Introduction To Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are a type of scar that can develop when skin is greatly stretched out or shrunk quickly. Circumstances in which this may happen include giving birth (or simply being pregnant), or gaining lots of weight in a particular area. While you might think that these little scars are totally permanent, there are actually several ways to help speed up the stretch mark fading process – and several ways for you to get rid of or prevent your stretch marks entirely.
Though it’s likely that each and every one of us will have to deal with stretch marks at some point or another during life, not everyone has the same predisposition to the scars. In fact, there are many different factors that may play a role in the creation of stretch marks. The scars, caused by the breakage of elastin and collagen in the layers of the skin, might even be affected by such things as family genetics or fluctuating hormone levels.
If you’re going to develop stretch marks on any part of your body, the most likely times you’ll do so include during weight loss or gain, weight training, puberty, or pregnancy.
Your stretch marks might appear as a red or purple scar. They might even itch in their earliest stages. As time passes, however, these vibrant colors will fade, and the scar will leave a slight depression on your skin. As noted by the American Academy of Dermatology, your stretch marks will typically fade simply with time. Of course, you may want to be rid of your stretch marks a little faster. For this reason, there are tons of topical treatments such as gels or creams on the market to treat such scars.
Something else to note: taking the time each day to massage lotions into your stretch marks can only help increase the effectiveness of the products you use. These products can be added to an evening or morning routine (or even better, both!) in order to gain the most benefit from each product.
Who Gets Stretch Marks?
As noted earlier, it’s possible for just about everyone to get stretch marks. Each of us may be affected by a sudden gain or loss of weight. Each of us may be affected by a growth spurt during puberty. Of course, there are those of us who might simply have more of a chance of dealing with stretch marks during their lives. Quite a few factors can play into this predisposition. Additionally, though stretch marks are not considered to be an indicator of health issues, these factors may be affected by any health issues or concerns that you might have; for example, if you have certain health issues around weight, you might have a higher risk of getting stretch marks than an individual who isn’t dealing with that particular health concern. As a reminder, it’s always important to speak with a trusted medical care professional when thinking about the causes of your stretch marks.
Stretch mark risk factors can include several things, including but not limited to pregnancy; corticosteroid use; breast related surgeries; genetic disorders; weight-related health issues; being a woman; and , of course, having a family history of stretch marks.
So how can you prevent stretch marks from occurring?
Ensuring a balanced diet and hydration are key to make sure your body is healthy – both inside and out. When thinking about your skin, consider the vitamin, nutrient, mineral, and water intake that you have every day. Do you have a balanced diet? Are you the kind of person who would consider themselves ‘active’? These questions are key when looking into both prevention and treatment methods for your stretch marks.
Preventing Stretch Marks
Though there are many products that can help relieve your stretch marks, the very best way to take care of them is through prevention. Making sure that your skin is nourished both inside and out is absolutely key to the prevention of stretch marks.
In order to prevent stretch marks, there are several things that you can do.
- Keep A Controlled Weight
Though it’s true that this may be a difficult prevention method, it’s one of the most helpful when it comes to preventing stretch marks. Ensuring that you eat a healthy diet and exercise frequently can help you manage your weight, and therefore prevent stretch marks.
- Stay Hydrated
You’ll want to make sure that you’re drinking enough water to keep your body properly hydrated in order to continue preventing stretch marks. Soft skin doesn’t typically develop stretch marks as quickly as dry skin, so it’s important to ensure that you’re drinking enough water to keep your skin nice and soft. Additionally, it’s important to think about your caffeine intake, as it’s thought that caffeine may increase the risk of developing stretch marks.
- Eat A Balanced Diet
It’s important to think about your diet when it comes to your overall health – especially when it comes to your skin! It’s necessary to ensure that you’re eating foods that are rich in such vitamins and minerals as vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and protein. Unprocessed foods are a good choice when it comes to eating a balanced diet!
- Don’t Forget Vitamin C
Vitamin C is key in keeping your skin strong and elastic. It can help in the reduction of wrinkles, as well as in the prevention of stretch marks. Additionally, this particular vitamin is very important when it comes to the development of collagen. This vitamin is found in several fruits and veggies.
- Get Vitamin D
Though too much sun exposure can have adverse effects, it’s important to get the recommended amount of this particular vitamin in order to maintain healthy skin. The vitamin can also be found in dairy products and certain cereals.
- Eat Foods That Are Rich In Zinc
Zinc is another important mineral for skin health, as well as for your general health and well-being. This particular nutrient helps with the wound-healing process, as well as to reduce the level of inflammation that can occur. Nuts and fish are key places to find zinc in your diet.
- Treat Stretch Marks ASAP
Even if you aren’t able to completely prevent your stretch marks, you can make sure to catch them early so that you can speed up the fading process. Several topical creams and vitamin oils are beneficial to this process.
How To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Many women end of developing their stretch marks during pregnancy – in particular, during their third trimester. This particular part of pregnancy is one in which the body is growing extremely fast. This fast-paced growth is typically too much for the regular skin and collagen production of the body, therefore leading to stretch marks. These stretch marks are most likely to occur in the buttocks, inner thigh, breast and belly areas. It’s also thought that some hormonal changes during the pregnancy process can contribute to the creation of stretch marks.
Stretch marks typically become the most noticeable during pregnancy. With 50%-90% of women developing their stretch marks before the baby is even delivered, pregnancy marks one of the highest causes of stretch mark creation in women. These particular stretch marks may be more itchy than usual, but don’t have any particular risk for either baby or mother.
Preventing Puberty Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are incredibly common during puberty and the teenage years for both boys and girls. This is because during puberty, the body is growing at a rapid weight. At times, the body grows so fast that the skin simply cannot keep up; the skin is stretched too far, and the collagen beneath the skin breaks. This is what forms stretch marks.
During this time, many stretch marks can appear as red or purple scars along the body. Some of the most common places to find stretch marks during this time include the abdomen, arms, upper thighs, and butt areas.
Human skin consists not of one layer, but of three distinct layers. The collagen fibers within the skin get damaged when the body grows too quickly, and their elasticity is weakened. The red or purple marks simply mean that blood vessels have become more visible.
Teen girls are more prone to getting these stretch marks because of growth in the breast and hip areas. However, both girls and boys do deal with stretch marks during these formative years.
Of course, there are several methods of prevention for puberty stretch marks.
First of all, you’ll want to maintain a healthy diet. Again, having a balanced diet full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is one of the best ways to ensure your body – and your skin – is getting the nutrients that it needs. Avoiding processed, junky foods is a solid way to start shifting your diet for the better.
Another prevention method is to start a regular exercise regime. Though teenagers can be known to binge food without much bodily repercussion, it’s important to plan for the future – and for the slowing down of the metabolism. Starting the routine of regular exercise early can not only help keep the body healthy and prevent stretch marks during puberty, but can lay the ground for maintaining a healthy weight later in life.
Yet another prevention method is simply to stay hydrated. Though this may seem like a given, it’s incredibly important for you to have consistent water intake. Ensuring that you are well hydrated will not only help with stretch marks, but will show when it comes to the health of your hair and nails as well.
Finally, it’s important to use creams and lotions to get that extra bit of moisture to the skin. Regular use of moisturizers can help prevent stretch marks down the line.
Preventing Stretch Marks From Weight Gain Or Loss
Stretch marks are often described as one of the very first signs of weight gain. Found most commonly around the buttocks, thighs, hips, and stomach, stretch marks from weight loss or gain can be some of the most commonly found on both men and women. Of course, this can make them difficult to prevent without regular exercise and a balanced diet.
It should be noted that stretch marks can appear during weight loss in much the same way that they appear during weight gain. If someone has lost lots of weight in a very short period of time, there may be stretch marks that form in the stomach and thigh areas.
When thinking about how best to prevent these stretch marks, start by identifying your current lifestyle – are you sedentary? Athletic? Do you eat a well-balanced meal three times a day?
The daily rubbing of natural oils into the areas in which you’re experiencing weight gain or loss can have a significant impact on the prevention of your stretch marks, particularly if you’re using products that are designed to bring essential vitamins and nutrients to the affected areas.
Preventing Work Out Stretch Marks
While you’re working out, stretch marks may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, just as in with weight gain, it’s totally possible to get stretch marks from the muscle gain associated with regularly working out and lifting weights. These stretch marks may appear in places you’re not expecting, such as the inside of your arms. They can be difficult to prevent if you aren’t expecting to see them; however, even if you have silver or pink stretch marks in this area already, it’s totally possible to help get them to fade.
This area is certainly a less common one for your stretch marks to appear. However, as with rapid weight gain, rapid muscle gain forces the skin to expand in a way that, typically, it isn’t quite prepared to do. Though skin does have a certain level of elasticity, this rapid growth can break the collagen and elastin throughout the layers of the skin, thereby causing stretch marks in this area.
Vitamin A products are a great place to start when thinking about how best to treat these stretch marks. This particular vitamin helps to encourage the healing of tissues, as well as to hydrate the skin. Finally, vitamin A may help rebuild the important collagen that ruptures during any kind of skin stretching.
Though stretch marks may be considered a fact of life by many, they don’t necessarily have to occur. In fact, with the proper prevention through hydration, a balanced diet, and good exercise habits, it’s possible to keep stretch marks at bay.
Overall, with careful attention to your regular lifestyle habits, you can certainly help prevent the occurrence of stretch marks, even if you may have a predisposition towards them.