Stretch marks are no laughing matter. Men and women both develop stretch marks, and both genders tend to be equally self conscious about the long lines that run up and down their bodies.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks tend to be the result of our skin “stretching” out, which then leaves our skin with long red or purple jagged lines. Stretch marks are technically scars that are left behind when our skin happens to be overstretched. The fibers that are in the middle layer of our skin, also referred to as the dermis, are broken and so discoloration of the skin results. The most common reasons for stretch marks are:
- Puberty/extreme growth
- Extreme weight gain
Stretch marks are most common found on the stomach, the buttocks, legs, upper arms, and the breasts. Though stretch marks may initially be red or purple in appearance, they will eventually fade away to a pale white color and may become even unnoticeable.
Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?
The real kicker about stretch marks is that it is thought to be a genetic trait. For instance, if your mother had stretch marks when she was pregnant with you, then there is a good chance that you will develop them too. If your mother didn’t, then you have a fair chance of not developing stretch marks at all. What this means is that stretch marks may not be preventable per se, but you can take steps to decrease the likelihood of them developing and to decrease their appearance.
Increase the Skin’s Elasticity
One way to help prevent stretch marks is to use products that will help increase your skin’s elasticity so that it is better equipped for stretching. Some of these include:
Cocoa Butter: Any sort of lotions or creams that contain cocoa butter have been rumored for ages to help prevent stretch marks. Cocoa butter both hydrates your skin, and it improves the elasticity of the skin, making it a favorite and popular choice amongst men and women.
TIP: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your physician before using cocoa butter products as these may contain ingredients that can be passed on to you baby.
Use Vitamins: Simply adding some vitamin A, C and E to your diet – either by form of supplement or eating foods containing these essential vitamins – will help increase both the strength of your skin and the elasticity of the collagen in our skin. As a result, you are significantly decreasing your chances of developing stretch marks.
Exfoliate Regularly: Using a loofah or an exfoliating product on your skin will help expedite the removal of skin cells over your stretch marks, which means that you are expediting the process of removing them.
More Natural Alternatives: You can either find products that contain the following ingredients in them to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, or you can use them directly on your skin:
- Castor oil
- Shea butter
- Rose hip oil
- Jojoba oil
- Emu oil