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Stretch marks are one of the most common skin conditions that many people experience at some point in their lives. They appear as lines or striations in the skin that are usually pink, red, purple or silvery in color. While stretch marks are not harmful in any way, they can be unsightly and affect one’s self-confidence and body image. This is where argan oil comes in. Argan oil has risen in popularity over the past decade for its numerous benefits to skin and hair. When it comes to stretch marks, argan oil may be your skin’s new best friend. In this article, we’ll look at why stretch marks form, the benefits of argan oil and how it can help increase skin elasticity and potentially prevent or fade existing stretch marks.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused by tears in the collagen and elastin fibers underneath the skin. These fibers give our skin strength and elasticity. When the skin stretches too quickly, these fibers rupture and cause the indentations we see as stretch marks on the surface. Stretch marks are incredibly common during periods of rapid growth like puberty or pregnancy due to hormonal changes and weight gain. Some other causes of stretch marks include:
- Weight gain or loss: Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight in a short span of time puts stress on the skin and causes it to stretch at a rate it cannot keep up with.
- Growth spurts: During periods of rapid growth like puberty, a teenager’s height increases quickly which leads to stretching of skin.
- Pregnancy: The stretching of the abdominal skin as the womb expands to accommodate a growing fetus is one of the major causes of stretch marks during pregnancy.
- Genetics: Having a family history of stretch marks increases one’s own risk as some individuals have weaker collagen structures in their skin compared to others.
- Cushing’s syndrome: High levels of cortisol hormone produced by Cushing’s disease can cause weight gain and thus, stretch marks.
- Breast growth: Developing breasts during puberty or a rapid increase/decrease in breast size can cause marks.
- Bodybuilding: Rapid muscle growth from intense workouts sometimes leads to stretch marks.
No matter the cause, when the skin’s elastic fibers become damaged, it results in those linear indentations in the dermis layer that we know as stretch marks.
Benefits of Argan Oil for Skin
Native to Morocco, argan oil is derived from the kernels of the argan tree through a labor-intensive process. It has been used in Middle Eastern cultures for centuries due to its nourishing properties. Some key advantages of this “liquid gold” include:
- Rich in vitamin E: Argan oil contains high concentrations of tocopherols (vitamin E), one of the most powerful antioxidants that help skin repair and regeneration.
- Moisturizing: The oil has excellent moisturizing abilities to hydrate dry, flaky skin without feeling greasy. It helps maintain skin’s natural moisture barrier.
- Anti-inflammatory: Compounds like ferulic acid and omega 6 fatty acids in argan oil have anti-inflammatory effects to calm irritated, inflamed skin conditions.
- Softens skin: As a natural emollient, argan gently smoothens rough patches and softens the skin texture by sealing in moisture.
- Protects from UV damage: Argan protects collagen from sun exposure damage due to vitamin E and other antioxidants that reduce sunburn and signs of premature aging.
- Boosts elasticity: Fatty acid content like oleic acid keeps skin firm and flexible to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and stretch marks.
- Acne fighter: Anti-bacterial properties from unsaturated fatty acids make argan a great natural remedy to calm breakouts and inflammation.
- Lightweight: Its thin, non-greasy texture absorbs easily into skin without clogging pores. It never leaves behind an oily residue.
Clearly, argan oil is a multi-faceted liquid that delivers wide-ranging benefits to virtually all skin types and conditions when used regularly. Its moisture-locking and collagen/elastin-boosting properties especially help reduce stretch marks significantly over time.
How Argan Oil Fades Stretch Marks
As mentioned earlier, stretch marks are caused by deficiencies or damage to the collagen and elastin matrix underneath the skin’s surface. Argan oil helps improve skin elasticity in a few important ways:
- Revives Collagen Synthesis: The high vitamin E and phenolic compounds stimulate fibroblasts – the cells responsible for generating new collagen. This promotes collagen rebuilding for firmer, more elastic skin.
- Moisturizes Deeply: The oil’s exceptional hydrating abilities aid in replenishing lost moisture to dermal layers. Well-nourished skin has improved flexibility and less susceptibility to tearing.
- Stimulates Elastic Fiber Growth: Components like omega-6 fatty acid strengthen elastin fibers by inducing more tropoelastin (elastin protein) production.
- Exfoliates Dead Skin: Used with a mild scrub, argan extracts debris and speeds up cell turnover for a fresher, more radiant complexion. This allows newer regenerated skin to replace scarred areas gradually.
- Fades Pigmentation: Over time, the natural bleaching properties and antioxidants in argan diminish hyperpigmentation left by old stretch marks.
- Protects Against Further Damage: Regularly locking in moisturizers and blocking environmental aggressors stops marks from expanding further or new ones from forming during lifestyle changes.
When applied consistently as a body moisturizer or stretch mark cream/ serum, argan oil recruits the powers of collagen, elastin and cell renewal to visibly minimize the depth and coloration of old markings. New stretch marks may also be prevented from surfacing at all when argan becomes a skin-softening staple.
How to Use Argan Oil for Stretch Marks
The pure, unrefined argan oil is available as a nutritional supplement as well as a beauty product. In terms of using it specifically for stretch marks, here are some effective routines:
- As a Daily Body Lotion: After showering, massage 2-3 drops of argan oil all over damp skin while it’s still slightly wet. This allows for maximum absorption. Pat dry and get dressed as usual.
- Before & After Workouts: Apply a lightweight lotion containing argan oil to targeted areas prone to marks, like inner thighs, hips or back, 20-30 minutes before vigorous exercise. Reapply after to lock in moisture.
- As a Stretch Mark Serum: Blend 10 drops argan oil with 2 tsp jojoba or grapeseed oil. Use the lightweight, non-greasy serum on marks 2-3 times daily, massaging in circular motions for 2-3 minutes each time.
- Following Pregnancy: Stretch marks often appear in final months of pregnancy. Make consistent derma-rolling or micro-needling followed by argan application part of post-pregnancy skin care routine for enhanced collagen boost.
- During Pregnancy: As an alternative to potentially irritating creams, argan oil’s nurturing properties keep skin supple and flexible during monthly changes. Reduce chances of stretch development.
- With Exfoliation 1-2x/Week: For fastest improvement, pairing argan with a body scrub containing sugar or salt lifts away dead flakes to maximize skin cell turnover. Reveals fresher skin underneath faster.
When used as directed, preferably in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet, argan oil therapy gives stretch-prone skin the nutrients it needs to regain elasticity and diminish existing marks over weeks to months of steady use. But consistent application is a must to enjoy lasting results.
Other Natural Tactics that Pair Well with Argan
For amplified stretch mark fading effects, combining argan oil with certain complementary ingredients provides enhanced collagen support:
- Vitamin C: As L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant to stimulate new collagen production when massaged with argan into marks.
- Hyaluronic Acid: The hydrating powerhouse binds moisture deeply into skin alongside argan. This plumps up texture while firming contours.
- Rosehip Seed Oil: Contains essential fatty acids and vitamin A to further strengthen elastin networks that argan alone cannot supplement as effectively.
- Coconut Oil: As another emollient with medium-chain triglycerides to deeply moisturize without greasiness, coconut augments hydration when blended 50:50 with argan oil.
- Aloe Vera Gel: With its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe soothes irritation and redness associated with stretch marks when combined topically with argan’s smoothing agents.
- Cocoa Butter: A tried-and-tested scar improver in its own right, cocoa’s emollients complement argan to nourish marks from within as well as without.
- Glycerin: Added to argan oil, this humectant draws ambient moisture into skin for complete hydration against future stretch development.
- Shea Butter: A super-nourishing natural moisturizer that seals all the goodness of argan into marks when combined in carrier oils or lotions.
FAQ 1: How long does it take to see results using argan oil for stretch marks?
It varies depending on the individual but most people notice gradual improvement within 4-8 weeks of regular twice-daily application. Faded coloring and softened texture are usually the first signs. Deeper marks may require 2-3 months of consistent use to significantly diminish. For best outcomes, pairing argan oil with other natural moisturizers and dermarolling/microdermabrasion can help reduce timeline. Genetics also plays a role in how stretch marks respond. While full removal is unrealistic, significant fading is very possible within 6 months with dedicated use as part of a skin care regime.
FAQ 2: Can argan oil help prevent new stretch marks from forming?
Yes, argan oil can aid in preventing new stretch marks when used as a body moisturizer during periods where the skin is under hormonal or physical changes like pregnancy, weight fluctuations or muscle growth. Its ability to deeply nourish and soften the skin keeps collagen and elastin fibers flexible and resilient enough to withstand stretching pressures. Starting a regimen of daily argan oil massages before expected changes occurs gives skin maximum conditioning support against damage. Along with hydration, those with a family history are advised to incorporate gentle exfoliation weekly as a preventative measure.
FAQ 3: Is argan oil safe to use during pregnancy?
Argan oil is generally recognized as a very gentle and nourishing natural product with no known safety issues. However, when used topically during pregnancy, it’s best to do a patch test on a small area of skin first to check for any allergic reaction before broad application. Internal consumption should only be upon doctor’s advice as high doses of vitamin E from argan may interact with certain medications. As topically applied to skin, argan oil contains fatty acids that help prevent stretch marks by keeping tissues flexible and moisturized throughout changes in a pregnancy.
FAQ 4: What skin types does argan oil suit best?
Argan oil benefits all skin types, from normal to sensitive or mature skin. However, some main types that stand to gain the most are:
- Dry skin: Argan oil deeply hydrates without clogging pores or leaving a greasy residue suitable for very dry complexions.
- Combination skin: It regulates oil in T-zones while nourishing dry areas like cheeks and neck.
- Sensitive skin: Being gentle and anti-inflammatory, argan calms irritations and prevents further damage.
FAQ 5: What other skin issues can argan oil help with besides stretch marks?
Some other common skin conditions argan oil may be effective for include:
- Scars – Helps fade surgical scars and acne marks over time through moisturizing.
- Wrinkles – Keeps skin firm and supple to minimize appearance of expression lines.
- Dark spots/pigmentation – Lightens hyperpigmentation from its natural skin-brightening qualities.
- Acne – Reduces inflammation, dryness and sebum production to prevent further breakouts.
- Dryness – Its exceptional moisture-locking abilities remedies flakiness and patches of very dry skin.
- Skin aging signs – Packed with antioxidants to protect skin from environmental damage.
FAQ 6: What’s the best way to incorporate argan oil into a daily routine?
Morning: After washing face, apply 1-2 drops of argan oil and massage gently. Follow with a lightweight moisturizer suitable for your skin type.Evening: Do the same as above step after cleansing but use an additional night cream if needed and on stretch marks/body.1-2 times a week: Exfoliate skin with a fine scrub before applying argan oil for faster cell turnover.
Stretch marks are an aesthetic yet harmless skin condition, though their appearance can influence self-image. Argan oil has centuries of traditional use and dermatologist approval for its nourishing properties that aid elasticity. When applied regularly, its moisturizing effects on collagen and elastin allow new skin cell production to gradually diminish the look of existing stretch marks caused by growth, weight fluctuations or lifestyle changes like pregnancy. With consistency over weeks to months, argan provides a natural means for reducing the impact of lines and striations on self-confidence through nourished, toned integrity in skin structure from within outward. Both on its own and when combined thoughtfully with other plant-based allies, argan oil has proven effective for stretch mark care and prevention for many people.