Stretch marks are visible lines on the skin surface, with an off-color hue. Stretch marks are mainly found in the abdominal wall, but can also occur over the thighs, upper arms, buttocks, and breasts.
Sometimes stretch marks can cover large areas of the body. While pregnancy is the main cause behind stretch marks, other reasons can be sudden gain or loss in weight, abnormalities in collagen formation, heredity factors, stress and changes in physical conditions.
Stretch marks form in the dermis or middle layer of the skin when the connective tissue is “stretched” beyond the power of its flexibility due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin.
As skin is stretched, the collagen is weakened and its normal production cycle is interrupted and damaged. This ultimately results in fine scars under the top layer of the skin.
It’s important to remember that stretch marks are both normal and common. In addition to this, they can’t be completely erased. However, using certain oils might lighten their appearance with time.
Here are 5 essential oils you can use to make those stretch marks fade away:
1. Lavender oil
Lavender essential oil is known for its wound healing abilities. Research suggests that it could increase collagen production and help in the formation of granulation tissue, a tissue that forms over raw, broken skin during wound healing. This, in turn, is believed to help deal with new (red and purple colored) stretch marks and prevent new ones from forming.
2. Lemon oil
Lemon essential oil is a part of most stretch marks-busting remedies due to its ability to fight damage caused by free radicals in the skin and prevent the death of cells that produce collagen and keratin, the building blocks of skin. It also increases the absorption of anything that you combine with it.
3. Neroli (Bitter orange tree) oil
Made from bitter orange tree blossoms, neroli oil has been used in folk medicine to lighten skin and improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Current research indicates that this oil has antioxidant properties which aid in skin cell regeneration and wound healing, both of which contribute to improving the skin’s appearance
4. Rose and rosehip oil
Rose oil is extracted from the petals of roses while rosehip oil is extracted from the fruit of the rose plant. One study in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that rose essential oil stimulates the production of keratinocytes. These cells create keratin, the structural proteins that make up the skin’s outer layer. And since stretch marks are breaks in that outer layer, keratin is a must.
This essential oil also fixes cellulite and stretch marks by strengthening weak skin. It can also help the areas that are dry and stressed out from pregnancy. Rosehip oil, meanwhile, has shown to improve the severity of stretch marks in pregnant women with old stretch marks.
5. Gotu Kola
Also known as Brahmi and Asiatic pennywort, Gotu Kola is used in Ayurveda to treat skin ailments. Current research indicates that compounds in this herb help increase collagen production and improve skin’s tensile strength, aiding in the reduction of stretch marks and preventing future ones.
In one study, 100 pregnant women were divided into two groups. One group was given a topical cream containing Gotu Kola while the other was given a placebo cream. Of the 80 women who completed the study, just 14 women of the Gotu kola group developed stretch marks compared to the 22 women in the placebo group.
How to use essential oils to treat stretch marks
To treat stretch marks, use essential oils in a homemade blend. Dilute 5-10 drops of essential oils in 1 tablespoon of a carrier. Remember, essential oils are made at high concentrations, so it’s important to do this. Carrier oils that you can use include coconut, grapeseed, olive, and almond oil. Rub the mixture onto the stretch marks until fully absorbed.
You can also exfoliate with essential oils. This will scrub away dead skin cells and lighten up dark streaks, making the marks less noticeable. To exfoliate with essential oils and remove stretch marks, try this recipe.
- Start with 2 cups of a natural exfoliant like sugar or sea salt.
- Combine with 1 cup carrier oil like olive, avocado, or sunflower oil.
- Add 10-15 drops of essential oils and mix well.
Note: Always do a patch test when using a new essential oil. You might be allergic and not even know it! Also, after using these oils, avoid the sun since they’re phototoxic and can cause irritation when exposed to sunlight. Be safe and use these oils at night before bedtime.
By using essential oils for stretch marks, you can ditch the expensive creams. You’ll expose yourself to fewer chemicals, too. Using the oils will also double as pleasant aromatherapy.