Stretch Marks: Common Causes, and How to Prevent & Treat Them!
Stretch marks – you’ve likely got ‘em, but like many other people, you’re too embarrassed to reveal them in public. What causes stretch marks? Can they be prevented? And most importantly, can they be treated?
Let’s dive deeper and find out how stretch marks develop and why they even exist!
How Stretch Marks Develop
Stretch marks occur when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. When this happens, your skin is forced to expand beyond its capacity.
Stretch marks develop in the middle layer of your skin, called the dermis. When your skin is pushed to its limit, the connective tissue fibers in the dermis stretch and eventually rupture. That’s when you begin to see red striations or ‘stretch marks’ which are, in fact, blood vessels appearing through the dermis layer of your skin.
Common Causes of Stretch Marks
Here are some common causes of stretch marks:
- Rapid weight gain (i.e. growth spurt)
- Weight training
- Taking corticosteroid medication
- Breast enlargement surgery
Prevent Stretch Marks
The most abundant protein in your skin is collagen. It’s the main component of your connective tissue and what helps maintain your skin’s elasticity. The key to preventing stretch marks is to promote collagen production and reduce its breakdown in your body.
Other tips to prevent stretch marks:
Control your weight.
Maintain a consistent body weight to avoid unnecessary stretching of the skin.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet.
A balanced diet that includes foods that boost your skin’s health will ensure your skin remains strong. Also, make sure to incorporate foods rich in Vitamin C as it helps with collagen synthesis.
Take your supplements.
Vitamins A, C, D, & E, are all necessary for optimum skin health. Minerals like zinc and magnesium also support skin health.
Try adding gotu kola to your supplement line-up. Gotu kola is an ancient herb found to stimulate new cell growth & promote collagen production; both of which are beneficial in preventing stretch marks.
Treat Stretch Marks
If the damage has already been done, don’t fret. There are ways to minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
Over the counter Vitamin A creams can be applied topically to help promote collagen production.
Stretch mark creams/oils (shea butter, cocoa butter, Vitamin E oil, etc.)
There are a number of stretch mark creams and oils on the market. These products contain ingredients that have antioxidant and collagen boosting properties which help repair your skin and may aid to fade away stretch marks.
Aloe vera is a terrific skin healing agent. It can be applied topically to help soften your skin and minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
If at-home treatments aren’t successful at effectively treating your stretch marks, you can make an appointment with your dermatologist and ask about these more aggressive forms of treatment:
Microdermabrasion – helps fade stretch marks
Laser therapy – stimulates collagen & elastin growth
Chemical peel – helps fade stretch marks
Radiofrequency – tightens and tones skin and stimulates collagen production
Ultrasound – stimulates collagen production