Vicks Vapor Rub for Old Stretch Marks (Natural Treatments For Stretch Marks)

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As the name itself implies, stretch marks occur because of your skin’s sudden stretching. This happens mainly in instances of pregnancy and rapid weight gain or weight loss. Vicks vapor rubs can barely make a change when it comes to old stretch marks, although they can prevent future stretch marks. Stretch marks can change color based on their age, and they can vary from colors like red to white. Natural treatments for your stretch marks include various options like Aloe Vera and even sugar scrubs.

Stretch marks are indented streaks that appear on our skin, mainly around the breast, buttocks, hips, and abdomen area.

While they don’t entirely disappear on their own, it does usually fade away with time.

With the proper natural treatment and medical help, the stretch marks can be minimized to the extent that it’s barely noticeable.

A popular treatment that women resort to is the Vicks vapor rub, a mentholated topical ointment that’s quite popular as it’s easily available as an over-the-counter medication.

What causes stretch marks? How effective is Vicks vapor rub for old stretch marks? What are the possible benefits and side effects of applying Vicks vapor rub? Can stretch marks change color? What kind of natural treatments exists for stretch marks?

What causes stretch marks?

Stretch marks occur because of the stretching of your skin.

This can happen based on your genetics and the extent of stress on your skin.

Your cortisol hormone production could also be a reason for your stretch marks since it tends to weaken the elastic fibers in your skin.

Various other factors can make you prone to getting stretch marks, especially if you’re a female.

Pregnant women in their final trimester experience stretch marks due to the expansion of the stomach.

A pregnant woman is rubbing lotion on her belly to help with the stretch marks

If you’ve recently lost or gained quite an amount of weight within a short time as well, you’d have noticed stretch marks.

Other influences of stretch marks include having breast enlargement surgeries and the use of corticosteroids, which is a type of anti-inflammatory drug used to treat rheumatologic diseases like lupus or arthritis. 

How effective is Vicks vapor rubs on stretch marks?

A quick social media search would bring your attention to Vicks vapor rub as a quick fix for stretch marks.

Sadly, there isn’t adequate evidence to back up this view.

Although few studies do explore the impact of various oils, creams, and ointments on stretchmarks of pregnant women, none has produced assuring evidence that such products could completely wipe out stretch marks.

Although Vicks may not be able to completely get rid of stretch marks, the ingredients of petrolatum and natural oils in this Vapor rub can play their part in moisturizing and hydrating the skin to prevent any further stretching of the skin.

Since skin hydration is key to preventing stretch marks, as shown by a 2015 study, we can admit that Vicks can help avoid stretch marks rather than getting rid of them.

Benefits and side effects of Vicks vapor rub

Now that we’ve studied the effect that Vicks vapor rubs have on stretch marks, we can look at various other benefits of using this ointment and possible side effects that you may experience.

Benefits of Vicks vapor rubSide effects of Vicks vapor rub
Relieves foot conditions – If you’re struggling with athlete’s foot, antimicrobial elements and petroleum jelly in the vapor rub helps in preserving moisture and getting rid of bacteria.Skin irritations – Sometimes, your skin type may be allergic to Vicks vapor rub. If your skin experiences a reaction to this ointment, you should stop using it immediately.
Recover from bruising – You can seek relief for bruises through this ointment as it contains menthol, which gives off a cooling effect on inflamed skin.Triggers acne sometimes – Although Vicks is ideal for applying moisture to your wounds, it has been known to cause a breakout in certain situations, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Soothing headaches – Applying Vicks on your chest helps loosen your congestion fast. You can rub it on your forehead when going through a headache, and you can even breathe in its scent.Hives – This is a sort of rash that appears beneath the skin’s surface, triggering itchy and red bumps. This too, is caused by an allergic reaction and may need medical attention.
Repels insects – This ointment acts as an insect repellent when applied to your body. Be sure to rub some on your arms, legs, and neck to chase away that pesky mosquito.Difficulty breathing – This is a rather serious and rare allergic reaction to Vapor rub and will require immediate medical attention
Relieve muscle soreness – After a long hike or intense workout, your muscle soreness takes a long time to recover. With Vicks vapor rub, you can ease this whole process as it soothes all the tired muscles.Irregular heartbeat – This is a very uncommon reaction and can occur if you’re already suffering from a pre-existing health condition. This is why it’s safe to run it by a doctor before using such ointments.
Getting rid of itchiness – If your skin feels irritated and itchy, moist ointments like this could help out thanks to its ingredient of menthol.Dizziness – These last few side effects are considered severe and rare reactions that have occurred in only isolated cases.  

Can stretch marks change color?

Stretch marks usually change color with time. It’s a very normal process which you’ve probably experienced.

The following list will clarify various colors that you can expect and what it means:

  1. Red stretch marks – somewhat new stretch marks that are less than a year old. This appearance is because of the blood vessels below the skin.
  2. Purple stretch marks – As time passes, if you don’t end up taking treatments to reduce your stretch marks, they might turn a purple color.
  3. White/silver stretch marks – This is the gradual color that your stretch marks will turn into. White stretch marks are the most common as it comes with pregnancy and sudden weight gain or loss.

It’s important to treat your stretch marks at their red stage itself since this is when it’s easiest to treat and be rid of them.

The presence of active blood vessels beneath your skin helps the stretch marks to respond to treatment effectively.

Once you reach the white stage, your stretch marks will be much older in age and more complex to treat since your blood vessels have narrowed by then, making it difficult to stimulate collagen production

How do you naturally get rid of stretch marks?

When it comes to permanently getting rid of stretch marks, you might have to turn to modern medical technology like laser therapy and cosmetic surgeries.

However, if you want to take a more natural path to reduce your stretch marks, the following list will help you out.

A pregnant woman is doing a sugar scrub on her belly to help exfoliate the skin and prevent stretch marks
  1. Retinoid – This refers to vitamin A that’s found in skincare products like cosmetic creams. A 2015 study shows the effectiveness of this element as it had helped in minimizing the visibility of stretch marks to a great extent.  But, it’s advised not to use retinoids during pregnancy and lactation as a precautionary measure.
  2. Sugar scrub – Sugar is a well-known exfoliator and, when used as a scrub, can do away with dead skin. You can make your sugar scrub quite easily by combining half a cup of sugar and a softening component like coconut oil. When you mix these two ingredients and leave them for a while, it’ll be perfect for use.
  3. Coconut oil – Coconut oil has numerous benefits for the skin. A 2010 study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine proved that it helps immensely heal skin wounds quicker. 
  4. Hyaluronic acid – This acid has a strong healing capacity and is a popular component included in various lotions and creams. A 2017 study revealed that this acid can lessen the visibility of stretch marks. 
  5. Aloe Vera – The aloe vera plant leaves have earned their name in skincare treatments. The jelly taken from within these leaves can even be directly applied to the skin, and various studies help prove its skin healing properties. 


Although we cannot recommend the perfect home remedy for your old stretch marks, we can admit that home remedies can go a long way in promoting your skin healing process and influence an inevitable fading of your stretch marks.

At the end of the day, even if you don’t treat them, your stretch marks will gradually fade over time and will never be as clear as to when they first appeared.

The best way to look for your ideal option would be by consulting with your doctor to ensure any form of treatment is safe to use before using it. This way, you’ll have no regrets.

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Kavisha Rodrigo
I'm a sports person that enjoys researching into pushing the limitations of the human body. When it comes to health, I'm a big fan of working out and staying healthy. For hobbies, I'm a big fan of Pokemon and Coldplay.

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