When it comes to our skin, what we see in the media doesn't always accurately reflect reality. The truth is, "normal" skin is not necessarily "perfect" skin--at least, not the way advertising companies portray "perfect." Blemishes, including stretch marks and scars, are normal, common, and (here's a little-known-secret) not really that big of a deal. That said, every person deserves the right to feel sexy, confident, and comfortable in his or her own skin. To this end, there's nothing wrong with looking for safe, effective, and natural remedies that can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. From stretch mark cream, to scar cream, to good old-fashioned hydration and happiness, we've got you covered on how to cope with those tough-to-love skin "imperfections."
Scars and stretch marks are natural and healthy signs of your body's innate healing process. Scarring happens after the deep, thicker layer of your skin (called the dermis) becomes damaged. This triggers your body to produce collagen, which is a protein-based fiber used to heal the damaged skin after the initial wound has fully healed. These collagen fibers, which often look and feel different compared to surrounding skin, are what make up scar tissue.
Anything from burns to acne to surgical incisions can result in a scar. Stretch marks (known clinically as striae) are a unique type of scarring that happens when the skin has to stretch faster than its natural growth rate normally allows. This causes the dermis layer to tear, resulting in stripe-like scars, usually located on the stomach, breast, flank, and buttocks. This happens for a variety of reasons, including growth spurts, rapid weight loss or gain, and pregnancy. In fact, it's believed that the majority of women who become pregnant will develop at least a few stretch marks somewhere on their body. A small price to pay, sure, for the art of bringing a child into the world--but there's no harm in looking for ways to reduce their appearance nonetheless.
Scars and stretch marks tend to change color and fade over time--but we don't blame you for wanting to help speed the process along!
Keep your friends close, and your water bottle closer. It's generally agreed by dermatologists, doctors, and make-up artists alike--beautiful skin starts from within. Drinking enough water throughout the day is the number one way to maintain beautiful skin. Compared to the skin of someone who doesn't drink enough H2O, well-hydrated skin is softer, smoother, and more pliable. This helps even out your skin tone and minimize the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and other blemishes. Plus, drinking enough water doesn't just improve the appearance of stretch marks you already have; research suggests that it can prevent stretch marks from developing in the first place. A basic prescription for water intake: drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces daily, and more if you exercise or have a physically demanding job.
Massage and exfoliate. The new collagen fibers that form scars and stretch marks are less flexible than normal skin. Gently massaging and exfoliating a fully-healed scar or stretch mark can help reduce its appearance and improve its pliability. It also improves scar tissue formation by increasing blood flow to the area and stimulating cellular repair and regeneration. Natural choices, like sugar, jojoba beads, coffee grounds, or natural skin exfoliant products work best, since synthetic versions can be far too harsh on delicate skin. Try rubbing a small handful of your exfoliant of choice on your scars or stretch marks using a gentle circular motion with your fingers. Best results seem to come with regular 8-10 minute sessions for at least a few weeks.
Go for natural, chemical-free topical stretch mark cream or scar cream. The internet is full of at-home topical remedies that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. From egg whites to lemon juice, the choices for DIY stretch mark cream and scar cream are endless. And while there's definitely some cases to show that these homemade products can work, you're more likely to find success by using quality ingredients carefully curated by holistic skincare professionals. When selecting your product, be sure to look for natural, chemical- and additive-free lotions, like artnaturals® Stretch Mark And Scar Cream. This naturally healing lotion, made with organic ingredients including shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera, Japanese green tea, and jojoba oil, is infused with Vitamin E and Vitamin B5 to help smooth out and fade scarred and stretched skin. Much like adequate hydration, high-quality stretch mark cream or scar cream can both treat and prevent scarring.
The important thing is finding what works for you. An added benefit is that most of these tried-and-true techniques for improving the appearance of stretch marks and scars is actually good practice for the health and appearance of your skin overall.
Even if you have a scar or a stretch mark you haven't yet learned to love, it's clear that there are plenty of options for speeding along the fading process with natural, safe, and effective methods. At the risk of sound a bit too cheesy, however, let us remind ourselves that perhaps the best way to cope with your so-called flaws and feel confident and sexy in your own skin is to practice the mindset of already feeling confident and sexy exactly as you are. How many of us have had thoughts like, "I hate my stretch marks" or "I wish this scar would go away"? The truth is, it's perfectly okay to see something about yourself that you want to improve upon. But if you learn to approach your skin care goals with an attitude of self-love rather than self-criticism, then you're way more likely to be kind to yourself during the time it takes for your scars and stretch marks to fade.
Bottom line: treat your skin--and yourself--kindly, and look for natural products that will enhance your natural beauty.