Stretch Marks and Keloids - Can They Be Treated Naturally?

October 25, 2015

Stretch marks are probably the most common scar problems that many women have; although men also suffer from these. When the skin is overstretched beyond return point, it will create fissure on the surface making blood vessels in the skin to appear, which give these vertical streaks their peculiar reddish/purplish color. Both men and women develop stretch marks when they are obese, and losing weight too fast, could also contribute to the development of stretch marks. The streaks are often found on the stomach, armpits, around the hips and legs. At the same time, pregnant women develop stretch marks mostly on their stomach, as their belly balloons. Some reports also says that diseases like Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome also cause stretch marks to develop, but this is a very rare occasion.

A keloid on the other hand is a type of scar that doesn’t regress. In his article, Dr. Gary Cole, MD, FAAD, “Keloids can be considered to be "scars that don't know when to stop." A keloid, sometimes referred to as a keloid scar, is a tough heaped-up scar that rises quite abruptly above the rest of the skin. It usually has a smooth top and a pink or purple color. Keloids are irregularly shaped and tend to enlarge progressively.” Not everyone is susceptible to developing keloids, just as not everyone may suffer from stretch marks. However, keloids seem to run in the family.

Are Stretch Marks and Keloids Treatable?

Stretch marks fade over time and become less visible for most people. However, it may not disappear completely. A few would opt for laser and surgical procedures to remove the streaks. Some would go for cheaper and less abrasive procedures like blue light therapy, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. But, many people prefer the natural way as it is cheaper, and well, natural.  

Some Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks

  • Glycolic acid and Vitamin C together. A study shows a 43% change in the appearance of stretch marks after a 12-month time-frame of regular use of glycolic acid and Vitamin C. The study used 20% glycolic acid and 10% Vitamin C. However, it is important to note that some people, may have adverse reactions to both agents. Although both are widely available, they don’t come as one product, so you have to buy them separately and make your own concoction at home.
  • Vitamin A and Glycolic Acids. Tretinoin is found to be effective in treating stretch marks, and some results are already visible within 3 to 6 months of using 0.01% tretinoin cream, depending on the ability of the skin to react to this agent. Studies also show that mixing 20% glycol acid gives better results - slightly better than glycolic acid and Vitamin C combined.
  • Retin-A or Retinoic Acid Cream. New stretch marks could hugely benefit from Retin-A as it boosts collagen production. However, this may not be effective for old stretch marks, and it’s not recommended for pregnant and lactating women.

How about keloids? Are they treatable? Well, the best way to deal with it is to not get one at all. When you know that keloid formation runs in your family, don’t get piercing and don’t undergo cosmetic surgeries. Most procedures to remove this type of scar is less desirable. There’s cortisone injection, which is given every 4-8 weeks, and it’s usually effective in flattening keloids. However, the steroids in the injection may make the keloid, although flat, appear redder. And then there’s surgery, which may post more risk as cutting the scar may trigger a larger formation of the same keloid. Laser is effective, but needs to be performed in several sessions, which may not hurt physically, but may hurt the pocket severely as it’s expensive. 

Some Natural Remedies for Keloid Scars

  • Vitamin E mixed with hydrocortisone and silicone. Vitamin E is a known antioxidant compound that helps heal skin by reducing the effects of cell-damaging free radicals, as well as curbing inflammation and excessive collagen production. However, studies show that using Vitamin E alone in treating keloids is not as effective as expected. But, when 0.5% Vitamin E is mixed with other compounds like 0.5% hydrocortisone and 12% silicone, the efficacy of flattening keloids rise to about 50-70%
  • Aspirin paste. Mash 3-4 aspirin tablets, mix with it a little water to make a paste and then applied on to your keloid. Rinse and pat dry. You can do this everyday until desired effect is achieved. However, results are not guaranteed.
  • Aloe gel, garlic, or honey. Some remedies involve these ingredients. You don’t have to apply them on together. You can apply aloe gel, if you like its soothing effect. You can crush a garlic or two and squeeze the juice and apply on to the scar. Or, you can use honey.