Stretch marks are a problem that plagues many people. Both men and women, and as well as growing children can develop the distinctive red lines and indented streaks on the skin associated with the condition, and as the majority of these people know, it can be almost impossible to get rid of them.
When it comes to stretch mark treatment, there are many lotions and creams on the market that promise the best results. There are even surgical procedures and laser therapy that claim to clear the skin of the scarring.
But as with most dermatology problems, there are natural treatments and remedies that can help remove, or at least improve the appearance of, stretch marks to leave your skin looking smooth, supple and healthy.
It’s widely believed that virgin coconut oil is one remedy that is just as effective in treating stretch marks as any product manufactured by pharmaceutical companies – and not only is it cheap and has a long shelf life, it’s also 100% natural.
What Causes Stretch Marks
Stretch marks, or striae as they are medically known, are visible scars and lines on the skin caused by tearing of the dermis. The condition is linked to dramatic weight loss or weight gain, and often happens to pregnant women, teens during puberty, body builders, and even models.
For some people the symptoms may diminish, but for others the scarring can be permanent.
Best Natural Cure for Stretch Marks
Those looking for most effective treatment for stretch marks may not immediately come across the idea of using coconut oil, and if they do there isn’t much hard evidence out here supporting the idea.
However, whilst there has been very little research into how exactly coconut oil helps treat stretch marks, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from people who’ve experience great results using the natural product.
There is also a wealth of information proving numerous health benefits of coconut oil, and since many of these are related to skin conditions there’s every reason to believe the independent advice also bears some truths.
Scientific studies have found virgin coconut oil is an effective natural moisturizer that can be used topically to help treat a range of dermatology problems and damaged skin. When ingested, the oil can help control cholesterol levels, boost the immune system and even combat obesity.
Partly due to the high content of antioxidants – which helps improve the immune system and reduce the production of free radical known to cause damage to cells – virgin coconut oil can soften the skin, relieve dry and flaky patches, lessen the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, and reduce the symptoms associated with stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.
In two separate studies, researchers from at University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, India, found the antioxidant properties of virgin coconut oil helps to heal skin wounds quicker. They also found that found the oil could lower lipid levels in serum and tissues and reduce total cholesterol.
Another study at Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California, USA, found the oil effective in treating acne vulgaris. In 2007 researchers at the Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió, AL, Brazil, were astonished to find that coconut oil could reduce abdominal obesity, and two further separate studies found the oil effective as a moisturizing treatment for chronic inflammation of the skin, xerosis, and dermatitis. Similarly, these nourishing properties also keep hair looking healthy and strong and can even help control dandruff.
Furthermore coconut oil offers protection from the damaging effects of the sun’s powerful UV (ultraviolet) rays. The natural oil has a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 4, which makes it great for use a gentle sunscreen lotion, and its natural healing properties also make it a perfect post-sun care solution for sunburned skin.
Note: The low SPF of the oil is not sufficient for all circumstances. For example the Australian sun is notoriously strong and coconut oil alone would not be enough to protect the skin for even short periods of time.
Aside from nourishing the skin in several ways, the anti bacterial and anti viral properties also make the oil suitable for use as a personal lubrication and massage oil.
How to Use Coconut Oil to Treat Stretch Marks
As with many ailments, prevention is always better than a cure. So for those expecting a baby, or working out to increase/lose weight, applying coconut oil before the stretch marks symptoms appear will produced the best results – it allows the skin to stretch without damaging.
However if you’re past the prevention stage and already have prominent stretch marks, virgin coconut oil can still reduce the appearance of the scarred lines on the skin.
Coconut oil is best absorbed when the skin is still slightly wet, so applying the lotion immediately after a shower or bath is the most effective.
For the best results use only the highest quality ‘Certified Virgin Coconut Oil’ to ensure that all the vital nutrients are preserved. Look for certified virgin coconut oil that is suitable for consumption as well as external use.
Many will notice the different right away, for others it may take a little longer to see the effects. You may find 100% natural virgin coconut oil hard to come by, however it’s always available to buy online.
Coconut oil is by no means a be all and end cure to stretch marks, ironically enough, losing weight (within a safe time frame) is often cited as the best cure, since the reduced weight relives stress on the skin allowing it repair itself in a more effective manner.
It’s important to remember that the appearance of stretch marks is partly dictated by genetics, and while coconut oil can be the perfect natural treatment, it might not be able to completely get rid of stretch marks, but it will lessen the appearance of both old and new ones.