Stretch marks are very common in pregnancy, teenage years as well as during weight loss or gain. They are scars that lie deep in the skin.
- The color of these marks can indicate the stage of their development and how easy or difficult it will be to get rid of them.
- Red scars during pregnancy are fresh. Purple ones are also fairly fresh and a bit deep. White or silver ones are deep and old, making them very hard to remove.
Purple stretch marks first appear on the stomach, buttocks, hips, thighs and legs. These are the areas where the skin expands as you gain and lose weight during your pregnancy, bodybuilding or weight loss/gain.
Here’s the meaning and how to get rid of purple lines after pregnancy.
What are they (meaning)?
Purple stretch marks are a type of scarring resulting from damage sustained by dermis—a layer of the skin. Located in the inner layer, the dermis is the layer in charge of skin elasticity.
When it becomes stretched too much, it becomes taut, breaks and forms marks on the skin that are purple or red in color.
They start as red and turn into white or silver stripes, and finally end up as purple scars.
The lines do not cause any form of physical pain, but they can cause distress to some people, which in turn results in emotional pain.
Even though these will eventually start to fade, they can never go away without your intervention. Like all other scars that occur on the body, there are a number of methods that can be used to reduce stretch marks, such as the use of home remedies or topical treatments.
The lines appearing on your skin will not all look the same. Their appearance will vary depending on what has caused them to appear, as well as the length of time that you have had them.
The location will also matter when it comes to checking their appearance. Universal scar line variations include:
- Indented lines or streaks on your skin surface
- Pink, black, red or purple streaks
- Bright streaks that eventually start fading into a lighter color
- Streaks that cover very large areas of your body
It is recommended that you schedule a consultation with your GP if the appearance of the stretch marks bothers you, or if they cover a very large portion of your body.
The GP will be able to look at them and advise you on how to proceed based on what caused them to appear.
Striae, also referred to as stretch marks are the scars or lines that appear on different body areas such as around the breasts, hips, upper arms, stomach, lower back as well as the surroundings of the calves.
When starting out, the lines are purple in color and later fade to a slightly off-colored hue corresponding to your body’s skin tone, but which, will still be noticeable if inspected closely.
For many individuals, especially those concerned about their appearance, stretch marks cannot only be unsightly but can also be very embarrassing. The following are the major causes:
1. Obesity and rapid weight gain
Weight gain and obesity are the two main causes of stretch marks for many people. Any part of your body that stores fat is likely to get affected by the scars.
For obesity and rapid weight gain, the size and amount of scar lines that will appear on the skin will depend on the extent by which a person gains the extra weight.
The more weight that you gain within a short period; the more severe these stretch marks will appear.
2. Growth spurts
As a teenager growing up, it is very alarming to find stretch scars all over your body, more so when you have not gained any extra weight or have not lost weight within your lifetime.
Teenagers need not be worried as the appearance of purple stretch marks can be traced back to their growth spurts. When the body grows too fast during the puberty stage, the marks are likely to start appearing.
The stretch marks caused by growth spurts occur in the same manner as those caused by weight gain and obesity.
As the skin grows or expands, the marks begin to appear, as the skin cannot carry on with the rapidity at which the body is growing.
3. Weight lifting and body building
Bodybuilding and putting on too many muscles within a short time, especially for athletes may lead to the formation of striae lines, even though their bodies could be in top shape.
It is the main reason why stretch marks may not be used as a way of identifying obesity or weight related problems since they can afflict even people who are in top condition: it is just that the muscles located below the skin are growing faster than the skin can expand.
Purple lines on arms, abdomen and legs caused by weight lifting will usually occur in the areas surrounding the upper arms and shoulders.
For women, pregnancy is the most predominant cause of purple stretch marks on their bodies. Given that the woman’s stomach is expanding at a very fast pace during the pregnancy period, it is very likely that she will start to develop stretch marks in the area surrounding her belly.
Getting pregnant more than once could lead to the formation of new lines after every pregnancy, as the skin will be expanded in different areas.
5. Hormonal changes and imbalance
An imbalance of hormones in the body could also lead to red or even dark lines. When the body is at puberty, pregnancy, gaining weight, or lifting weights, it is likely to go through some hormone changes.
During this period, the hormone imbalance that takes place is likely to make elastin and collagen fibers in the body to start tearing because of the skin that has become overstretched, thus leading to the appearance of these stretch marks.
Any person can develop stretch marks, but some factors could increase your chances of getting the them, which include:
- Being a woman
- If you have a history of getting stretch marks
- Getting pregnant, especially if you are a young woman
- Being obese
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Undergoing a surgery to enlarge your breasts
- Consistent use of corticosteroid medication
- Having Marfan, Cushing’s syndrome and certain genetic disorders
They are diagnosed by checking the skin and reviewing the medical history. If during the examination the doctor suspects that your body could be producing too much cortisol, they may recommend that you undergo additional tests to confirm this theory.
Home remedies for purple stretch marks
You can use these remedies to get rid of the purple scars fast. Apricot, exfoliation techniques, aloe vera, some deep natural moisturizing oils etc. can all help fade away or remove purple stretch marks on thighs, legs, buttocks and stomach.
1. Apricot mask
Apricot masks have been used and continue to be used by many people when they want to get rid of the purple, ugly looking stretch marks present on their skin.
The following recipe can help you prepare your own apricot mask for use in treating stretch marks at home.
- Two apricots
- Lukewarm water—should be enough to wash off the entire area.
- Take your two apricots and cut them open
- Remove their seeds
- Take the apricots that have been cut open and crush them to create a paste
- The apricot paste should then be applied to the area that is covered by the scars
- Do not disturb it for at least twenty minutes
- Take your warm water and proceed to wash the apricot paste off
Try and repeat the procedure at least twice a day for the first month
2. Aloe vera
For the people who love home remedies, Aloe Vera has become very popular in treating purple striae.
Aloe Vera contains collagen in it, which is excellent for the repair of human skin. You should use it for as long as possible as the gel found in the leaves is better than the one purchased from the shops.
- Take your leaf and proceed to carefully de-thorn it
- Take the sticky gel that is contained inside this leaf
- Take this gel and apply it to your marks
- Forget about the gel for the next two hours
- After a couple of hours, wash it off using some warm water
3. Natural oils that get rid of stretch marks
Stretch marks can be treated using natural oils as they contain great emollients. The only thing you need to do is identify the right kind of oil for this purpose.
Ideally, you will need to gently massage the area of your skin that contains these stretch marks for at least thirty minutes each day.
Of all the natural oils, olive oil is considered the bets for this purpose as it contains antioxidants, and happens to be loaded with all kinds of nutrients. It is therefore considered the best natural oil when it comes to removing the marks. The following oils are also great alternatives to olive oil
- Rose oil
- Lavender oil
- Olive oil
- Geranium oil
- Chamomile oil
- Myrrh oil
What you need to do is mix all these oils and apply it to the affected areas.
- Half tablespoon of lavender oil
- Half tablespoon of chamomile oil
- Two tablespoons of almond oil
- Mix chamomile, lavender oils with the almond oil
- Ensure they are properly combined
- Apply the oil mix to the area with the stretch marks each day
Ensure you do this at least three to four times daily
4. Potato juice remedy
Using potato juice to remove the purple stretch marks is one of the cheapest ways to go about the stretch marks removal process. Potato is considered a super food due to the many components it contains such as fatty acids and polyphenols.
Potato juice also comes with loads of minerals and vitamins including potassium, calcium and phosphorous. Given that potatoes can stimulate elastin and collagen synthesis, it is effective in restoring skin cells and therefore helping the stretch marks fade away.
- One medium sized potato
- Knife to slice the potato
- Warm water to wash the potato off
- Take your selected potato and cut it into thick slices
- Pick one slice and gently rub it in one of the ears with the scrars
- Do this for all the areas taking time to make sure that the juice is properly applied in all the stretch marks
- Let the juice rest for some time
- Wash it off using your warm water
5. Fade with lemon juice
Beyond doubt, lemons are some of the best natural bleaching agents one can find. Lemons contain vitamin C and AHA acids, which are vital in getting rid of the dead skin cells, and thus helping eliminate the stretch marks faster. Here’s how to use lemon juice to fade away purple pregnancy marks.
- Take the lemon selected earlier and cut it into two
- Take one piece of your lemon and rub it on the purple stretch marks
- Ensure you feel the juices soaking into the skin before moving to the next spot
- Rub it in for at least ten minutes
- Use the warm water to wash the juices
To make it a better remedy for stretch marks removal, you can consider mixing your lemon juice with additional ingredients such as cucumber juice, potato juice, and tomato juice
6. Cocoa shea butter
If you have used all the stretch removal creams provided by beauty companies without getting any results, you should consider making your own cream at home.
To make the cream, you will rely on ingredients that are readily available—such as Shea butter, cocoa butter, and vitamin E oil.
Cocoa butter contains emollient and antioxidant properties, which provide it with an excellent moisturizing ability to penetrate the skin thus helping in the removal of stretch marks, while at the same time helping repair your skin.
Shea butter contains fatty acids, which assists cocoa butter in skin repairing. As the Shea butter begins to melt, the skin easily absorbs it. The vitamin E included in your homemade cream is an excellent antioxidant that penetrates through all the skin layers assisting in the healing process, while doing away with the scars.
Get the following
- Two tablespoons of cocoa butter
- Two tablespoons of Shea butter
- One tablespoon of vitamin E oil
- Melt the cocoa butter and the Shea butter
- Take your vitamin E oil and add it to the melted butter
- Ensure you combine all your ingredients well
- When you are sure they are well combined, store them in an airtight container
- Once the cream has cooled down, it will get into a solid state
When applying the cream to your skin, you will find that it will start melting as soon as it is exposed to it. Always apply the cream after taking a bath
7. Using egg whites
Eggs are some of the best protein sources as they contain at least forty different proteins. From this, you can now understand why it is beneficial to your skin.
The egg whites also happen to be rich in Vitamin A and collagen, thus helping in the treatment of burns and scars.
This is one of the simplest remedies that you can use in treating pregnancy lines at home. All you need to do is:
- Take out the whites by separating the whites from your yolk
- Take a folk and gently beat the whites
- Take it and apply on the area with the marks
- Allow it to rest for at least fifteen minutes
- Once this time frame has elapsed, wash the whites off using water
After washing the egg whites, pat the area dry using a towel and apply some moisturizer to the area
Alfalfa happens to be rich in vitamins E and K and contains amino acids as well which are vital in eliminating stretch marks. Alfalfa is said to be a great skin toner. Here’s how to use it to tone and reduce stretch marks and cellulite. Get the following:
- One tablespoon of alfalfa powder
- A few drops of chamomile
- Take your alfalfa powder and mix it with your chamomile.
- Take your paste and apply it to the area of stretch marks.
- You will need to let it rest for fifteen minutes.
- Once the fifteen minutes have elapsed, take some water and use it to wash the paste off.
Make sure you repeat all the steps three times each day.
9. Drink water to hydrate your skin
Regardless of how good a remedy is, none will work properly if your skin surface is not properly hydrated.
Your skin needs to be supple for the remedies to work. Therefore, you will need to make sure that you drink enough water each day—enough water translates to between eight and ten glasses each day.
A skin surface that is hydrated not only helps in detoxifying your body, but it also helps in restoring the elasticity that had been lost.
10. Eat well
In addition to making sure that the skin is properly hydrated, there is also need to make certain that it is properly nourished.
When the body lacks nutrients, it means that regardless of how many remedies or creams you use, they will not be able to penetrate the skin layer.
You, therefore, need to:
- Have a good amount of proteins each day. Fish, beans, and egg whites are some of the things you need to include in your daily diet
- Take foods that are rich in vitamins C & E, as they will encourage the growth of skin tissues. Guavas, peppers, broccoli, and papaya are all foods that have a high vitamin content
- Consume nuts and seeds that are rich in minerals such as zinc when you are expectant. Zinc helps in toning your skin
- Take precautions not to consume too many saturated fats as they may lead to weight gain, which in turn leads to stretching of the skin, and leaves behind ugly purple stretch marks.
If the above home remedies do not work for you, try the following medical treatments. The treatments help in improving the texture and appearance of the purple stretch marks. They include:
The cream is derived from vitamin A. It can be applied to the skin to help improve the appearance of red stretch marks that are not more than a few months old.
When it works, it helps in rebuilding the collagen fibers thus making the skin surface affected appear normal.
For expectant women, or women with small babies, they need to consult their GPs to be advised of alternatives as the retinoid can affect a small baby.
Therapies: Light & Laser
There is a variety of the two treatments, which are used to stimulate collagen growth. Depending on the state of your stretch marks, the doctor may be able to advise you on the best techniques.
It is a type of treatment involving a hand-held device that blows crystals onto your skin surface.
The crystals then help in removing the skin layer, thus allowing for the growth of a new coat.
You should visit your GP before using any of these treatment methods. Your GP will be able to provide better advice after determining the cause of the purple stretch marks, as well as looking at how far they have spread.