Stretch marks are commonly associated with pregnancy, but they can occur at any phase of life such as during rapid weight gain or loss. You may even have them just because of your genes. Sadly, there’s no sure way to avoid or remove these unsightly stripes.
But don’t give up just yet! Here are a number of ways you can minimise the visibility of these nasty marks:
Load up on Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps develop collagen, which is essential in keeping the skin firm and elastic. However, we produce less collagen as we grow older. This results to lines, wrinkles, and increased risk of having stretch marks.
When thinking of vitamin C, we normally imagine citrus fruits. Vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are also rich in this vitamin (more than oranges!) so it shouldn’t be hard to follow this tip.
Watch your weight
Paying close attention to your weight not only keeps you in good shape but also keeps the stretch marks in check. This is especially true during pregnancy so don’t just eat for two but consider how you can gain just the healthy amount of weight. Aside from vitamin C, it is generally recommended to eat food rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and E, healthy fats, and zinc to maintain skin elasticity.
Sources vary on how much calories pregnant women need but an underlying advice is that it gradually increases every trimester. It’s still best to consult your doctor on the most appropriate diet for you. Also, try to do some exercises (as approved by your doctor, of course) to increase blood circulation, which stimulates collagen production.
Throughout your pregnancy, gently and regularly massage your cream or oil of choice to stretch mark-prone areas, such as stomach, breast, buttocks, upper arms, lower back and sides, and thighs. Rubbing a moisturiser aids in blood circulation and formation of new skin tissues.
There is a wide array of these topical products so be sure to choose one that’s been tested as safe or go all-natural with a slew of available home remedies. Remember not to be swayed by promises of complete stretch mark removal because as we know now, that’s not happening.
Water does wonders to the body, including keeping the skin supple to reduce the risk of having stretch marks. By hydration though, note that we only mean water. Beverages with caffeine, carbonated drinks, and alcohol actually dehydrate you and among its effects is the increased likelihood to develop stretch marks.
Drink at least eight cups or about two litres of water daily. For pregnant women, the amount should be increased to 12 cups which is equivalent to almost three litres.
If you’re very serious about getting rid of those stretch marks (and especially if you’ve got the budget for it), you can undergo surgery or other treatment options such as laser therapy and skin needling. For best results, do these kinds of treatment while the marks are still new.