Preventing Stretch Marks: An Expert Guide
Anytime your body goes through growth spurts, you run the risk of getting stretch marks. Most commonly obtained during pregnancy, stretch marks are reddish-purple streaks that are indented into your skin in reaction to your skin expanding in a short period of time. When the skin stretches too quickly, collagen and elastic tissue in the skin can break, causing the stretch marks.
They appear more often on the stomach, chest, hips, buttocks, and thighs. Initially, stretch marks may appear as red, pink or purple lines. Once the blood vessels heal, those lines fade and become less noticeable, though not always disappearing entirely.
Anyone can develop stretch marks at any point in their life, whether they are male or female, overweight or not. In fact, about 80 percent of people will get stretch marks. Some people are more susceptible to getting stretch marks and because they can be genetic, if your parents have them then you are more likely to get them at some point. Besides your family history, stretch marks can also develop from size changes due to weight gain, puberty, and muscle gain.
Despite your family history and known body changes, there are precautions you can take to help reduce the likelihood that you will get stretch marks.
Ways to prevent Stretch Marks
Let's take a close look at how to stop stretch marks from showing up in the first place.
Manage your health to prevent stretch marks
Maintaining a healthy weight and managing the rate at which your body changes occur are likely the most effective way to prevent stretch marks. Do this by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Not only will exercise help you manage weight gain, but it also improves circulation and increases blood flow to the skin, helping the skin rebuild itself.
Eating foods that improve skin health can help, too. Vitamins C, D, and E, Zinc, Omega 3’s and protein are all nutrients that are great for your skin. We go into more detail on the benefits of vitamins C and D later, but Zinc is a super-nutrient for reducing inflammation and it helps the process of wound healing. Omega 3’s are great for improving skin elasticity and keeping it supple, so eat plenty of salmon, flaxseed and chia seeds!
You should also avoid smoking at all costs, since smoking deprives the skin of oxygen needed to repair itself and reduces blood flow. The release of harmful free radicals from smoking can also break down the collagen and elastin needed to keep skin strong and flexible.
Those that are pregnant and expecting to gain weight and know their skin will be stretching at a rapid pace, make sure you know what the appropriate amount of weight to gain is based on your current health. The recommended amount for women who are a healthy weight is 25-35 pounds, but that number changes if you are overweight, underweight, or have any health conditions.
Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated to prevent stretch marks
Hydrated skin is a lot less likely to develop stretch marks than dry skin. Drinking plenty of water helps to hydrate your body, including your skin. Limit caffeine intake, as well. Caffeinated beverages can actually increase your risk of getting stretch marks. This doesn’t mean you have to quit caffeine altogether, but balance out your fluids by drinking even more hydrating fluids with caffeine.
Get enough Vitamin C & D
Vitamin C is a major player when it comes to developing collagen. Collagen helps your skin stay strong and elastic. Not only should you incorporate it in your diet, but you can also use moisturizers that are made with Vitamin C or add a drop or two of citrus essential oil to your moisturizer before you apply it.
Vitamin D is another essential nutrient for healthy skin. Soak up the sun and make sure you are getting plenty of Vitamin D in your diet. Keep in mind that the sun can be very damaging to your skin, so wear sunscreen daily.
how to Keep your skin flexible to prevent stretch marks
All of the above steps can help improve your skin elasticity. So in addition, apply moisturizers and oils to help reduce itching and hydrate the skin. Add citrus and frankincense essential oils to your lotion and apply daily.