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Striae, also known as stretch marks, often appear on the body when a person has grown quickly or gained weight rapidly. Some treatment options, such as laser treatments, can be expensive, so lightening stretch marks with home remedies is appealing to many. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, no home remedy is proven to fade stretch marks, but because these remedies are usually harmless, many people give them a try.
Egg whites are included in at-home remedies because they are protein-rich, and can tighten and soothe the skin. Albumin, a protein in egg whites, is responsible for the tightening and drying effect when applied to stretch marks. This tightening can temporarily improve the look of stretch marks by evening out the skin's texture, but there is no scientific proof that the protein in egg whites has any long-term benefits to the skin or stretch marks. A simple egg white recipe for skin tightening includes 1 tablespoon of egg white and 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey, blended together. Apply and leave it on the skin for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
The natural acidity and bleaching power of lemons make it a useful home remedy for lightening stretch marks. According to the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture School at Purdue University, lemons are used for bleaching skin discoloration and are often found in topical remedies. Lemons contain alpha hydroxy acids, which are effective in stimulating collagen production, exfoliating the skin and helping new cells grow -- which can all improve the look of stretch marks. Lemon juice is especially effective on lightening stretch marks that are still red or brown, and it can speed up the natural fading process. Apply a mixture of one part lemon juice and one part water to areas that have stretch marks. Rinse after 10 minutes. This is safe to repeat daily unless skin irritation occurs.
Olive oil contains high concentrations of vitamin E, which can help promote elasticity and improve the look of skin. Use olive oil to prevent stretch marks by rubbing it into the skin during times of rapid weight growth, such as pregnancy. Although the efficacy of olive oil applied directly to the skin varies from person to person, according to the National Institute of Health's Office of Supplements, vitamin E has many scientifically proven benefits to the body and skin health.
A topical lotion that contain cocoa butter can lighten or lessen the development of stretch marks. The vegetable fat that is very effective at hydrating the skin. Combining cocoa butter's moisturizing properties with a massaging motion can improve the look of stretch marks, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, scientific studies haven't backed up the claims that cocoa butter can fade them permanently.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Striae
- Eastern Washington University: Soap, Detergent, Cosmetic Ingredients
- Purdue University: Lemon
- Times of India: Get Rid of Stretch Marks the Natural Way
- CNN Health: What can I do about my stretch marks?
- Oprah.com: How to Prevent and Eliminate Stretch Marks
- U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Search Database: Creams for Preventing Stretch Marks In Pregnancy
- Cosmopolitan: Eggs
- Cleveland Clinic: Stretch Marks: Hold the Cocoa Butter
- Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images