At some point in time, many of us, both men and women, will have to deal with stretch marks. Most common among women who have had pregnancies, stretch marks also occur from weight gain followed by weight loss.
Stretch marks most commonly appear on the abdomen, breasts, thighs, upper arms and buttocks. The skin is elastic and designed to stretch when necessary. But even our skin has limits. Appearing as silvery rope-like marks, stretch marks are a sign that the skin was stretched to its maximum and has become damaged.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are largely due to genetics but there are some things you can do to protect your skin and prevent stretch marks from developing:
Hydrated skin doesn’t tend to develop stretch marks as easily as dry skin, so it’s important that you remain hydrated. Consume food with high water content, drink lots of water and limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
→ Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
It’s a good idea to eat foods that are loaded with powerful nutrients that boost skin health. For instance, eat plenty of fruits, veggies, meats and nuts/seeds that are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Super Nutrients Include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
For starters, collagen is necessary to keep skin soft and supple, and vitamin C is necessary to help your body create collagen.
Vitamin D is also very important. In fact, research has shown there is a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and the occurrence of stretch marks. While more research is needed, it’s a good idea to make sure you soak up some sun each day, or at last take a good vitamin D supplement.
And finally, zinc is very important for skin health. Zinc not only helps reduce inflammation, it also plays a major role in the wound healing process. Foods rich in zinc are red meat, nuts and fish.
→ Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
Stretch marks happen the most frequently to women as a result of pregnancy. In fact, it’s estimated that 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women will develop stretch marks before delivery. Are the stretch marks developed during pregnancy any different from stretch marks that are a result of growth spurts and weight gain? Possibly.
Some medical experts believe that fluctuating hormones may play a role in developing stretch marks during pregnancy. It’s believed that certain hormones bring more water to the skin, relaxing it and ultimately making it easier to tear when stretched. Most pregnant women notice stretch marks happening in the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy.
A study published by BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth found that 78% of respondents used a product to prevent stretch marks from developing, with some form of oil being the most common ingredient.
Beyond using creams and lotions specifically designed to prevent stretch marks, another way to prevent stretch marks in pregnant women is to gain pregnancy weight slowly and steadily. Work with your doctor to find a diet and exercise plan that will help you avoid gaining too much weight too suddenly, while ensuring you get the nutrition you and baby need.
Benefits of Massage for Stretch Marks
You know that massage is great for your tired, aching muscles, but it’s also great for preventing and treating stretch marks. As your body is massaged, circulation is enhanced, and blood flow is increased to the surface of the skin. This promotes tissue healing and new tissue regeneration.
Plus, specific creams and oils that are used during massage can also help prevent stretch marks. Massage is something that pregnant women may want to look into to keep those stretch marks from developing. Get pampered and keep your beautiful skin – that’s a win/win!
Benefits of Oils for Stretchmarks
There are certain oils that are rich in skin-healthy vitamins that can really help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
For example Rosehip Oil is rich in beneficial vitamin A, which can penetrate deep layers of skin and improve moisture and collagen levels, while also reducing wrinkles and fine lines.
The Best Skin Care Ingredients for Stretch Marks
Beyond oils look for products that contain Vitamin C, as this can rejuvenate the skin by improving collagen synthesis. As an added bonus, vitamin C will protect your skin from free radical damage as well as inhibit your skin’s melanin production, which is what causes hyperpigmentation and skin spots.
Allantoin is an excellent ingredient that promotes new cell growth. And, with regular use, the rate of skin cell growth increases. Allantoin also increases skins suppleness, making is softer and more hydrated.
→ Hyaluronic Acid
If ever there were a “magnet for moisture,” this alpha hydroxy acid is it. HA helps your skin’s cells retain as much moisture as possible.
→ Vitamin E
A super antioxidant rigorously studied for it’s healing and skin nourishing properties
→ Shea Butter
Shea butter is amazing because it contains high concentrations of fatty acids, like coconut oil, which makes it very nourishing and moisturizing for the skin.
Microneedling Can Help as Well
Also known as “collagen induction therapy,” microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment that promotes skin rejuvenation. Essentially, a tiny handheld device with fine needles is moved across the skin. These needles gently prick the top layer of skin, which triggers your body to create new collagen and elastin. The results? Improved texture and elasticity as well as a reduction in stretch marks, scars and pore size.
Microneedling should be implemented after pregnancy to repair existing stretch marks.