Essential oils are natural treatments effective for preventing and reducing the appearance of Stretch marks
Stretch marks is a common complaint specially amongst pregnant women and adolescents. These long white lines are not harmful and do not cause any medical problem, but they are not appealing in looking.
Although most of these lines fade significantly over time but many people want to minimize their appearance quickly.
What are Stretch Marks?
Medically, stretch marks are known as Striae or striae gravidarum. These occur in middle dermatitis when this layer becomes too stretched to the point of tearing. These stretches cause tears which appear as lines on the skin’s surface known as Stretch Marks.
Skin tearing often appears during:
- Pregnancy affecting most of the women
- Adolescent years of growth
- After quick weight gain or Loss
Initially stretch marks appear as red or purple lines and slightly raised. These flatten over time and become whitish. As per studies, women are more prone to Stretch marks as compared to men and they develop them on breasts, hips, stomach, thighs, upper arms.
How essential oils help?
Essential oils help in improving blood circulation in the body and ensures skin receives required energy and oxygen. This helps play an important role in keeping the skin healthy, as well as reducing appearance of stretch marks.
Essential oils for Stretch Marks
Essential oil does have an effect on stretch marks and are able to significantly reduce their appearance. Some essential oils may work better than others. Although there is no treatment which will get rid of them completely, but they can help reduce their appearance.
Lavender essential oil is best known for its calming properties. It is also known for healing wounds and scars. According to studies, Lavender oil increases collagen production which helps in forming new tissue cells which in turn encourages healing. There was another study done on rats, which found out that lavender oil may be helpful in reducing stretch marks. More research is required on humans though.
Neroli essential oil is extracted from the flowers of Citrus Aurantium tree, the same tree which is used for extracting Bitter Orange oil. Since ancient times, Neroli oil has been used to lighten skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As per studies, Neroli essential oil has powerful antioxidant properties which may help to regenerate skin cells and thereby improve appearance of the skin.
Patchouli essential oil is often used as a mood enhancer and is known for its healing properties which help in healing wounds and scars. Studies have been conducted on animals which show that the antioxidant properties of patchouli oil promote the synthesis of collagen which in turn helps in reducing stretch marks.
Helichrysum essential oil is packed with anti-inflammatory and cytophylactic properties and helps the skin in regenerating collagen production. This oil can be highly effective in reducing many kinds of scars.
Frankincense essential oil has been used since ancient times for its healing properties. Frankincense oil penetrates the skin easily and the antioxidant properties of this oil helps to keep skin healthy and soft. It also promotes cell regeneration and reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars.
How to Use:
Always do a patch test before applying all over to check for allergic reactions. To do patch test, apply little bit of diluted blend on inner wrist or elbow and leave it for 24 hours.
Are essential oils safe to use during pregnancy?
Stretch marks are extremely common during pregnancy and many pregnant women try to find natural ways of reducing them. However, it is unclear how essential oils are absorbed by the skin and its effects on pregnant and breast-feeding women. Until more research is obtained, it is best not to use them during pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding unless under the supervision of qualified doctor or qualified natural healthcare practitioner.
Carrier Oils good for Stretch Marks:
In addition to Essential oils which have the ability to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, there are other products as well which can help heal your skin like Butters (Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter), Vitamin E, Aloe Vera Gel and select carrier oils. These carrier oils can be applied directly on the body to benefit from their properties:
Rosehip oil is rich in fatty acids, vitamins like A, C and E, and antioxidants. It is calm and gentle on the skin and deeply moisturizes skin. it is also known to stimulate production of keratin which helps to strengthen the skin and stimulates collagen production. It is high in Vitamin A which improves the appearance of stretch marks.
Castor oil is one of the most effective oils for treating stretch marks, acne, sagging skin and wrinkles. It is a heavy and greasy oil and therefore it is recommended that you mix castor oil with other carrier oils.
Jojoba Oil is known for its healing properties and since the molecular composition of Jojoba Oil is similar to the sebum produced by the skin it is absorbed easily in the skin making it soft and supple. It is also known for its ability to help regenerate skin cells which helps to heal scars and wounds. It has high concentration of Vitamin E which also helps to prevent and reduce stretch marks.
Grapeseed oil has many benefits and is a great oil for reducing stretch marks. It has the ability to repair damaged and stresses skin tissues and the restructuring qualities helps to restore new skin cells and helps generate new tissues. The antioxidant properties help to prevent development of stretch marks.
There are numerous health benefits of coconut oil, it helps in improving skins elasticity, increases cell generation and fights off infections thereby helping in minimizing the appearance of stretch marks. Coconut oil isn’t strong enough on its own to be sued as standalone stretch mark treatment but can help improve the overall appearance of the skin. Its best to use coconut oil with other oils like Rosehip oil for a more potent stretch mark treatment.
Shea Butter is known as an emollient as it penetrates in the skin and seals the top layer, thereby trapping moisture in the skin. It is also high in Vitamin A which is known for collagen production and helps in reducing dark spots. It is one of my fav butters to use in skin care products as it is not oily in nature and has plenty of skin loving benefits.
Vitamin E Oil: Even though some oils naturally have Vitamin E, I wanted to add little more as it wonderful for the skin. The antioxidant properties of this oil protect the skin against free radicals thereby acting as an anti-aging ingredient and also acts like a natural preservative.
RISK & SIDE EFFECTS
- Essential oils are only for external use and should never be ingested
- Store essential oils out of reach of children and store them apart from other products. Some essential oils can be fatal to pets and therefore always research before using them
- Essential oils must ALWAYS be diluted before applying on skin as they are highly concentrated as can cause irritation. You can dilute them in carrier oil of your choice and the max concentration of essential oils should be 3-4%
- Always do a patch test before applying on larger areas of skin
- It is unclear what effects essential oils have on pregnant and breastfeeding women. While some consider them safe, many doctors advice pregnant women to avoid use of essential oils
- Always buy pure essential oils and stay away from fake counterparts as they wont contain same therapeutic benefits
Even though stretch marks cannot be completely removed, few essential and carrier oils can help in reducing the appearance of stretch marks and keep skin healthy. It is best to keep a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly to maintain healthy weight and keep your hormone levels regulated. Essential oils can be used as a complementary therapy to healthy lifestyle.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor chemical formulator or pharmacist. This is the DIY recipe I use personally to reduce stretch marks. Please use at your own risk.