Stretch marks, medically known as striae are commonly observed on stomach, thighs, buttocks and upper arm, which may be pink, red, purple or white in color.
This condition of stretch marks on the body surface is generally observed during the following stages-
- During the last trimesters of pregnancy
- Sudden weight loss
- Hormonal therapy
- Changes during puberty in both boys and girls
- Certain diseases like Cushing's syndrome, adrenal gland diseases
- Corticosteroid lotions, creams, and pills
- Chronic use of oral steroids
- Certain genetic and auto-immune disorders
All stretch marks do not look alike. They differ depending on how long one has had them, their cause, the type of skin and where they are on the body.
Females, generally are considered risk factors for getting stretch marks.
A person either having a family history of stretch marks or those who are obese or overweight, are more prone to getting stretch marks.
Vitamin E for Stretch Marks - Why it Works
Vitamin E, medically known as tocopherol which is a fat-soluble vitamin. This vitamin is important as it helps in cell signaling in the human body.
It also plays a role in neurological functions, inhibition of platelet aggregations and lipid protection. It is also known to help in the treatment of sunburn and some skin sores.
Vitamin E aids in treatment and prevention of stretch marks.
Vitamin E is the only vitamin known to fade away the stretch marks, therefore a lot of stretch marks creams and lotions are known to contain an adequate amount of vitamin E.
This is done because vitamin E is known to restore the elasticity of the skin and also improve the strength of the skin.
One of the main reason why vitamin E is primarily used in treating the condition of stretch marks is that it helps keep the skin hydrated and healthy by accumulating in the epidermis and serving as a moisture evaporation barrier.
Vitamin E is known to be an anti-oxidant, which helps also prevent stretch marks by protecting the collagen fibers of the skin from the free radicals, which are known to be damaging to the skin.
This is because free radicals can cause skin’s collagen fibers to deteriorate, increasing the chances of skin tearing and hence the chances of stretch marks.
Vitamin E also gives an additional benefit by keeping collagen fibers strong and hence retain their natural elasticity.
While using vitamin E for stretch marks, sagging and the appearance of the wrinkles on the skin can also be reduced.
The hydrating property of vitamin E helps retain the elasticity of the skin even when stretching of the skin occurs.
Also, with vitamin E the speed of cell production and repair is enhanced which helps to heal the teared-off dermis by its deep penetration property.
How to use vitamin E for the treatment of stretch marks
So how can one take Vitamin E? There are many ways to do so:
1. Creams and lotions
Many stretch mark creams and lotions like cocoa butter and Shea butter are known to contain vitamin E in them.
Massaging these vitamin E creams and lotions, at least twice a day and in circular movements can help diminish stretch marks.
2. Vitamin E oils
A wide variety of oils like coconut oil, olive oil, rosehip oil, and castor oil are also known to contain the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, which either has a minimum or no side effects on the application.
These oils can be used in combination with other things like Aloe Vera, cocoa butter to get the maximum result.
3. Vitamin E rich oral tablets
Vitamin E can also be safely used in form of oral pills with different International Units, but the most commonly used are between 200 and 400 IU, which are gel capsules. This helps to heal the skin from inside.
4. Gel capsules
Vitamin E gels are also available in stores, which consist of a capsule filled with the vitamin gel.
This capsule can be opened and the gel can be massaged on the affected area.
5. Balanced diet
The most important source of getting vitamin E into the body is through a balanced diet, which has simply no side effects.
Using vitamin E rich foods like nuts, tofu, sunflower seeds, legumes, avocado, fish, broccoli and pumpkin.
However, almonds are known to be a rich of vitamin E. Vitamin A in combination with vitamin E, can help in the treatment of stretch marks better.
Precautions while using vitamin E for stretch marks
While there are almost no issues taking Vitamin E through a balanced diet, issues may arise when you take supplements.
A few precautions if you plan to take Vitamin E supplements:
- Consult your doctor or dermatologist before using vitamin E supplements, especially if you are pregnant or undergoing any other chronic illness.
- Use vitamin E oils carefully, if you are allergic to them or shift to some other substitutes. Check this by applying the oil on a small patch of the skin, if you feel some redness or irritation, be cautious about its use.
- In several conditions like heart diseases, diabetes a supplement of more than 400 IU per day can be dangerous. High doses could lead to serious side effects.
- Some researchers suggest that if larger amounts of vitamin E supplements are taken by men, they increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
- Some possible side effects observed with high doses of vitamin E are nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, weakness, and bleeding.
- Do not use vitamin supplements at least for 2 weeks after surgery, this may increase the chances of bleeding.
- If you suffer from low levels of vitamin K, avoid the use of vitamin E which might worsen the clotting problem.
- Avoid using vitamin E supplements after angioplasty, this may interfere with the healing process.
In the end...
Vitamin E or tocopherol, is a powerful anti-oxidant known to both prevent and treat the condition of stretch marks.
This is because vitamin E helps in retaining both the strength and elasticity of the skin, and thus maintains the collagen fibers.
Vitamin E also helps in keeping the skin hydrated and retaining the moisture of the skin by serving as moisture evaporation barrier.
Vitamin E gives an additional benefit of making the collagen fibers strong, and prevents sagging and wrinkling of the skin,