Woman is one of the most beautiful creations of God. She is blessed with a kind heart, she is a sea of love and a bundle of affection. She is undoubtedly the symbol of love and pillar of strength. Reproduction is an important part of her life. She undergoes physiological, hormonal and metabolic changes during conception and throughout pregnancy to accommodate and support the life growing within her. In response to these changes she suffers some ailments during the pregnancy period. In this journey she experiences periodical changes some of which can pull her down psychologically. One of the most common amongst them is the stretch marks that appear as a result of pregnancy.
Kikkisa is a common disorder that is clinically characterized as stretch marks and appears on the body, particularly on the abdomen, thighs and breast region, during the second trimester of pregnancy. It appears particularly in the seventh month due to the overstretching. The etiology of Kikkisa is mentioned by various Acharyas under the heading of Garbhini Vyapada (disorders of pregnancy) and has compiled the same cause i.e. vitiation of tridosha due to the growing of the foetus which leads to burning sensations and itching as symptoms and stretch marks as a sign. Above said causative factors and symptomatology of Kikkisa has close resemblance with Striae Gravidarum, as described in modern texts. It is the major problem of modern conscious era, where more than 90% of the women suffer from this condition that becomes a cosmetic nuisance, and it even may cause them psychological distress.
Causes of Stretch Marks
- Besides pregnancy, obesity is also one of the reasons behind developing stretch marks.
- Stretch marks occur depending on skin tone and type. For example, fair and dry skinned people develop stretch marks faster.
- Crash dieting or abnormal dieting practice also results in stretch marks.
The time period for treating these scars varies depending on its intensity. The longer the existence of the scar, the longer it takes to clear it. And in chronic situations the success rate may be limited.
So, understanding the reason behind the stretch mark before undergoing any treatment is very essential. However, it is understood that yoga and natural treatments go a long way to get rid of these stretch marks.
Home Remedies for Stretch Marks
- Gently rub olive oil on the areas of stretch marks. This will help to increase the blood circulation and will relax the muscles around the area of the stretch marks healing it naturally and gradually.
- You can also massage the abdomen with calendula oil as this also helps in reducing stretch marks and increases blood circulation.
- Lavender oil helps to remove stretch marks. This oil is best for stretch marks on the breasts. You can massage your breasts with this oil gently and regularly. Flax seed oil, cod liver oil and natural creams that contain vitamin C can also be used for massaging the areas of stretch marks. These give positive results when massaged regularly.
- Use of Ksheer Bala taila, Bala taila from the first month of pregnancy itself. These can be used in the form of Abhyanga, from the second trimester. It alleviates leg cramps and low backache, which are the common issues faced by pregnant women. Sciatica is another troublesome problem for which Abhyanga with Bala provides much relief. Using Bala regularly has reported of negligible stretch marks and itching. It also tones the muscles that become weak and saggy after delivery.
- Karaveertaila is used for local application and is prepared from leaves of Karaveer and Til It is prepared as described in the Ayurveda classics for a total period of 3 months including one month of follow up.
- Tailabhyanga – This is oil massage with Tilor sesame oil, castor oil, coconut oil, etc. and oil from processed herbs. Other oils like Ksheer bala taila, Bala taila, can also be used from the third month of pregnancy till the delivery is beneficial. This will prevent undue exhaustion and takes care of aches and pains that are common during this period. It also enhances energy, improves immunity, build up physical strength and stamina. It also improves muscle bulk and strength, improves the skin texture and prevents the occurrence of any type of stretch marks.
- Manjistha in combination with other drugs is also used in the treatment of Leaves of Nimba, and Manjistha are used for local action on skin. Manjistha is able to bind with Amavisha (free radicals) and Garavisha (xenobiotics) toxins which cause inflammation, skin disease, and other problems. This herb penetrates into the cellular level of tissues and helps in preventing itching, burning and scar formation and acts as coloring agent for de-pigmentation of skin. It is effective in reducing all types of striae marks (linea alba – linea nigra), healing the scars and can be used as cosmeceutical product in combination with other drugs.
- A paste of Sandalwood and Usira applied over the abdomen helps to reduce stretch marks.
- Powder of the stem or bark of Sirisa plant, flowers of Dhataki, Sarsapa and Yastimadhu are rubbed over the affected area for desired results.
- Abdomen and breasts should be irrigated with decoction of Neem, Bottle gourd, Tulsi and Manjishta or leaves and flowers of Jati and Yastimadhu for preventing stretch marks.
- Repeated cleansing with Daruhridra and Yastimadhu gives good results.
Yoga for Stretch Marks
Yoga has overall benefits and it helps heal the mind, body and skin as well. Different yoga asanas like Suryanamaskar and almost all Pranayamas are helpful in relaxing and toning the muscles of the body. As soon as the flabbiness of the skin gets toned up, the stretch marks will eventually become lighter and very soon it will be gone.
It also helps to improve the supply of oxygen into the body, tones up muscles and thus helps to reduce stretch marks slowly but surely. Do not worry unnecessarily about your stretch marks as they will gradually evade if you focus on massaging them regularly with the appropriate herb or oil.
Remember, home remedies and natural methods of getting rid of stretch marks may not give fast and quick results. But they will give positive results slowly and steadily. These are a bit time consuming but completely free from side effects and unnecessary expenses.
Note: All the medicines should always be taken under strict consultancy or as per the guidance by doctors for better results and efficacy.
Dr. Jignesh K Kevalia
Head, Dept. of Pharmacognosy
Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Gujarat Ayurved University
M: 9016 4999 52