What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are scars caused by tearing in the middle layer of the skin (dermis). Due to the rapid growth during puberty or pregnancy or sudden weight gain, the dermis is overstretched and torn, triggering the appearance of stretch marks. The common areas for stretch marks are tummy, breasts, upper arms, thighs, buttocks and hips. Stretch marks initially appear as slightly raised red or purple marks, then slowly turn into white or silver flat marks.
How to Prevent and Reduce Stretch Marks?
Without any treatment, stretch marks may disappear slowly over time, usually after some years. Preventing the appearance of stretch marks can be a tricky task to do, nevertheless, there are some botanical extracts that can reduce and fade the appearance of stretch marks effectively. In my stretch marks formula, Ultra Nourishing Repair Balm, I use plant extracts that have skin renewal and nourishing properties to help repair skin damage and lighten the appearance of stretch marks such as:
1. Prickly Pear Oil (Opuntia Ficus-Indica)
The Journal of Materials and Environmental Science suggested that prickly pear oil has significantly high content of omega 6, 7, 9 fatty acids along with vitamin E, beta-sitosterol and a trace of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Prickly pear oil helps repair damaged skin cells, smooth the appearance of skin and strengthen the skin barrier function, therefore, it can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
2. Pomegranate Oil (Punica Granatum)
Pomegranate oil is one of the favourite ingredients among beauty experts with high content of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals including ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant. A scientific review published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research suggested that Pomegranate oil has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pomegranate oil improves the overall skin conditions and reduces the signs of ageing and skin damage such as wrinkles, lines and stretch marks.
3. Chia Seed Oil (Salvia Hispanica)
Chia seed oil is the richest plant source of omega 3 fatty acids. Harvard School of Public Health suggested that chia seed contains around 60% Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), one of the omega 3 fatty acids.
Chia seed oil promotes healthy skin and helps repair skin damage like stretch marks.
4. Sea Buckthorn Oil (Hippophae Rhamnoides)
Sea buckthorn Oil is an excellent source of omega 3, 6 and 7 fatty acids that help improve various skin conditions including atopic dermatitis (eczema), acne and psoriasis, as published in the medical journal, Lipids in Health and Disease.
Due to high content of omega fatty acids, sea buckthorn oil helps fade the appearance of stretch marks.
5. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is a well-known source of gamma linolenic acid (omega 3) and linoleic acid (omega 6). With up to 10% omega 3 and 75% omega 6 fatty acids content, evening primrose oil has long been used to soothe and nourish sensitive ageing skin.
A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science showed that evening primrose oil significantly improved skin moisture, elasticity, firmness, fatigue resistance and texture. With regular daily use, evening primrose oil can help lighten the appearance of stretch marks.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in oleic, linoleic and palmitic fatty acids that nourish and calm dry skin. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggested that topical application of olive oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, wound healing and anti-cancer effects on the skin.
The skin reparative properties of olive oil can be useful for the treatment of stretch marks.
7. Rosewood Oil
Scientific studies published in the European Journal of Medicinal Plants and Mutation Research (medical journal) suggested that rosewood oil possesses anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties.
Known in aromatherapy as the essential oil to repair damaged skin, rosewood oil promotes healthy skin renewal and reduce signs of ageing and damage such as stretch marks, scars, wrinkles and lines.
8. Neroli Oil (Citrus Aurantium)
A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggested that Neroli essential oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help slow down skin ageing process.
An uplifting oil which is used in aromatherapy to promote skin's radiance and calm stressed skin, neroli essential oil helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks, wrinkles and fine lines.
To help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks faster, gently massage Ultra Nourishing Repair Balm into stretch marks everyday. Formulated with 10 active ingredients including those 8 botanical extracts to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and signs of ageing, this luxuriously rich balm can also be used on lips, hands and feet. It is safe for use during pregnancy. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you always check with your GP before you use any skincare product in the first three month of pregnancy.
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Scientific Sources: Fatty acids Sterols and Vitamin E composition of seed oil of Opuntia Ficus Indica and Opuntia Dillenii from Morocco, Journal of Materials and Environmental Science, January 2013, 4(6): 967; Pomegranate seed oil: A comprehensive review on its therapeutic effects, International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, January 2016, 7(2): 430-442; Chia Seeds, Harvard School of Public Health; The impact of sea buckthorn oil fatty acids on human health, Lipids in Health and Disease, 2019: 18: 145; Systemic evening primrose oil improves the biophysical skin parameters of healthy adults, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2005 Aug: 27(4): 243-9; Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2018 Jan: 19(1): 70; Selective cytotoxicity of Aniba rosaeodora essential oil towards epidermoid cancer cells through induction of apoptosis, Mutation Research, 2011 Jan 10;718(1-2):24-32; Antibacterial Activity of the Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora and A. parviflora) Linalool-rich Oils from the Amazon, European Journal of Medicinal Plants, 12(2): 1-9, 2016, Article no. EJMP.22901; Biological Activities and Safety of Citrus spp. Essential Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2018 Jul: 19(7): 1966.