Stretch marks are tears in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin. They’re popularly called tiger stripes, warrior marks and all sorts of self-affirming names. When the skin is pulled tight to the limit, stretch marks occur.
What are the causes of stretch marks?
- Rapid weight gain/loss: Anyone who is on a weight loss/gain journey who loses or gains weight fast would almost notice these marks on their skin.
- Puberty: Kids tend to sprout really fast during this phase of life and it’s reaffirming to let them know it’s normal to spot a few stretch marks during puberty and would most likely fade as they grow.
- Pregnancy: Over 50% of pregnant women have stretch marks for obvious reasons. This usually occurs in areas prone to rapid weight gain at these times, ranging from the stomach, breasts, hips etc.
- Genetics: They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If a family member has stretch marks, it’s possible you’re prone to having those warrior marks as well. Good news is, it can be avoided because genetics loads the gun but your lifestyle pulls the trigger.
Other factors include the use of steroids and medical conditions. Although stretch marks are very common they are not necessarily evil especially for pregnant women who need their body to expand to make room for the little human they are helping create.
But stretch marks are actually preventable. Even if you’re at risk of having stretch marks there are ways to prevent their occurrence. Your best bet is to keep your skin well hydrated and moisturized at all times so it can maintain or improve its elasticity.
These tips, however, are useful ways to keep your skin supple and ultimately prevent stretch marks.
1. Be in control of your weight
The major cause of stretch marks is the sudden stretching of your skin due to rapid weight gain/loss. A good work out routine will help manage your weight. Exercises have been proven to keep a person’s weight in check and now it’s good to know they ultimately help prevent stretch marks.
There are several factors that could cause rapid weight gain like thyroid malfunctions so if after frequent exercise and eating healthy you find you’re still gaining weight uncontrollably, see a doctor to rule out any health issues. Controlling your body from changing rapidly is a sure way of preventing the tiger stripes from creeping up on you.
2. Use argan oil
Argan oil is rich in Vitamin E and is 100% natural, making it very safe. Studies have shown that using Argan Oil has helped increase skin’s elasticity. It has also been proven that argan oil not only prevents stretch marks but also fades out already existing ones because of its high fatty acids content. Whether consumed or applied topically, argan oil is safe to use long term.
3. Topical creams
There has been uncertainty hovering around stretch marks creams but researchers have found that stretch mark creams containing Centella certainly prevents stretch marks. They also help lighten scars if tiger stripes are already present. Also, moisturisers help reduce the itching that results from skin stretch during pregnancy. It’s advised to consult your dermatologist for prescription and/or to confirm the safety of any product you wish to apply on your skin because some products cause more harm than good.
By the way, Shea Butter is a great natural cream which helps with preventing warrior marks during pregnancy. Start using it on your belly as soon as you become pregnant or once your pregnancy starts showing.
4. Maintain a healthy diet
Drinking lots of water keeps the stretch marks away as it gives you well-hydrated skin. So ditch the carbonated and caffeinated drinks and replace with water. You heard that right – H2O for coffee, boring much? According to The Cleveland Clinic, “beverages with caffeine will actually increase your risk for stretch marks.”
Also, consuming foods like sardines, soybeans, chia seeds which are rich in omega-3 has been found to prevent stretch marks. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the development of collagen which is essential for skin strength and elasticity. It not only prevents stretch marks but also reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It can be found in many fruits and vegetables but most especially in citrus fruits like oranges.
5. Complement your diet with supplements
Sometimes our meals are not enough to meet our body’s daily requirements of vitamins and minerals and that’s why supplements are recommended. Vitamin D, E and C supplements are primarily needed by the body as they help to regulate the growth of new skin cells, work as antioxidants to fight free radicals released in the body when the skin is exposed to the sun and produce elastin and collagen. These ultimately help improve skin elasticity, holding in moisture and stretch marks are held at bay.
6. Use sugar, topically
Sugar is a humectant and as such preserves moisture in the skin especially when used as a scrub. It is not harsh on the skin as compared to its other counterpart (Salt). Sugar is also a source of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which rejuvenates the skin, making you look younger.
Massage in a circular motion until the sugar is absorbed into your skin. Repeating this process regularly has been found to reduce the chances of getting those tiger stripes and aids blood circulation.
It is good to note that these tiger stripes are not detrimental to your health and aren’t something to be ashamed of. Yet we must admit that prevention is better than cure.
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A fashion lover with a voracious appetite for art and travel. As one who's passionate about the advancement of the woman, creating content that inspire smart style and living, and positive lifestyle changes is a duty I take seriously. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥