Stretch marks are scars that are produced on the skin mostly due to pregnancy and childbirth. These are present as lighter lines of the skin, with a whitish hue. Though stretch marks are usually associated with pregnancy and childbirth, it is not actually true. Stretch marks can also occur due to obesity, excessive physical labor involving a particular part of the skin, bodybuilding, pubertal changes, dieting, etc. Stretch marks are called as striae distensae medically. However bad they may appear, stretch marks are always a cosmetic problem and they have no repercussions on the health of the person.
A significant part of the joy of childbirth is marred when the woman finds out that the pregnancy has brought on several disagreeable changes in the body. Stretch marks are among the topmost of pregnancy-related problems. These put a big dampener on the self-confidence of women. In fact, some women may decide not to give birth to a child just to avoid the disfiguring changing that pregnancy brings on.
But there is actually no need to despair. Through Ayurveda, Indian doctors have discovered and perfected several techniques by which women can treat their stretch marks of pregnancy; and also avoid them while they are pregnant.
Useful Herbs for the Treatment of Stretch Marks
# Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
The holy basil, or the tulsi, is used in the prevention of bleeding of tissue, stretch marks and scarring that can occur during pregnancy.
# Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
The gotu kola is an indigenous Indian herb which is now being extensively marketed and used in foreign countries for healing stretch marks and other cosmetic problems of the skin. It is an important ingredient in several pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of stretch marks.
# Indian Madder (Rubia cordifolia)
Indian madder is popular as the manjishtha in Ayurvedic language. It is very effective in the solution of skin problems such as stretch marks. It also prevents skin ulcers.
# Indian Margosa (Azadirachtha indica)
The Indian margosa is none other than the neem, which is almost worshipped in Ayurvedic medicine. This is used to prevent itches and abscesses that can be caused during pregnancy. It takes care of stretch marks. The neem is also useful in the treatment of secondary infections.
# Sandalwood (Chandana)
Sandalwood has a cooling effect on the skin. It protects the skin from stretching extensively during pregnancy.
Dietary Treatments for Treatment of Stretch Marks
During pregnancy, women must take care of their skin. For this, their diet must contain sufficient amount of vitamin E. Vitamin E is present in several oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, walnut oil and peanut oil and in foods such as carrots, tomatoes, hazelnut, soybeans, pollards, corn, asparagus and oatmeal. In fact, oatmeal is traditionally prescribed to women to get rid of their stretch marks.
The diet should also contain good amounts of vitamin C, which is essential in maintaining the water content of the body. This can be obtained from fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, which must be taken in a minimum cooked form.
Sour and pungent foods must be avoided. Similarly, saturated fats must be avoided in excess, because they can cause excessive stretching of the skin, and also lead to obesity. Eating seeds and nuts that are rich in mineral content, especially zinc is good for toning up the skin during pregnancy.
The water content of the skin must be kept high in order to maintain its suppleness. When pregnant, the woman must drink at least six to eight glasses of water in a day.
Home Remedies for the Treatment of Stretch Marks
# Apply a cream that is rich in content on the region where stretch marks are prone to occur. This will prevent the stretch marks from appearing later on. Even if the stretch marks persist later, you can apply vitamin E containing creams on the area for removing them.
# Cocoa butter is highly acclaimed for preventing pregnancy stretch marks. This butter must be applied on the skin every night when you are pregnant. Cocoa butter has much more benefits if it is applied directly after a warm shower because it opens up the pores of the skin and helps it to permeate better.
# You can use vitamin E rich oil such as olive oil or castor oil and rub it onto the belly every night. Use some aromatic herbs like mint, lemon grass, lavender, thyme, etc., make a paste of them with the oil and apply them onto the belly for better effects. The massage must be done for about twenty minutes every night while retiring to bed. Even if this is done after the birth, it helps the stretch marks to subside after a few weeks.