Stretch marks can happen to anyone. But there are a few events in our lives that are often hallmarked by these little scars — puberty, and pregnancy.
You might develop stretch marks if you’ve gained weight, (hello freshman 15) or most commonly, during pregnancy.
Between 50 to 90 percent of mothers experience stretch marks during their pregnancy. Doctors estimate that stretch marks appear during the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy.
But what causes this to happen? How can we get rid of them?
Let’s talk about the most essential topical vitamins for treating stretch marks.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks can occur on our tummies, thighs, bums, breasts, or hips. Any place where you can expand, you can get stretch marks.
To dermatologists these are known as “stria” and are characterized as long, thin, groovy/rippled reddish marks that eventually turn white and scar the skin.
Stretch marks occur as a result of tears in the collagen of the dermis layer of the skin. As the body attempts to heal this rupture, a stretch mark can appear.
Some are more genetically predisposed to getting stretch marks because some skin is just genetically less elastic than others.
Even though these scars are very common, most people who have stretch marks would much rather they didn’t.
If you, like so many, have stretch marks from a weight gain (hello quarantine weight), pregnancy, or puberty — there might be some treatments to help reduce the appearance of these marks.
3 proven stretch mark treatment options
Here are 3 essential vitamins necessary to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
#1 Vitamin A
Vitamin A, better known as retinol and retinoids, is great at resurfacing skin and increasing collagen production. Retinoids increase skin cell turnover (skin regeneration) and help to boost skin elastin.
Vitamin A reduces the appearance of scars as it helps to smooth over skin, revealing a more even tone and texture. This is why it’s also used to smooth over fine lines and wrinkles.
Please note mums: You should not use vitamin A products while pregnant or breastfeeding. Hold off on using until you are no longer pregnant or breastfeeding before trying this method.
If you are expecting, in the meantime, it’s a wonderful idea to use topical hyaluronic acid as studies have found applying this early can help reduce scar appearance.
#2 Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to fight against free radical damage which can hinder collagen production. This important vitamin is required for collagen production and is known as “pre-collagen”.
If you’re trying to reduce the appearance of scars it’s a great idea to boost collagen production — vitamin C (and vitamin A) to the rescue.
Vitamin C serums can be applied to the skin topically but don’t mix them with retinol or tretinoin.
#3 Nourishing body oils and butters rich in vitamin E
Vitamin E is a well-known remedy for stretch marks. Using nourishing body oils or butter can actually help prevent stretch marks as it helps increase the elasticity of the skin.
If you’ve already developed the scars, vitamin E can help repair and protect collagen. Creams high in vitamin E (i.e shea butter) are best used together with vitamin C as these vitamins work best in unison.
Shea butter is a wonderful choice for stretch marks as it’s rich in vitamin E, vitamin A and supports healthy skin cell growth.
There are three vital vitamins you should be applying to your stretch marks if you want to reduce the appearance or prevent future marks.
These vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
It’s best to use vitamin A products (retinol or tretinoin) by themselves at night. Vitamin C and vitamin E, on the other hand, are best used together. Taking the time to massage these into the skin can be great to spur collagen stimulation.
These vitamins are great for stretch marks because they help stimulate and support collagen production, brighten skin, and increase skin elasticity.