How to Use Coconut Oil to Prevent Stretch Marks
Just when you thought that coconut oil couldn’t be any more amazing, you learn that it can also prevent stretch marks. This miracle food has been touted for its ability to help you lose weight, restore shiny hair, revitalize dry skin and makes one of the best cooking oils available, too. Basically, the list of coconut oil benefits is endless.
Stretch marks are most commonly related to pregnancy, and this certainly is the most prevalent time in one’s life that they might be an issue. However, they can also affect anybody who has gained and lost weight rather quickly, during puberty, or simply if you are unfortunate to have a family history of stretch marks.
Basically, stretch marks are red or purple marks that are long, thin and kind of snake-like. They can appear on the belly, breasts, shoulders (in body builder’s, for example), thighs, glutes…essentially, anywhere that rapid weight gain has occurred.
What are Stretch Marks?
When your skin is stretched, tiny tears occur in the dermis (lower) layer of your skin, causing scarring and bruising which then appear as stretch marks. Because they aren’t taking place in the outer layer, they are quite hard to treat. Most creams and topicals don’t actually make much of a difference, but coconut is one that can truly help. There is no “cure” per say, but coconut oil tops the list of home remedies.
5 Most Common Causes of Stretch Marks
Pregnancy is the most common reason of ending up with lots of stretch marks. Of course your little ones are well worth it, but nobody likes to end up with a belly and breasts full of red lines. The thing about pregnancy is that your stretch marks aren’t only due to stretching skin. They are also due to the fact that pregnancy hormones make your skin fibers softer and more prone to scarring. While these will fade somewhat in the months after giving birth, for many women, they never go away completely.
2. Rapid Weight Gain
Whether it be due to an illness, heavy weight lifting (like a body builder) or chronic yo-yo dieting, any sort of rapid weight gain (or the cycle of weight gain and weight loss) can leave you with stretch marks.
As if puberty isn’t hard enough, some adolescents end up with stretch marks due to their rapidly changing body. Girls might develop stretch marks on their breasts or thighs, and boys might see them on their backs and shoulders.
4. Family History
Plain and simple, some people are more prone to stretch marks than others. They are also far more common in women.
5. Underlying Medical Condition
While less common, certain medical conditions can also lead to stretch marks. For example, Cushings Syndroms or Marfan Syndrome. Cushings Syndrome occurs when the body overproduces cortisol (which can cause stretch marks), and Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that reduces the skin’s elasticity (among other things).
How Can Coconut Oil Help?
Coconut oil has the unique ability to penetrate deeper into the skin than other creams or lotions. It also contains healthy saturated fats that strengthen your cell walls (on the inside, too), and can help with the prevention and treatment of stretch marks. Also, coconut oil has been shown to fight free radical damage (which can often cause inflammation) and this property helps to prevent stretch marks, as well (1).
How to Prevent and Get Rid of Stretch Marks with Coconut Oil
- Apply coconut oil to your stretch marks (or where you’re trying to avoid them) immediately after a hot shower. Your skin will allow the oil to penetrate more deeply, and act more effectively.
- Try mixing some essential oils into your coconut oil before applying. Choose ones that relax or rejuvenate you, or switch it up depending on your mood.
- Mix in a few vitamin E drops or oil, along with shea butter to your coconut oil. This also makes for a potent combination in preventing and treating stretch marks.
- Use it frequently. Not that you have to glob in on, but using coconut oil every day (especially during pregnancy) can make the real difference, instead of just once in awhile. And remember, you can use it as an overall body lotion, while you’re at it.
Other Tips and Tricks for Stretch Marks
Other tips for preventing and treating stretch marks alongside coconut oil include staying very well hydrated with clean water (use a filter if necessary). Eat a balanced diet that includes all of the key vitamins, minerals, amino and fatty acids that your body needs to maintain healthy skin. Strive to get 6-8 servings of fresh vegetables per day. And don’t forget to omit or seriously decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, as sugar can reek havoc on your skin and lead to systemic inflammation.