Coconut Oil For Stretch Marks
Skin: It’s our outward canvas, our shell we present to the world, and our body’s largest organ. Billion dollar industries are devoted to helping us smooth, correct, refresh, tighten, heal, and perfect it, but at the end of the day, no matter what we do or how much we take pride in our skin, no one’s is perfect.
While we may be attuned to seeing airbrushed models and glossy magazine covers touting what looks to be pourless, flawless complexions, in reality, we all struggle with our skin woes. Among these are stretch marks, one of the more common imperfections that many of us are blessed with.
Stretch marks are in reality nothing to be ashamed of–they appear commonly on the skin of both men and women, though in general are more common on women, and can decorate skin anywhere on your body from your midsection, arms, shoulders, lower back, thighs, and anywhere in between, where the skin has quickly stretched or expanded.
If you’re like the thousands of other people who know their marks are normal, but just the same, aren’t the biggest fans of them, coconut oil might be a solution to your stretch mark woes.
Rest assured while your stripes are entirely harmless, you don’t have to feel helpful–certainly techniques can ease and help prevent future ones from cropping up.
Coconut oil has sprung up as a virtual cure-all for a number of skin problems. When used correctly, indeed coconut oil can be one of nature’s most powerful remedies and can play a role in your treatment of stretch marks.
No need to let your stretch marks put a dent in your confidence for one more day, and no need to shell out big bucks on over the counter solutions, creams, chemical peels, or even surgeries—all proposed solutions to the common stretch mark.
Simply reach for this entirely natural remedy which will not only help target your stripes, but also offers a laundry list of other beneficial perks for your health, inside and out.
Read on to see how coconut oil and the improvement of stretch marks can go hand in hand.
An Inside Look At Stretch Marks
Before we delve into the treatment of them, it stands to reason that perhaps we should first examine the question, what exactly are stretch marks and why do they occur in the first place?
Even though they’re one of the most common skin struggles worldwide, not many of us have stopped to take look at why they are and what they, and what causes the pesky marks that plague so many of us.
Stretch marks are in a nutshell, exactly what they sound like. Totally harmless yet pesky stripes in our skin that occur as a result of any stretching–this can be from sudden weight loss or gain, and they rear their heads in the middle layer of our skin, the dermis.
Just like vapor trails left in the skin from a plane passing over, stretch marks are just visual marks in our skin from the stretching the occurred.
Anytime the original tautness of our skin is changed, you can expect for them to pop up after the skin is forced to quickly expand and then thin, resulting in the dermis layer having that trademark striped appearance.
Some of us are more predisposed to getting them than others, and stretch marks look different on one persons’ skin than they might on the next. They can range in color from dark red or even purple, to a lighter grey or white (they’ll often fade to this after the initial onset calms down).
If you’re experiencing the slightly peskier and noticeable red or darker stretch marks, don’t worry, this stage is temporary.
When the initial inflammation and irritation occurs, the marks are more alarming, but rest assured that as your skin calms down and the irritation lessens, the marks will fade to a glossy, scary-like grey color.
With the help of coconut oil, as you’ll read, you can take steps to make sure they become as unnoticeable and subtle as possible.
What Are The Solutions?
Just because we know something a natural part of life doesn’t mean we have to love it. Plenty of things, like acne or stretch marks, are as natural as they come, and still might put a dent in your confidence or ability to rock that bathing suit or feel your best when you get dressed every day.
Life is too short to go through your day feeling less than stellar in your skin.
We’re all used to being greeted with a wall of over-the-counter beauty remedies designed to treat any and every skin woe, but more and more of us are returning to more time-honored ways and trying to heal out skin issues as naturally as possible.
There’s truly no need to turn to a laundry listen of chemicals or slather your skin with artificial ingredients when Mother Nature gives us all we need to heal out bodies the safe and natural way. Enter coconut oil.
Coconut oil, which is exactly that, the oil derived from the coconut, has been making waves in recent months and years, and for good reason. It’s no doubt been on your radar or at least cropped up across your social media feeds, with many singing its praises for healing a truly impressive range of symptoms and health issues.
Coconut oil can be used not just in cooking, as a coffee creamer, in baking, to add flavor and healthy fats to dishes, but also all over your body. It’s no newbie to the health scene, though its popularity has spiked in the western world recently. In fact, some of the healthiest people on earth have been using coconut oil for generations.
For example, the Tokelauans, a South Pacific culture, gets over 60% of their total calories from coconut, including plenty of saturated fats (which typically get a bad rap in the dietary community).
Contrary to what you might think, these people have amazing health and hardly any presence of heart disease, and there’s just one of many examples of people who similarly thrive thanks largely to the magic of coconuts.
If you’re a stranger to the powers of coconut oil, just know it can help with everything head to toe, helping fight off many brain disorders, killing harmful microorganisms, actually boosting your metabolism and therefore helping you burn more fat over time, keeping hunger urges in check, easing seizures in epileptic children, improving cholesterol levels, and easing a host of skin and hair issues.
So it only stands to reason, coconut oil is a powerful solution to ease stretch marks too!
Why Coconut Oil Works
If you’ve ever used coconut oil topically before, you already know the benefits it can have in terms of improving shininess, moisture, and suppleness of your skin!
Since stretch marks are just a visible manifestation of irritation going on in the inner layer of your skin, massaging coconut oil on and around the area create visible improvements in as little as a few weeks of regular application.
Not only will you be healing the stretch marks, the saturated fats that coconut oil is packed with will be helping to actually strengthen the cellular walls in your skin and will fight free radicals at the same time. It’s a true win-win for your skin.
As stated, you can always grab a pricey, “high tech” stretch mark treatment from a shelf, but their effectiveness is dubious t best. They might promise to heal or reduce your stretch marks, but even dermatologists have doubted their true ability to do so.
Of course there’s no magic bullet for any health issue–no one stop shop to fix your stretch marks 100%, or make them vanish entirely, but at least with coconut oil, you know you’re delivering real, proven benefits to your skin, and likely lessening your marks at the same time, without breaking the bank or having to worry about potential side effects and harmful chemicals entering into your bloodstream through your skin.
How exactly does it work and what is that coconut oil actually doing to your skin, other than feeling amazing and making your smell like a tropical paradise? Its effects are far reaching and multi-faceted, and actually targets several different areas to ease your stretch marks.
For one, naturally occurring properties in coconut oil are actually lightening your skin, by changing the skin pigment and easing discoloration that’s likely occurred due to the marks.
As annoying as any stretch marks can be, easily the biggest complaints come from the dark red/purple hued ones, which are far more visible and hard to ignore than the lighter scar-like marks.
These colors rear their heads early in the stretch marks’ life, when they first pop up. By applying coconut oil to the marks, it can naturally sooth and actually lighten the skin’s pigment to make them far less visible and help them fade away over time.
Since stretch marks occur in the first place because of skin being stretched and pulled too fast and too suddenly, it makes sense that the more supple your skin is, the more it will be able to handle any stretching, and the less marks will appear. That’s why it’s crucial to keep skin hydrated and moisturized, to make it more pliable.
There’s really nothing better on the market for moisture than coconut oil, which beats out even the fanciest of lotions. Not only will you be soothing your current marks and keeping them from getting any worse, you’ll be actively preventing the occurrence of future ones by making coconut oil a part of your daily skin routine.
Lastly, if you’ve noticed how seemingly unfair it is that some people are far more susceptible to stretch marks than others, it’s largely because of the amount (or lack) of collagen in the skin.
You’ve likely heard of collagen’s role in keeping skin looking plump and young, which is because it directly contributes to skin’s elasticity. The more you have, the more supple your skin.
A host of factors ranging from overall poor skin health and care to genetics and age influence how much collagen you have, and you can boost your amount and help your body to produce more by using coconut oil. Applying it will naturally balance out the skin’s amount of oil and flush out dead skin cells as well.
How To Apply It
When it comes to any cosmetic woes or blemishes, there’s never a true one-stop magic fix. Coconut oil can go a long way in reducing your stretch marks, but application as well as quality of the oil you’re using matters greatly.
It’s not enough to just occasionally slather on a layer when you think about it, and call it a day. In order to get beyond the issue of most treatments, which is that they simply sit atop our skin without truly penetrating the surface and addressing the root of the problem, massage may be your best bet.
Combining the time-tested power of massage with the undeniable perks of coconut oil, you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck and the most visible results.
People have been using massage to treat a range of ailments for generations, and many have found that using it to help with skin issues is an effective choice. If done correctly, massage helps to penetrate layers of skin and treat what lies below the surface.
You’ve no doubt heard that prevention is the best cure, and this is certainly the case with stretch marks. If you know you’re going to be vulnerable to them, thanks to changes in weight, pregnancy, or family history, start now to have the best chance of keeping them from cropping up in the first place.
Other healthy choices like diet, regular exercise, and ample hydration, combined with massaging with coconut oil can keep them at bay more effectively than any expensive laser treatments or peels.
Not only will you reap the anti-stretch mark benefits, massage has long been a staple of alternative and eastern medicine practices thanks to its abilities to relax and adjust the entire body, lessen stress and anxiety, restore and ease emotional stress, help headaches, and more.
Massaging the skin promotes circulation–a must to keep tissue growing and keep cell turnover high.
By regularly massaging skin, you keep blood flowing and can expect better skin rejuvenation, meaning blemishes and scars of all kinds can heal quicker (Hanlon, 2014).
When And How To Use It
The best time to massage coconut oil into the skin is when it’s at its most supple and able to absorb the oil into the skin.
Get into the habit therefore of keeping your coconut oil in the bathroom and reaching for it right after a warm shower, when your skin is able to soak it up the best. (Some recommend also combining your coconut oil with other nutrient-rich oils for added perks, such as some vitamin E, shea, or avocado, if you’re feeling so inclined).
Even if you’re not applying directly out of the shower, you’ll want to make sure your surface is clean, so gently wash skin first with a simple soap and water, and thoroughly pat dry before applying.
Resist the urge to overload your skin with oil and use too much, since your skin can only absorb so much. If you tend to already have super oily skin, you’ll find you need even less, since a little goes a very long way.
For your actual massage technique. You can address any area you have the marks: stomach, legs, arms, thighs, etc. Massage can be used once marks have already popped up, or before, to keep them from appearing at all.
Regardless of when you’re massaging, technique matters. All you should be aiming to do is increase circulation, so be gentle with your motions–not much pressure is needed. Gently massage in a gliding, continuous motions only until the oil has disappeared into the skin. No need to overdo it. (Sampath, 2016).
It’s suggested that if you’re pregnant, you start your coconut oil massage routine early–definitely in the second trimester if not before, and focus on covering your stomach area in four separate quadrants, focusing on massaging one at a time for about 15 minutes a day each.
Not All Coconut Oil Is Created Equal, Though…
As with all health products nowadays, a daunting amount of options exist when choosing a coconut oil product. Do you want unrefined or refined? Does choosing organic matter?
What about “extra-virgin” and “expeller pressed.”Don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed by the options, but know that not all are created equal, and quality does matter.
In general, a good rule of thumb is to reach for the least processed, least tampered with option you can buy, meaning unrefined for sure, and cold-pressed, which means it’s been produced in an environment that doesn’t kill off many of the original benefits, scent, and nutrition.
While organic is usually your best bet with any food, much research has found that in general, coconuts are protected by their tough shell even when pesticides are present, so it’s highly doubtful that organic vs. non organic will make much of a difference.
Save your money and instead prioritize getting coconut oil in a glass vs. plastic jar, and one that’s virgin or extra virgin and cold pressed. (Bright, 2016).
Using coconut oil in your skin routine is truly a win win. Not only will you know you’re dousing your skin with a delicious smelling, soothing, and naturally moisturizing option, you can truly prevent and lighten your marks over time.
You’ll know you’re steering clear of any harmful chemicals, and instead turning to a totally natural, time honored solution that won’t break the bank and will keep your skin glowing and naturally at its finest.