Stretch marks: a problem that many women wish would just go away! Also known as striae, stretch marks are basically scars that develop when your skin has to accommodate rapid stretching and growth. It can occur on your thighs, hips, breast or belly. They appear reddish or purplish in color when they first form. Like any scar, stretch marks do fade over time but may never disappear completely.
Stretch Mark 101. Normally, your skin stays supple thanks to the elastin and collagen in your body and can accommodate natural stretching and growth. However, during stages in life like puberty, pregnancy, obesity, or times of sudden weight gain, the dermis layer of the skin is stretched more than it can tolerate causing the skin fibers to eventually break and scar.
Although women are more likely to get stretch marks, it can plague both genders. Even body builders can get stretch marks when they bulk up and build muscle too quickly. Your personal susceptibility to developing stretch marks is mostly genetic, so blame it on your mama (joking). Hence, don’t fall for cleaver marketing on creams and lotions promising to undo the damage; stretch marks form deep from within and nothing you apply topically can counteract the process. Sigh…
But the good new is that you can boost your defenses against unwanted stretch marks by eating certain foods and leading a healthy lifestyle that supports your body’s elasticity.
Eat Wisely. Every opportunity to eat is an opportunity to fuel your body with the right foods it needs to keep your skin beautiful. Eat foods that boost your collagen production naturally. Enjoying foods rich in vitamins E, C, and B2 contribute to healthy collagen formation. Also include foods rich in silica (cucumbers) and zinc (oysters, pumpkin . Some of my favorite sources of these nutrients include camu camu berry (you can find here), goji berries (you can find here), pomegranates, nuts and seeds and green leafy vegetables.
Work that Body. You’ve heard this before but exercise truly does wonders for your health and physical appearance. Get plenty of movement to improve your circulation and promote the elasticity of your skin. New research shows that a regular exercise routine can even prevent and undo signs of aging! Get movin!
Keep Hydrated. How hydrated are you really? Do you keep track of how much you chug daily? Drinking approximately 2 liters of water daily is essential to strengthen your skin and keep it supple. Staying well hydrated is one of the best things you can do to renew your skin and prevent stretch marks.
Now once you have stretch marks, you have to be patient with scar recovery and treatment options. The newest and most promising treatment options are laser technologies since lasers have the ability to go deep into the skin. Another promising option would be applying topical retinoids to stimulate collagen growth and speed up cell turnover. Some people also swear by the topical application of essential oils, vitamin E, and salves, though research is lacking here.
Here’s a DIY Salve Recipe that Katie from Wellness Mama used to dramatically reduce and prevent future stretch marks with her five pregnancies.
Stretch marks are just one of those things. If you can’t fully get rid of them, then maybe change your outlook on them. There are many people with all sorts of scars (battle wounds as some call them), or badges or motherhood (pregnancy marks) and they wear them proudly.
Do stretch marks run in your family? What have you done that’s worked in preventing or removing them? Share below!