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Anyone who has at least one stretch mark will probably understand the desire to want to get rid of them. Of course, stretch marks aren’t dangerous for your health, but many men and women do obsess over their appearance, to the point where it becomes upsetting for their self esteem levels.
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Whilst we should certainly be looking towards accepting our bodies scars and all, if something is causing you distress, of course you should do whatever you can to try and minimise its effect. It’s a personal choice, but if you have stretch marks and you’re keen to get rid of them, or at last minimise their appearance, there are a few methods you can try.
In this article we’re going to talk about whether coconut oil actually works for stretch marks or not. Before we get to that point, let’s give a quick recap on what stretch marks are and what actually causes them, to alleviate any worries about any danger to your health.
What Are Stretch Marks And What Causes Them?
As we’ve said before, stretch marks aren’t dangerous for your health; they are totally harmless and just sit there, being their annoying selves. The problem comes when they bother you in terms of hiding away and not showing yourself on the beach or at the pool.
Stretch marks are known medically as ‘striae’, and they are caused by events in life which cause the body to stretch. For instance, pregnancy is a danger time for stretch marks because during this time a woman’s body is stretching and changing shape.
During pregnancy, it’s not unusual to experience stretch marks across the stomach and on the sides of the breasts, but this isn’t the only time when stretch marks can appear. Anytime someone puts on weight quickly, stretch marks are likely. If someone puts on weight quickly and then loses it, the marks will probably be even more evident.
Of course, it’s not just women who experience stretch marks, as men are equally as prone too. In this case it’s likely to be rapid weight gain, perhaps followed by weight loss, and bodybuilding exercises which cause the skin to stretch quickly.
The reason that stretch marks appear is because of what happens underneath the surface of the skin. This rapid stretching happens too quickly for the skin to cope with and as a result several lines appear. These are often more than one and usually run parallel to each other. When a stretch mark first appears it is a red or purple colour and is often raised from the skin. Over time, this changes to a silver line, which is often indented into the skin, or sunken down.
The lower layers of the skin, known medically as the dermis, are stretched beyond their maximum limits in this case, and tears occur. The skin therefore becomes weak and the collagen fibers underneath the skin’s layers break and weaken to a large degree. As a result. The blood vessels which are underneath this layer are able to show through, and that is why you’ll see the red or purple appearance first of all.
Many experts believe that if you want to get rid of a stretch mark or at least minimise it’s appearance, it’s best to do it when the marks are in the first stages, as a silver line is harder to get rid of. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible however, but it will take longer and require a more intensive route towards treatment. You can find the best creams for reducing the visibility of stretch marks here.
How Does Coconut Oil Enter Into The Equation?
Coconut oil is used for a variety of different uses, including cooking, but also mainly within the beauty world. Coconut oil is actually a type of free fatty acid, which is made upon medium chain fatty acids, as well as capric acid and lauric acid. That might not mean anything right now, but these all have many health benefits, as well as being anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and antiviral too.
The consistency of coconut oil means that it sinks into the skin very easily, and doesn’t leave an oily or sticky residue behind. This easy absorption also makes coconut oil useful for anti-aging reasons, but it can also be ideal for simply improving the quality of the skin, by helping to prevent damage by free radicals. If you’re looking to hydrate your skin, then coconut oil is ideal, as dry and damaged skin is targeted with ease.
You’ll find various different types of coconut oil, but it’s always best to go for organic or virgin coconut oil, because this doesn’t include added extras and it is as pure as it is going to get. This means that your skin health is going to be affected in a far more beneficial way.
Where does coconut oil come into it with regards to reducing the appearance of stretch marks. If you apply organic or virgin coconut oil to the skin on a very regular basis, e.g. morning and night, you may be able to reduce the appearance of the marks, especially if you catch them in their earliest stages, e.g. when they are red or purple. Coconut oil probably isn’t going to do much for marks that have been there for many years, e.g. when they are very silver and sunken.
Does Coconut Oil Work in Reducing The Appearance of Stretch Marks?
The jury is out.
Coconut oil is fantastic at helping to keep the skin supple and making sure that it is super-hydrated. In that case, coconut oil is ideal for moisturising, but also for anti-aging effects, by helping to avoid dryness and keep the skin as elastic as possible.
Regular use of coconut oil may help, but there is no 100% definite guarantee in this case. In many ways, it depends on how quickly you start to use it, the state of your skin to begin with, and how many stretch marks you have. Everyone is different, and that is why there are so many beauty products on the market which promise to reduce stretch marks.
Whilst most of these products are so-so when it comes to whether they work or not, anything which contains Retinol is though to be quite successful. Having said that, pregnant women should steer clear of this ingredient, because it may harm the unborn baby.
In fairness, trying to reduce stretch marks during pregnancy isn’t the best idea, because it is highly unlikely that you won’t suffer from some amount of stretch marks during those nine months. Using moisturisers, and checking that they are safe for use during pregnancy, may help, but probably won’t get rid completely at this case.
One thing which coconut oil will do however is help with the appearance of the skin in general, which may then make the stretch marks look less obvious. This could also help to promote general healing, and if used correctly MAY help stretch marks from appearing in the first place. Again, this is a maybe and not a 100% certainty.
How to Use Coconut Oil For Stretch Marks
We mentioned that coconut oil can easily be absorbed into the skin, so it helps with general hydration. This makes the skin more elastic, and therefore may help to make stretch marks less of a certainty during high risk times. You can either topically apply the coconut oil to the area and massage it in to help absorption, or you can add it to your bath. If you are going for the bath option, do be careful because it will make the bath quite slippery!
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil may also help to reduce the amount of healing time that stretch marks need to undergo. Again, if you have just noticed the stretch marks, this is the time to go for it and attempt to reduce their appearance. The oil will hydrate the skin and may also reduce the itching that sometimes works hand in hand with stretch marks. This isn’t always the case however, some people don’t notice any symptoms of their stretch marks apart from the actual visual sign.
Most people can use coconut oil, and provided you go for the purest form and you avoid the types which have other ingredients added in, you should be fine to use this regardless of your skin type. However, if you have an allergy to coconuts in particular, obviously don’t us coconut oil. It is also a possibility that if you have an allergy to any type of hazelnut or walnut, you might also be slightly sensitive or allergic to coconuts without realising it. Again, if you have this allergy, don’t tempt fate, and find another route towards reducing the appearance of your stretch marks.
Other Self Care Methods For Reducing The Appearance of Stretch Marks
You will find all manner of different lotions and potions on the market which promise to magically make stretch marks disappear. There isn’t a huge amount of evidence to back up their claims and aside from Retinol, as we mentioned before, there aren’t too many beauty products which have serious evidence to back up their promises when it comes to reducing stretch marks.
The best course of action here is prevention rather than cure. Obviously during pregnancy you’re going to struggle to reduce the chances of stretch marks appearing, but it’s not impossible. The best way to approach this is by going for overall weight management. Of course, you’re going to put some weight on, but there is no need to eat for two and put on excess amounts.
This is just going to make your chances of developing stretch marks far more likely, and it will mean you have a mountain to climb after the baby is born in terms of losing the baby weight. Make sure you eat a healthy diet, and if you have any concerns, speak to your doctor or midwife, who will be happy to give you advice. You should also speak to your doctor or midwife before you choose to try any types of beauty products to apply to your skin for stretch marks. Not all of these are safe in pregnancy, so you need to get the green light before you attempt anything.
For those who aren’t pregnant, it’s about lifestyle changes. Because stretch marks are far more likely during times when weight gain happens quickly, try your best to maintain a healthy weight as much as possible, and to drink plenty of water to hydrate the skin. You should also regularly use a high quality moisturiser to maintain your skin’s quality and to ensure that elasticity is maintained, no matter what your age.
There are some more professional treatment options you could consider, such as laser treatments and even microdermabrasion, but these come at a high cost and should not be your first option. If you do want to look at these options, make sure you do your research and find a practitioner who is extremely professional, and has quality testimonials to back up any claims.
Of course, the best piece of advice is to love your body, stretch marks and all. There is nothing to worry about by developing stretch marks, and for the most part, these are quite low in visibility once they fade over time. It’s up to you how much they bother you, but if you do find yourself avoiding wearing beach clothes and perhaps hiding certain parts of your body away due to your dislike of these silvery lines, then perhaps trying to reduce them as best you can is the ideal option. Your self confidence is the key to your happiness, but at the same time, that also lies in acceptance.
Many men and women view their stretch marks as their battle scars and that’s certainly a great way to look at it. Regardless of how you feel about your stretch marks, always remember that these silvery lines are not dangerous, and therefore don’t have the power to ruin your life or your confidence.
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