What are stretch marks...
Also known as striae are caused when the skin overstretches and tears deep fibres. This results in scar tissue which in turn shows up as discoloured lines across the skin, whether it’s on the breasts, stomach, hips or upper thighs. This can happen during pregnancy, fluctuations in weight gain or weight loss. Though certain conditions and medications have been known to contribute to them, stretch marks are usually a cosmetic rather than a health concern that affect both women and men of varying ages.
The Essential oil/ vitamin remedy
Yes stretch marks can fade naturally over time, both carrier and essential oils can be effective in treating and minimizing their appearance, by ultimately nourishing and strengthening the skin. Studies have shown that organic oils including almond, grape seed, lavender oil can be effective treatments due to their high content of vitamins, from A to E.
Vitamin A- when derived from animal sources is known as retinol, which stimulates the production of collagen.
Vitamin C- also known as ascorbic acid, is key to the production of collagen, a protein that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels and gives skin its firmness and strength.
Vitamin D- the great antioxidant that nourishes cell growth. Sufficient vitamin D can boost elasticity, stimulate collagen and even reduce lines and dark spots on the skin.
Vitamin E- a natural antioxidant that protects and repairs the skin, vitamin E neutralizes the effect of free radicals and other collagen-damaging substances on the skin. It also moisturizes and revitalizes the skin, which in turn can minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
It’s no wonder then that our recommendations for natural stretch mark combaters are loaded with all of the above vitamins.
1. Organic Coconut Oil
As a rich source of fatty acids (including lauric acid) and vitamin E, when used regularly organic coconut oil can be used to effectively treat a number of skin conditions, stretch marks being one of them. Equally effective in soothing dry and irritated skin as it is for treating post-pregnancy stretch marks, this nourishing emollient is gentle enough to work on delicate and mature skin. It restores collagen in the skin effectively, which can help to diminish stretch marks. Simply apply a small amount to the affected areas up to 3 times a day.
2. Organic Grape seed oil
High in essential fatty acids, organic grape seed oil is often found in many cosmetic products- from hand creams to soaps – and is loaded with levels of vitamin E, linoleic acid and antioxidants. A small amount can go a long way, so we recommend using it sparingly.
3. Organic Unrefined Shea Butter
Organic Shea butter plays an important part of a healthy skin regime and is particularly effective for treating stretch marks. With a high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins A, E and F, it promotes the natural elasticity of the skin. Organic Shea butter can easily help improve the appearance of scars, discolouration and other skin conditions.
As its name suggests, our very own blend of sweet almond oil, African Baobab oil and triple strength Tulsi oil amongst others puts up a good fight against stretch marks. Mimicking the properties of omega 3, Vitamin D and E, this blend of essential oils will help restore skin elasticity, strengthen and renew damage caused by blemishes and weight gain. With regular use it will also ultimately reduce the appearance of stretch marks. African Baobab oil contains high amounts of vitamin C and is often credited for being a rich source of antioxidants. Frequently referred to as holy basil oil, Tulsi oil has powerful purifying properties known to give the skin a luminous glow.
5. DIY concoction
If find yourself in the mood for mixing, create your own stretch mark prevention oil by adding a few drops of the following organic essential oils; lavender, rosehip, geranium, jojoba oil diluted with a few drops of organic almond oil carrier oil. Lavender essential oil can work miracles in repairing damaged skin tissues, renewing skin cells, and controlling sebum which is why it makes a great skin tonic. Rosehip oil too is especially high in Vitamin A and D it can help delay the premature aging of the skin such as pigmentation. While Vitamin A is essential for cell growth and D for general skin health, it is also rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids and a source of retinoic acid, which is why it has been credited for evening out the skin tone. Not only can geranium oil boost the circulatory and respiratory system, it is known as a cicatrisant, meaning it helps with the formation of scar tissue and works to fade all from age spots to acne marks and yes, even stretch marks. And finally the reigning king of versatility, jojoba oil is so deeply moisturizing and penetrative, it contains fatty acids that are essential for regeneration. Because organic essential oils cannot be used undiluted, we recommend using a few drops of organic almond oil as it is so easily absorbed and has a host of skin conditioning properties . Apply the mixture liberally twice per day to the affected areas.
Here at Fushi HQ we’ve been championing organic since day one as it lies at the heart of our ethical brand. We pride ourselves in sourcing entirely chemical free products, however the ‘certified organic’ label also makes a wealth of difference to the efficacy of essential of oils.
As the largest organ of our body, our skin freely absorbs an array of chemicals in our immediate environment but even those found in skincare products and body oils. And everything that is absorbed through our skin eventually ends up moving through our system and cause a range of allergies and health conditions as a result. Certified organic essential and carrier oils are free from chemicals, parabens and preservatives are a healthier alternative for maintaining smooth, supple and radiant skin.
Mary-Claire Akinyemi, Health & beauty writer