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Is it possible to reduce stretch marks naturally?

Hair, skin and nails

Try natural remedies to restore skin elasticity

Normal skin is flexible and elastic, a result of balance of elastin and collagen in the connective tissue of the dermis. Nevertheless, when the diet is rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, as well as simple carbohydrates, skin loses this natural elasticity, becoming hard and stiff, because the production of elastin and collagen is reduced. If the skin in these conditions is subjected to a stretching for a certain reason (e.g. during pregnancy), once the initial state is restored, stretch marks may appear.

Stretch marks - striae distensae - are alterations in skin surface, characterised by a breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres that keep skin elastic. Known since ancient times, they represent one of the most common beauty problems that affect women. Stretch marks appear as longitudinal streaks or grooves, parallel to one another and very often located on the side of the abdominal surface or of the thighs; they can arise both during puberty, and - as seen - during pregnancy, as well as when you rapidly gain or lose weight. In practice, stretch marks tend to appear in the parts of the body where the skin is repeatedly pulled or expanded: buttocks, thighs, abdomen, hips and breasts.

Now, since it is not easy to remove stretch marks, prevention plays a key role in controlling their appearance. It has been said that these imperfections affect the elasticity of the epidermal tissue, whereby it is possible to prevent its occurrence by improving skin elasticity. Physical activity is undoubtedly one of the main precautions to be taken, since it favours the firmness of the epidermis. In addition, stretch marks hardly occur in those who have a balanced diet, rich in Vitamins A, which «keeps the skin elastic», C, which «cooperates with the proteins in the formation of collagen and elastin, both essential for a soft and well-toned skin», and E, which «keeps the skin healthy and young» (A. Kushi, Dieta, salute, bellezza, Roma 1993).

In addition to a healthy diet and regular physical activity, there are vegetable oils that can promote the hydration and elasticity of the skin, such as sweet almond oil, rich in vitamin E or rosehip seed oil, traditionally used in Chile and indicated in skin cosmetics «to give it new elasticity and tone» (A. Camporese, Salute e benessere con gli oli essenziali, Milano 2005). An equally important role is played by Jojoba oil, which «stimulates cell turnover and creates a glowing and elastic skin» (Ibid) and Flax seed oil, which promotes the integrity and function of cellular membranes. Finally, shea butter occupies a prominent place among natural products for healthy skin: made from the nuts of the plant, it has beneficial, regenerating and firming properties and hydrates the skin of face and body helping to fight skin problems including the "unsightly" stretch marks.


The mythological and romantic side of the Almond tree

Almond is the fruit of the almond tree, which produces a clear and odourless oil used as an emollient for dry and sensitive skin. An extremely passionate story is connected to the tree: Phyllis and Acamas, son of Theseus, fell in love at first sight, but had to break up very soon because of the departure of the Achaeans to Troy. The young woman waited ten years for her beloved to come back,  but not being able to see him anymore, let herself die. «While dying, the goddess Hera transformed her into an almond tree, and it was the bark of the tree that Acamas, who came back later, was able to hug. Then, on the branches stripped off by Winter, lovely white flowers appeared. For the Greeks, the early blooming of the Almond tree evoked the exquisite grace of a virginal love, which can only perish or, if it survives, parch, producing the fruits». (J. Brosse, Storie e leggende degli alberi, Pordenone 1992).


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