art_plant_large Click to view images

Stretch marks

General characteristics

General characteristics

Stretch marks (or striae) are little tears that appear in the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) after it has been stretched beyond its normal stretch capacity and results in a kind of scar. The stretched skin becomes thinner and the marks leave a depression in the skin. They tend to form as a result of periods of rapid growth or weight gain such as during growth spurts in puberty and pregnancy but can also form from use of corticosteroids or other medical conditions where adrenal output is high such as Cushing's disease. Other hormones such as oestrogen also have an impact on the occurrence of stretch marks. Common sites for stretch marks include the breasts, thighs, tops of arms, lower back and the lower abdomen. The stretch marks often start off as purplish red lines that fade to a silvery white colour over time. They are generally more common in women than men.

The exact mechanism is unclear but it is known that the stretching and certain hormones causes an inflammatory reaction within the skin that leads to a reduction in collagen (an important structural component of skin) production and a break down of the elastic components in the skin. In response to the damage, the skin produces new collagen and elastin in a repair attempt but these new layers are weaker, thinner and less well organised structurally than the original fibres. This is why the skin of a stretch mark feels more delicate and appears thinner than the normal skin around it.

Healing objectives are to try and prevent stretch marks from forming in circumstances such as pregnancy by moisturising the skin several times daily, drinking plenty of water, good whole foods and avoiding processed foods. When they have already developed, foods, herbs , gentle massage and natural moisturisers can go a long way to help.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Drink plenty of water to keep the skin well hydrated as well hydrated skin is capable of stretching further without becoming damaged.

Vitamin C and other antioxidant rich (vitamins A and E) foods can also help to keep the skin in optimum health and lessen the likelihood of stretch marks. Fish oils, vegetables, berry fruits and most other fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds are all good sources.

Foods that are rich in zinc can help to maintain the skins structural strength and therefore help to prevent stretchmarks and reduce their appearance. Good sources include pumpkin seeds, sea-foods such as oysters and crab, dark poultry meat, almonds, beef and legumes.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Gotu kola tea has a good reputation for aiding the skin and for helping to prevent and lessen stretch marks. Use a teaspoon of herb per cup and take up to 3 cups daily.

Comfrey leaf can be taken as a tea or added to a bath. It encourages the strengthening and flexibility of all connective tissues, including the structures of the skin. It encourages the production of new connective tissue so can be very useful to treat stretch marks. You can also infuse the leaves into some oil and use it to rub into the skin. If taking as a tea, use a teaspoon of leaf to each cup and take one cup daily. Avoid taking internally whilst pregnant or breast feeding, use the oil externally instead.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Some people have achieved good results in reducing the appearance of stretch marks by applying warm castor oil to them. For more stubborn or deeper marks, keep the oil warm by placing a hot water bottle over the area and leave for half an hour or so. Repeat daily until results are seen.

Raw unprocessed coconut oil can also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Rub into the affected areas daily.


  • No comments found
Add comment

Mini Cart

 x 

Cart empty
Child watering plants

 

 

 

© the wild pharma 2013 | tel: +044 [0]1435 831 525 | email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Terms of using this website