Stretch marks -- striae -- are a natural, superficial sign of pregnancy, rapid growth or weight gain. As your body changes quickly to accommodate a baby or expanding tissue, your skin may not be elastic enough to stretch over the area. Stretch marks can be red, purple or white and might be noticeable to the touch. While stretch marks may never disappear entirely, a shea butter massage can restore elasticity and make them less noticeable by softening and moisturizing the scarred skin.
Check the ingredients and label of your shea butter to determine that it is raw, unrefined and free of additional ingredients. Check for an expiration date as well --over time, shea butter will break down and become less effective at softening stretch marks.
Warm about half a teaspoon of shea butter in your hands. You can apply more shea butter if necessary. Creams apply more easily into the skin once they're warmed to body temperature.
Apply the shea butter generously to the area where your stretch marks are prominent. The butter will moisturize and improve skin quality, which will help the area look healthier overall. Blotches, marks and imperfections are more noticeable on dry skin.
Massage the butter into the skin with circular motions and firm, sweeping motions toward the heart. Massaging the skin helps drain fluid and improves circulation, both of which will improve the appearance of stretch marks. Make sure you use enough shea butter that your fingers glide without pulling at the skin.
Apply shea butter and massage at least 10 to 20 minutes daily for at least one month. Examine your skin for signs of change. Your skin should be softer and plumper, and your stretch marks will likely be less noticeable.