Hungry for more all-natural beauty tips? Today we’ve got delicious picks to combat stretch marks…straight from your own pantry.
Remember the last time we ducked into the fridge to discover great anti-wrinkle items for pennies?
Well, lately I’ve been thinking about my stretch marks. (Oh come on. Who DOESN’T sit around dreamily wondering about her stretch marks? Just me…? Okay. I’m not embarrassed or anything now.)
I mean I understand the conventional wisdom on stretch marks. Over 85% of all women have them, once you’ve got ‘em they’re here to stay, they’re a badge of honor, yadda yadda.
But seriously…if we can uncover natural items to combat wrinkles and dark spots, why can’t we find a few to deal with stretch marks?
After all, like other skin issues, stretch marks result from damage. Technically, as far as my research tells me, stretch marks are scars caused by tiny breaks in the skin. And though scars are notoriously hard to combat, the skin is a self-repairing organ.
So (you know what’s coming) I did a little research. And yes, I tried these methods. This has taken me some time to compile as I wanted to give each a couple of weeks before I gave it a thumbs up. (There were a few that didn’t pass the test – look for “Stretch Mark Removal Myths” in the future.)
Hope this helps other natural mommies out there who love their children and loved their pregnancies – but the stretch marks and plastic surgeons, not so much.
1. Lemon Juice
I already knew that it lightened hair and was historically used to fade sun spots, so I don’t know why I didn’t consider that lemon juice might fade stretch marks. In fact, the citric acid in lemon juice (and other foods) is well known for its lightening properties.
Obviously this will only work for the dark color of stretch marks. I also have what I like to call “wrinklies” (eughhhhhhh) and don’t get me started on the little pooch. But we’re talking about the deep reddish/purplish coloring alone here.
Yes, I did notice a slight fade in the color of my darkest stretch marks. I began to notice it after a week or so. After two weeks, that was about it – I didn’t “fade” any more. IMPORTANT: Do NOT use lemon juice on your skin undiluted. It is drying, irritating an may leave you with a case of the unbearable itchies.
What I did: I squeezed the juice of one lemon and kept the excess in the fridge. I added ½ tsp. of the juice daily to 2 T. of my favorite lotion (I chose a cocoa butter one just because it feels so nice). I mixed well and applied.
Do this only ONCE a day only to minimize the possibility of irritation.
2. Potato Juice
My potato juice method was slow. Very slow. But it did really soften the skin and somehow made the stretch marks seem less noticeable. I’m not certain it faded the actual color of them. I have a feeling this is a gentler method and as with many gentler methods, takes longer than smacking your skin issues over the head with the stronger stuff. I was okay with that.
What I did: I grated one yellow potato (I don’t believe the type of potato you use – yellow, white or red – matters for this process) into a bowl. I didn’t peel it first, I just grated the entire thing. You could also use a food processor for this. I then transferred the potato shavings into a colander and pressed down to get the juice out. Actually, your potatoes will be very “juicy” just from grating them.
I took the juice and soaked cotton balls in it, then dabbed the soaked cotton balls onto my stretch marks. Watch out – this can get messy! I wore my bathing suit for this process. It will dry quickly and will feel a little “tight.” I left it on for 20-30 minutes per session, then rinsed it off with a washcloth.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe has been used for centuries, including medically for burns, so I felt it had some non-anecdotal, real-science heft behind it. We use aloe a lot in our house, for everything from cuts and scrapes to that little bit I like to put in my hair to keep it slicked back (darned errant baby hairs).
Theoretically, aloe may stimulate cell growth as well.
What I did: I used 100% aloe vera gel. It’s also available as a juice, which is thicker than you’d think a juice would be, so I can’t see why you couldn’t use either. IMPORTANT: If you use the actual leaves, scrape off the green/yellow part and ONLY use the translucent non-colored gel. The greenish-yellow portion can irritate skin.
I dabbed the aloe on my stretch marks twice a day. It did dry and “curl” off in spots, so I washed off the first application before putting on the second. For the most part, this method seemed to aid in the texture, rather than the color, of my stretch marks. When I stopped using it, the effects disappeared, so if you choose this method, make it part of your regular skin care routine.
4. Brown Sugar Scrub
The activity of a brown sugar scrub is in sloughing off old skin cells and revealing new ones. In addition, just the action of removing the dead skin stimulates the skin to produce new cells at a faster rate. This means healthier, more active cells and potentially, smoother skin. I can say that my “wrinklies” seem more “planed” and smooth using this awesome method.
What I did: I took 1/8 c. brown sugar and placed it in a bowl. I added 1 T. (measured) water and mixed it together with my fingers. Then I lay on a bath towel and gently rubbed it into my stretch marks, using a slow circular motion outward. You may need more if you’re covering a larger area. I was spot-treating in just one area while concurrently testing out the lemon juice in another.
Rub like this for 3-5 minutes on each area. Afterward, you’ll want a shower – wet sugar is very sticky. Follow up with a great moisturizer.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
All of the above methods worked to some degree in either lightening the appearance of stretch marks or smoothing the puckered skin. They didn’t blast the marks like a chemical preparation might, but if you’re looking to go the natural route, I’d recommend any or all of them.
It’s doubtful that any of these methods can compete with such biggies as Retin-A, glycolic acid or dermabrasion, so if you’re not hooked on all-natural, you may want to give those a try. In the meantime, I’m loving my skin care routine – and the skin itself – much more with these yummy spa-like methods.