Stretch marks can be both frustrating and embarrassing given their scarred appearance — and can develop on both men and women. They are typically found on the thighs, hips, abdomen, breasts, lower back and upper arms.
Stretch marks form in the dermis of the skin, which is the thick layer of living tissue below the epidermis. When the dermis gets stretched for long periods of time, it can break down causing stretch marks — which can look like severe scarring — to develop.
Because the skin doesn’t return to its original state due to being stretched for an extended period of time, stretch marks most commonly appear after pregnancy, weight gain or weight loss. Stretch marks can begin with a purplish coloration eventually becoming glossy and developing a streaked look.
What can you do to prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks? While there are surgical methods that are often used, I instead recommend trying natural options right at home, including making your own stretch mark cream.
This DIY stretch mark cream provides incredible moisturizing and can even be used it as a hand cream. It’s composed of several beneficial ingredients, led by coconut oil for the skin. Coconut oil is able to penetrate your skin on a deeper level than your average product because of its low molecular weight and the way it bonds with proteins. (1)
The second key ingredient is raw shea butter, which is proven to help tissue cell regeneration and softening of the skin. The American Journal of Life Sciences reported a clinical study involving 30 volunteers in which shea butter diminished various signs of aging. (2)
Also, this stretch mark cream taps into the power of essential oils, such as lavender oil that acts as both an antimicrobial and antioxidant for the skin. Make sure to check with your physician before using any new ingredients if you are pregnant.
Homemade Stretch Mark Cream
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes approximately 6–8 ounces
3 ounces unrefined coconut oil
¾ ounce unrefined cocoa butter
¾ ounce unrefined shea butter
3 tablespoons sweet almond oil
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
20 drops cypress essential oil
10 drops grapefruit essential oil
10 drops helichrysum essential oil
Using a small sauce pan, melt the coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter and almond oil on very low heat.
Once oils are completely melted, mix in the water until oils and water are combined and smooth.
Remove from heat and continue to mix oil and water until mixture cools to room temperature developing a creamy consistency.
When the mixture is room temperature stir in the vitamin E oil, lavender, cypress, grapefruit and helichrysum essential oils.
Store cream in a dark glass container. If you use a clear glass container, store in a dark place.