Stretch marks or the medical term Striae, commonly occur due to the skin stretching too fast. This typically happens during a growth spurt in childhood years, sudden weight gain, weight loss or pregnancy and can occur on the arms, abdomen, thighs or buttocks. They can be purplish, pinkish or white in colour. Your genetics and your own skin elasticity have a role to play in this too. And though we may not be able to control it entirely, here are some ways in which you can try and prevent it from occurring or for those who already have them, make them less noticeable over time.
- Diet: Nutrition plays a big part in your body’s overall health, and eating the right foods can increase the collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, which helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. Without this, the skin loses elasticity, and is affected easily by changes. Ensure that your diet is rich in zinc and vitamin C. Include lean proteins like salmon, tuna, tofu, beans, egg whites; dark green, red and orange vegetables; berries and citrus fruits. These can decrease your chance of getting stretch marks or the appearance of them on your skin, by increasing the production of collagen.
You can also take collagen supplements:
- Avoiding sugar: You are already aware that a diet high in sugar is no good for you. Here’s another reason- the amount of collagen present in your body can be affected by the quantity of sugar you consume. Sugar attaches to the collagen protein and damages it. Yet another motive to cut down on your sugar intake.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water is crucial– during exercise and pregnancy especially, as blood volume is increased and higher water volumes are required to keep your body hydrated. Staying hydrated keeps your skin from becoming dry and losing elasticity.
- Moisturize: Skin hydration is essential, use creams to keep the moisture in. This helps prevent tearing and dryness of the skin. Look for moisturizers which contain shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil.
- Prevention: The best way to reduce the likelihood of getting stretch marks is to maintain a healthy weight. Avoid crash diets that drop weight too fast. During pregnancy, work with your doctor to avoid gaining too much weight by eating well and exercising. This not only minimizes stretch marks but also is healthy for you and your baby.
Finally, remember that stretch marks are universal, and are not something to be ashamed of! Stretch marks or not – we should be proud of our own journey and allow these to serve as reminders of our achievements and just how much our bodies are capable of.