Many of us have stretch marks and don’t know what to do about them. We try to hide these pesky little marks during bikini season, but what if we could lessen the appearance of them. Better yet, what if we could try to prevent them. Before we all start getting excited, there is no sure-fire way of treating or stopping stretch marks. However, there are things you can do to reduce them and help prevent new ones from popping up.
What are they?
Stretch marks are common among men & women. They are small, tiny tears that occur in the supporting layers of tissue under the skin. This happens when the skin is stretched or pulled during growth. They can also occur during puberty, pregnancy, weight gain, and weight loss. The most common areas stretch marks appear is the abdomen, thighs, breasts, buttocks, and upper arms. Unfortunately, genetics play a big role in stretch marks. If your mother had them there is an increased chance you’ll get them too.
When the skin is stretched, the collagen underneath the skin is weakened & damaged. Collagen is needed to provide your skin with strength and structure. Weakened and damaged collagen results in fine scars under the top layer of skin. These scars are stretch marks. Newly formed stretch marks are pink, red, or brown. This is the best time to treat stretch marks, because oxygen and blood are still present in that area.
How to Treat…
1.) Eat Right!
It’s good to nourish your skin from the inside. Eating the right foods can improve your skin’s elasticity, which helps to prevent stretch marks from forming.
Antioxidants: Help to nourish and protect the skin. Examples: Spinach, strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate.
Vitamin E: Protects and blocks free radicals from the skin. Examples: Almonds, seeds, spinach, avocado, kale, coconut oil, olives.
Vitamin C: Essential for rejuvenating connective tissue and collagen. Vitamin C also promotes healthy, glowing skin. Examples: Citrus fruit, kale, strawberries, kiwi, peppers.
Vitamin A: Helps to repair the skin’s tissue. Examples: Carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, red bell peppers.
Healthy Fats & Omega-3: Keeps the skin cell membranes healthy by producing the skin’s natural barrier. Makes the skin plumper, more youthful, and hydrated. Also, gives the skin a natural glow. Examples: fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, eggs, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil.
Zinc: This is used to help the skin produce more collagen. Zinc also contains antioxidants. Examples: Beans, nuts, whole grains, certain seafood, beef, fortified cereals.
2.) Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil has a fatty acid content that is moisturizing, hydrating, and nourishing to the skin. It contains antioxidants and vitamin E which helps repair damaged skin. Apply coconut oil 2-3 times a day. Massage lightly into skin to let the oil penetrate the skin. A little goes a long way. Only a small amount is needed for each use. Coconut oil is also safe to use while pregnant.
3.) Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercising helps the skin retain its elasticity by improving the body’s circulation. Exercise also prevents the body from gaining too much weight during pregnancy which lessens the chances of stretch marks. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Focus on exercise that makes pregnancy easier on your body. Stretching, strength training, and other movements help to keep the blood moving. Make sure to consult your doctor before committing to an exercise regimen. Consult a trainer to modify any stretches and exercises during pregnancy.
4.) Stay Hydrated!
Water helps the skin deal with the stresses of being stretched. Staying hydrated helps the skin stretch easier, keeping stretch marks at bay. Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat foods with a high-water content. Here are some foods with a high-water content: watermelons, strawberries, pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, and carrots to name a few.
5.) Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Commercial body washes contain sulfates that dry out the skin and reduce its elasticity over time. Choose a cleanser that contains natural oils to moisturize the skin. As mentioned earlier coconut oil can act as a healthy skin cleanser. Rub it over your skin and rinse with warm water. Pat dry with a towel.
Try these tips to help prevent any new stretch marks from forming. If you’re pregnant and would like to reduce the risk of stretch marks definitely try these tips. We are exposed to many pollutants and free radicals on a daily basis. With time, this can damage the skin. So, nourish your skin from the inside out. Your skin won’t be the only thing to appreciate the self-care, but your body too.