Shea butter for stretch marks is an effective way of reducing and treating stretch marks. However, successful stretch marks treatment is hugely dependent on a few factors.
Stretch marks occur when the dermis skin layer tears as it is stretched quickly. Pregnancy and rapid body fat or muscle gain lead to stretch mark scarring. Shea butter has properties that qualify the oil as a preventive measure or remedy. Mixed with other oils, such as coconut, and a favorite essential oil, shea butter creates a pleasing body butter.
Shea Butter for Stretch Marks – weapon against stretch mark formation
Because stretch marks are the result of tears in the dermis when the skin is forced to expand, promoting skin elasticity helps minimize damage. Vitamin A, applied topically, helps increase skin elasticity and suppleness. The epidermal and dermal layers benefit from the nutrient. Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamin A, so regular applications to the abdominal region during pregnancy may reduce the formation of dermal tears. Without sufficient vitamin A, skin may become dry and itchy. The generous use of shea butter for stretch marks has the added benefit of relieving the itch.
Shea butter also contains a substantial amount of vitamin E, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient. Together with vitamin C, vitamin E strengthens cell walls. Studies show the vitamin may help prevent collagen breakdown, further protecting skin from the stress of stretching. Vitamin E improves the function of oil glands around hair follicles, as well.
These benefits make shea butter a natural choice as a body lotion for other areas, such as shoulders, thighs and calves, that are prone to stretch marks.
The healthy choice for reducing stretch mark scarring
Removing existing stretch marks usually involves medical procedures. However, applying shea butter two to three times per day may reduce the appearance of puckering and ridges associated with the scarring.
Frank Renard, Ph. D., conducted a clinical study that indicates why using shea butter for stretch marks is effective. He instructed participants to massage the oil into their skin daily for four to eight months. Dr. Renard found shea butter significantly rebuilds and rejuvenates collagen, the substance that gives skin its strength. He noted his subjects had clearer, brighter skin, fewer wrinkles and less sun damage.
To be effective as a treatment or preventive, shea butter must be in its unrefined form as processing destroys the oil’s vitamin and mineral content. The oil has no known risks or side effects, whether used as a topical or ingested. The product is high in saturated fat, so moderate use is best when taken as a dietary supplement.
The sourcing and creation of Shea Butter for Stretch Marks
The therapeutic oil is from the nut of two sub-species of the karite shea tree, found only in Africa. While these trees grow in about 21 African countries, only two regions produce substantive commercial crops. The first is in West Africa in Ghana and Nigeria, the second in Uganda located in East Africa.
Both species of shea trees grow as tall as 50 feet. The trees take from 40 to 50 years to mature and begin to produce shea nuts. Traditional African harvesting produces truly unrefined shea butter, making it difficult to obtain outside of Africa. Many of the products on the retail market are not authentic.
Quality shea butter for stretch marks costs approximately $12 – $20 per pound and is available from direct suppliers and select retailers.