Are stretch marks stretching your mouth into a frown? There’s no doubt about it, regardless of age or ethnicity, these unsightly marks afflict many women, including an estimated 9 out of 10 pregnant women. This is your guide to understanding stretch marks and how to prevent and heal them.
What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are actually a type of scar that occurs when the body grows faster than it can create new skin. The growth causes the elastic fibers beneath the top layer of skin to break, creating that familiar mark. Reasons for rapid growth include:
-Fast muscle growth through intense bodybuilding
Initially, stretch marks appear purplish or reddish, but they often fade over time. Marks on women with lighter skin typically fade to light pink or a silvery color, while the scars on those with darker complexions may become a tone lighter than the surrounding skin.
Disheartening but true, stretch marks can appear virtually anywhere. The breasts and stomach are common problem areas, but marks can also pop up on the upper arms, hips, thighs, or butt.
Stretch Mark Prevention & Healing Tips
While total stretch mark prevention may not be possible, we can take steps to reduce our risk as well as help these marks heal better.
1. Stay hydrated.
Dry skin loses elasticity, so one way to help reduce the chance of developing stretch marks is to drink water regularly throughout the day. Another way to stay hydrated is to eat foods with a high water content, such as grapefruit, apricot, and cauliflower. Discover more hydrating foods in 21 Ways to Eat Your Water.
2. Keep skin moisturized.
A good moisturizer improves and hydrates skin, which may help prevent stretch marks. Lotions with vitamin C, in particular, may stimulate collagen production and help skin regain elasticity. Apply moisturizer once or twice a day, ideally following a shower or bath, while the skin is still damp.
3. Try a nourishing scrub.
Because they occur underneath the top layer of skin, it can be a challenge to treat stretch marks topically. However, a scrub like DIY Coffee Scrub for Fading Stretch Marks may help. The olive oil in the scrub penetrates several layers of skin, while the coffee grounds stimulate blood flow and circulation. What’s more, the coffee exfoliates skin, helping it shed dead cells and allowing new ones to receive nourishment.
4. Get up and move.
Regular exercise promotes blood circulation, allowing skin cells better nourishment and more efficient detoxification, which tones skin and reduces the appearance of stretch marks. Give your skin the circulation it needs to stay healthier with one of these Beginners Workouts or Fat Blasters.
5. Consider using retinoid products.
If you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, a retinoid product, like those used for anti-aging, may boost cell turnover and spark collagen growth. Over-the-counter retinols will take longer to work than the prescription retinoid called tretinoin. Always consult your doctor before using retinoid products on any part of your body.
Have you tried other successful strategies for stretch mark prevention? Let us know in the comments below.
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