marks and rub it for at least 10 minutes. Then wash it off.
Gotu kola is a herb that has medicinal properties. It is known to cure skin conditions like scars, pigmentation, and rashes. A study found that gotu kola increases collagen production, which in turn, increases the elasticity of the skin. This helps in healing stretch marks, and stops new ones from coming.
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to improve the elasticity of the skin. It will eventually reduce stretch marks and prevent new ones to appear.
Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants that cause skin scars to heal faster. Consume adequate intake of vitamin C to ensure that your stretch marks heal faster. Citrus fruits, peas, pineapples, spinach, tomatoes are all excellent sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin E is also a rich source of antioxidants that fight free radicals. Fruits like papaya, avocado, hazelnuts, olives and vegetables like pumpkin, parsley, are excellent sources of vitamin E.