6 Most Effective Ingredients for Healing Stretch Marks
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks. Almost everyone has them, most hate them, but few know what they actually are. People generally assume they are a result of having too much body fat, or becoming pregnant. While obesity and pregnancy can contribute to stretch marks, the largest cause is actually something we all go through: puberty.
In this article:
- What Can I Do?
Stretch marks, or striae, occur when the skin stretches rapidly, causing collagens and elastic fibres in the dermis to become too thin and over-exerted. This makes small tears in the dermis layer of the skin, revealing blood vessels which lie beneath. First they are reddish in color, and then appear to fade to a silvery or white tone. This is the exposed blood vessels contracting and slowly showing the fatty tissue layer underneath.
What Can I Do?
When it comes to finding the right solution for any skin care issue, the most important thing to do is look at the product’s ingredient listing. Any company can hire a graphic designer to make flashy bottles and boxes or pay a marketing guru to pitch and sell snake oil. It’s up to you, as the consumer, to make sure that the product has the most effective ingredients before you risk your time, money, and hide trying it out on your precious skin.
There are two major camps of helpful ingredients when looking to mask the appearance of skin blemishes like stretch marks. First, botanicals. These are all-natural ingredients, meaning they are either plants or mostly plant-based. Second, vitamins. No, not the kind you take first thing in the morning with breakfast. Where we’re concerned is molecular vitamins, the kind you can apply topically and benefits can be seen when absorbed through the skin.
Number 1: Aloe Vera
Pure Aloe Vera is a proven healing agent and skin softener. The plant itself is a species of succulent (so in right now. Just stick one in your apartment window and you’ll have an effective decor accessory and skin care miracle all in one!) which derives from the evergreen perennial. They are native to tropical areas, but are cultivated everywhere for their plethora of health benefits.
The plant produces Aloe Vera gel, which is 96% water, and the key component in its powerful properties. From soothing sunburns to slaying stretch marks. Aloe Vera thrives in dry climates because it stores so much water, which allows it to hydrate skin like nothing else. It is the hydrating and healing properties of this miraculous plant which make it so instrumental in skin care. Hydrated skin stretches better, making the collagen and elastic fibers last longer, thus hindering the formation of new stretch marks.
Number 2: Cocoa Butter
No, not chocolate. Not white chocolate, either. It is present in both, but Cocoa Butter’s usefulness goes far beyond confections. Cocoa Butter is the fat extracted from cocoa beans, which are indeed vegetables. (So technically, chocolate is a vegetable extract. Therefore, eating chocolate is sort of like taking a very sugary vitamin. I won’t tell if you won’t.) The melting point of Cocoa Butter is just below the average human body temperature, giving it that incomparably smooth skin feel, all without any lab-made chemicals.
Like Aloe Vera, Cocoa Butter helps improve the elasticity of the skin by keeping it moist. This allows for an easier time stretching, and an overall reduction in stretch marks. It absorbs not only into the top (epidermis) layer of skin, but down into the middle (dermis) layer, where the broken elastic bands and ridges form to cause stretch marks. By carrying moisture down to that injured dermis, it can help the body slowly heal itself, and prevent further damage.
Number 3: Shea Butter
Shea Butter is a fatty oil which has been used for centuries to heal skin that suffers from aging, damage, and overexposure to the sun. It comes from the nut of the African shea tree. The best Shea Butter is the unprocessed variety, like with all botanicals. Raw Shea Butter is ivory in color, but through processing can become paler and whiter. It is edible and used in some cooking in certain African countries, but its primary use is as a salve or moisturizer.
As with the previous, this butter is a solid, stable fat extract, and helps with deep skin penetration down to the dermis, and enhanced moisturization. It too melts at body temperature, and can provide excess fat and moisture to dry, cracked, or scarred skin. It has an additional benefit of being an anti-inflammatory, so it is especially helpful for raised, red stretch marks.
It can also help absorb some UV rays, giving it yet another bonus.
Number 4: Siegesbeckia Orientalis
Siegesbeckia Orientalis is better known by the common name, Saint Paul’s Wort. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat a wide variety of skin-related illnesses. From the parasitic leprosy to the agonizing gout, Saint Paul’s Wort has been the prescribed natural remedy. It fights inflammation and is an excellent emollient.
Thanks to these natural properties, it makes a perfect candidate for fighting the scars left behind from stretching skin. This particular botanical is a bit more difficult to use on its own than the others, since it is a plant extract and not solid at room temperature. It can be used in extract form, but it is difficult to control dosing. Saint Paul’s Wort is best used as an included ingredient in a product with a base made from one of the above ingredients, which is solid at room temperature and melts onto the skin. Also, it needs a vehicle to carry it into the dermis for the best effects, making an ideal match with Cocoa or Shea Butters.
Number 5: Retinyl Palmitate
Retinyl Palmitate is a derivative of Vitamin A1 found most often in food. When taken orally, it can be used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin A1 is critical to human function, but the benefits of it are far beyond just the inner workings of the human body. When applied topically as an oil or as part of a serum, Retinyl Palmitate is converted by the skin into its base source of Retinol, which the body can then break down.
One extremely beneficial facet of this vitamin is that it thickens and strengthens skin. Stretch marks are caused mostly due to a thinner, weakened dermis. If included alongside an ingredient with deep skin permeation (like Cocoa or Shea Butters), Retinol can start the healing right at the core of the problem, in the dermis, and not only hide the appearance of stretch marks but heal them entirely over time. It also helps remove stretch marks by increasing the metabolic rate of the skin, which stimulates the production of new cells and repairs older cells.
Number 6: Peptides
The most potent products on the market today tend to include a group of ingredients known as peptides, which include Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 and Palmitoyl Oligopeptide. Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 is a synthetic compound which stimulates the production of collagen, glycosaminoglycans, and elastins. The other compound, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, increases the skin’s elasticity and smoothes out the contours of the skin by stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen.
It all sounds a lot more complicated than the natural stuff, but you do not have to be afraid. After all, humans are made of chemicals. Water, the foundation of life, is technically a chemical. The science backs up the efficacy of peptides. They aren’t just mystery chemical cocktails; peptides are part of our very DNA. They make up the amino acids inside us organically, meaning that man-made peptides are simply replicas of natural chemicals already found in the human body. By taking specifically useful amino acids, isolating them, and using them as additives to enhance desirable benefits, scientists are learning how to encourage our bodies to do more of what it already does naturally.
The science of our bodies and the formation of stretch marks can be complex, but treating them doesn’t have to be. It is as easy as looking for these ingredients in a stretch mark cream, and you’ll know for certain that you have an excellent product that will be effective. The more of these 6 ingredients present, the better, as we have seen how well they all work in combination.
The market for stretch mark products is huge, and it’s no wonder; millions of men and women have stretch marks. But knowing what to look for takes the guesswork out, saving you time and money. If you want to save yourself even more of both, check out RevitaGen. It has not one or two, but all 6 of the above mentioned ingredients in a revolutionary dermatologist reviewed formula.
Click here to check RevitaGen out on their site!