For some women, stretch marks are a sign of pregnancy, a badge of honor for being a mother. For other women, they're unsightly, something to be covered over.
Whatever your opinion, stretch marks are one of the hottest topics in dermatology, commanding a whole market for surgery, creams, and other methods to prevent and get rid of stretch marks.
If you're looking to do just that, keep reading, because we can tell you ways that actually work to help your skin look beautiful.
Why Stretch Marks Happen
Your skin is amazing. It's incredibly flexible and protective. It can stretch over vast areas without breaking and can heal itself.
That stretching is one of the key features. Protein structures allow the skin to cover huge areas without breaking its integrity. One of these methods is stretch marks.
When the skin stretches too quickly, the cells begin dividing fast to make up the extra room. Usually, it results in what we know as the stretch mark, but it's just a different type of growth.
It can happen from various things, but the most common is gaining weight, either because of straight fat gain or because of pregnancy.
Stretch marks can happen anywhere on your body. Muscle builders experience stretch marks when their muscles grow too fast. People in accidents find stretch marks where the skin pulled, but didn't break.
It's a fantastic process. But now, let's look at ways to prevent the stretch marks.
5 Ways To Prevent Or Heal Stretch Marks
Drink More Water
Your skin is incredibly elastic when it's healthy. You need proper hydration for that. Most people don't drink enough water and that causes a lot of problems. It causes the skin on your body to contract and tightenup. This helps conserve water through lower perspiration and surface area.
But, if you need flexibility, the proteins don't have enough fluid around them to stretch out properly. So the collagen remains tough and inflexible. Stretch marks are more likely when that happens.
Drink more water and you can check out these recommendations to make a taste better.
Fats – Fats – Fats
Fats comprise half of your cellular structure. The essential fatty acids you get through your diet provide the building blocks for building healthy cells.
People who consume diets rich in healthy fats have softer and younger-looking skin. When your body needs to stretch out, your skin can stretch out further without damage.
Using healthy fats like olive, sesame, and nut oils, butter, and supplementing fish oils and other omega-3s will help increase the healthy fats in your skin.
Get Out In The Sun
Your body needs lots of vitamin D, and the best way to produce that is to get out in the sun.. being in the sun helps your skin by increasing blood flow and oxygenation, increasing vitamin D levels, and helping to decrease cortisol in your body. Cortisol can increase wrinkles and dryness, both of which contribute to poor skin elasticity.
Just be sure you don't stay out long enough to burn. Damaged skin does not stretch as easily. And, stretch marks do not tan.
Zinc Is Your New Best Friend
Zinc helps the body produce collagen, an essential component in keeping your skin smooth and soft. Collagen helps keep your skin and tissues strong and flexible.
It's anti-inflammatory, meaning that it could help tone down some of the redness and irritation you feel. That can help your skin stay soft and smooth.
Not only that, but it also helps your immune system fight off colds.
Just as water moisturizes your skin from the inside out, adding a good moisturizer from the outside in can help keep your skin smooth and elastic. Most moisturizers only moisturize the top couple layers, mostly dead skin cells.
But, there is something to look for. While most natural remedies for moisturizing your skin does not prevent stretch marks, two particular fats do. First, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring acid in your skin. You can find it in some moisturizing creams and in foods.
Tretinoin, or retinoic acid, is another component that helps prevent stretch marks. You can find it in liver, where it's most abundant. Then, you can also find it in fatty fish.
That doesn't mean olive oil, sesame oil, Shea butter, and many other natural fatty acids used in cosmetic products don't moisturize your skin. They do moisturize your skin, they just don't have evidence to prove they prevent stretch marks.
The one thing you should avoid is steroid-based creams and using any steroid medication. Cortisone cream to prevent itching is the most common culprit. These tend to enhance stretch marks because the steroids help maintain tight protein structure, which lessens your skin's ability to stretch. You're more likely to create stretch marks because your skin becomes inelastic.
A Final Tip When You Know It's Coming – The Baby, that is
When you're approaching your due date, your body shifts and grows very quick. That can cause you to go to bed one night with perfectly smooth skin and wake up the next morning with multiple stretch marks.
But there is one thing you can do to help prevent it.
Massaging your skin helps it maintain its elasticity. It increases the blood flow and oxygenation to the tissues and helps the proteins to relax and stretch.
You can use a combination of the hyaluronic acid cream and the massage to help prevent stretch marks. Several times a day, take a few minutes and gently run your fingers over your skin, particularly where you could have stretch marks. If you're pregnant, that's going to be the same area where your baby is.
As a bonus, you're also massaging your baby, which creates a better connection between you and your child.
We hope you can take some of these tips and use them to prevent stretch marks. Since they're natural, you get the best boost to your health and well-being.