June 14, 2017
Most pregnant women fear them, but the truth is stretch marks definitely aren’t the end of the world. (A sweet baby is totally worth whatever battle scars may be left behind). As moms, our first concern is obviously to bring a healthy, happy baby into the world. But if you’re looking for a few ways to prevent stretch marks or the “badge of motherhood”during pregnancy, it never hurts to use a few tried and true tricks.
First, let’s talk about what stretch marks are.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology… About 90% of women will get stretch marks sometime after their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.
When it comes to getting stretch marks during pregnancy, there are many factors to consider. Much of this has to do with how much weight you gain, how much your stomach and skin stretches, and what your genetic make up looks like when it comes to skin elasticity and collagen.
Here are 4 things you may not know about stretch marks:
- Stretch marks are actually tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin as it’s pulled tight to the limit during pregnancy.
- Susceptibility has lots to do with genetics: Chances are, if your mother got them, there’s an increased chance that you’ll also develop stretch marks.
- Studies show that rapid pregnancy weight gain can also make you more likely to get stretch marks.
- Darker-skinned moms are less likely to get stretch marks than fair-skinned women during pregnancy (plus they’re not as visible on dark skin).
Try as you might to avoid stretch marks, there’s no official proven way to treat them or to stop them from zigzagging their way across your body. But the good news is, that while not completely avoidable, there are a few tried and true tricks to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are long, thin striations or lines that occur on your skin after periods of rapid stretching. The medical term for these marks is called “stria” (source).
Stretch marks are parallel and rippled in appearance and come in many different colors, including:
- Light blue.
While pregnant women tend to notice stretch marks most prominently on their baby bump, they can occur on any part of the body that may experience rapid stretching.
Stretch marks may occur on your:
Why Do I Get Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur when your skin stretches quickly. There are two main substances, collagen and cortisone, found in your body that may contribute to your propensity to get stretch marks.
Collagen is a type of protein found in your skin that makes it more elastic. If you don’t have enough collagen, it can increase your risk of getting stretch marks.
Cortisone is a hormone that’s released by the adrenal glands (source). It is also known as cortisol.
This hormone is most frequently released as a stress response. It can weaken the skin’s fibers and elasticity and may contribute to stretch marks.
Cortisol levels rise during pregnancy and peak late in the third trimester (source). This timing corresponds with the point of pregnancy where stretch marks tend to become most prominent.
Stretch marks can occur due to:
- Breast implants.
- Rapid weight gain.
- Rapid growth spurts in children.
- Steroid use.
- Medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan’s syndrome.
Who Will Get Stretch Marks?
There are a few things that put you at higher risk for developing stretch marks.
Some of the risk factors are:
- You are female.
- You have been pregnant, especially as a young woman.
- You have gained or lost weight.
- You are obese.
- You have had a breast enhancement.
- You have family members with stretch marks.
- You use a corticosteroid — typically used for skin conditions, inflammation, allergies, asthma, or arthritis (source).
Can You Eliminate Stretch Marks?
Once you get stretch marks, it’s not possible to get rid of them completely. Just like a scar, they will remain on your skin for life.
However, there are ways to make them less visible and reduce their prominence.
Some things you can do are:
- Vitamin E: There is some evidence that creams containing Vitamin E may reduce scarring and have an effect on the visibility of stretch marks.
- Retinoids: Retinoids are a derivative of Vitamin A and are used to treat wrinkles, acne, and scarring, including scarring due to stretch marks. Retinoids are used topically, but should not be used during pregnancy. They are more appropriate to treat your stretch marks after giving birth.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy has been shown to reduce scarring. In particular, red light therapy may be most effective. This therapy is chemical-free and non-invasive and is usually done in salons or dermatological clinics.
- Wait it out: Over time, most stretch marks fade on their own so they are no longer so noticeable. They won’t completely disappear, but they may lighten in color so they’re not as prominent.
Avoid Getting Stretch Marks While Pregnant
Rapid stretching of the skin primarily causes stretch marks. When you’re pregnant, it’s a given that your abdomen and other parts of your body will grow quickly.
However, there are a few things you can do to combat the development of stretch marks.
1. Limit Weight Gain
Unless advised by your doctor, you should never attempt to lose weight or avoid weight gain while pregnant. It is normal and healthy to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy. However, excessive weight gain can contribute to stretch marks.
Check with your doctor about how much weight they would like you to gain, and ask for a referral to a nutritionist if you find yourself struggling to gain at an appropriate rate. Try to eat healthily and exercise regularly throughout your pregnancy to stave off excessive weight gain.
2. Stay Hydrated
Hydrated skin is healthy skin, and it may be less prone to developing stretch marks. At a minimum, drink eight cups of water each day to keep your skin properly hydrated (source).
Exercise not only helps to keep you healthy and limit excessive weight gain during pregnancy, but it also increases blood flow. The increased circulation can improve skin elasticity and limit stretch marks. Exercise also can be a great stress-reliever, which can help limit your body’s production of cortisol.
4. Eat Certain Nutrients
If you eat certain nutrients, they help to create collagen, which increases skin elasticity and may help reduce your risk of stretch marks.
These nutrients include:
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin.
- Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin.
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
Examples of foods that contain these nutrients are:
- Most fruits or veggies.
5. Topical Products
Keeping your skin hydrated is the best way to keep it healthy and avoid stretch marks. There are lots of different products on the market to help moisturize your skin — some of which are specifically formulated for pregnancy.
You can use an oil on your skin to keep it healthy, or you can choose a cream or lotion. Lotions that have Vitamin E tend to be the most effective, as Vitamin E promotes cell regeneration.
Vitamin A is often marketed as a way to reduce the appearance of scars, including stretch marks. However, avoid Vitamin A during pregnancy as it has been linked to birth defects.
How Do Stretch Mark Creams Work?
Stretch mark creams work in two different ways:
- Prevention of stretch marks: By keeping your skin nourished and moisturized, you may be able to prevent the formation of stretch marks altogether. A pregnancy-approved stretch mark cream may be applied regularly to your bump to help reduce your chances of developing stretch marks.
- Reduce appearance of stretch marks: Once stretch marks have formed, it’s impossible to eradicate them completely. At this point, it’s necessary to focus on reducing their visibility, and that is typically done by using creams rich in Vitamins A and E.
Products to Use for Stretch Marks
When choosing a product to treat your stretch marks, look for the following:
- Cream, lotion, or oil: There are many different types of topical products to rub on your bump to prevent or heal stretch marks. You can choose from oils, lotions, creams, and body butter. Each will deliver hydration and nourishment to your skin — don’t get caught up in the hype over what type of product is better and just choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is important in preventing the development of stretch marks, but may also help to treat them after they appear. It is also safe to use during pregnancy. If you’re specifically trying to treat stretch marks, choose a product that has Vitamin E.
- Non-retinoid: If you are pregnant, make sure you are choosing a product that does not contain retinoids, also labeled as Vitamin A. Retinoids are typically used in products marketed for the treatment of wrinkles, acne, and the reduction of scarring.
ERASE YOUR STRETCH MARKS
Some people develop stretch marks no matter what they do, thanks to their genes. If you develop stretch marks, or if you already have them, there are ways to improve their appearance:
- One of our favorite treatments for minimizing stretch marks is Dermapen, which requires little to no downtime.
- If you have discoloration around your stretch marks, Intense Pulsed Light can be used to reduce the color.
- For those of you with stretch marks that are no longer colorful, a fractional laser, which resurfaces the rough and uneven skin of stretch marks, may be a better option.
Contact us today to reduce the appearance of your stretch marks!
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks after Pregnancy
1. Oil Treatments
The basic idea of oil treatment is to moisturize the skin so that it remains hydrated.
The more you keep your skin soft and hydrated, the less your stretch marks will be.
Regular massage of your chest, thighs, belly and abdomen area with oils helps you to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Some of the best oils to help you remove stretch marks after pregnancy include:
- Essential oil massage: This one of the most effective home remedies for stretch marks. Add essential oils, such as Germanium, Rose, Lavender or other oils to regular oils, such as almond oil or coconut oil. This helps to dilute your regular oil. Apply it over the affected area at twice a day.
- Vitamin E oil: Mix your favorite moisturizer with Vitamin E oil and massage it on the affected areas daily.
- Olive Oil: This is another common remedy for postpartum stretch marks. Apply olive oil to the affected areas so that the lines start to fade. Take a shower immediately after applying the oil on the stretch marks.
2. Aloe Vera Gel
This popular herb is known for treating stretch marks.
Aloe Vera is both a skin softener and a natural healing agent.
Squeeze the gel from a fresh plant and massage it on the affected areas each day.
It soothes the skin and promotes healing.
3. Alfalfa Leaves Alfalfa leaves are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K4, and minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.
Their anti-fungal property detoxifies the skin and helps to remove pregnancy stretch marks.
Mix alfalfa powder with a few drops of chamomile oil.
Apply the mixture on the affected areas at least two to three time daily.
You should see the stretch marks fading with a week.
4. Sugar Sugar is another remedy for stretch marks.
It considered a homeopathic microdermabrasion method.
It exfoliates dead skin and helps in minimizing the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks.
Mix a tablespoon of sugar with almond oil and few drops of lemon juice.
Apply the scrub to affected areas before taking your batch and watch stretch marks reducing.
5. Water Drink ten to twelve glasses of water daily to keep your skin hydrated.
A well-hydrated skin remains free of numerous skin problems, including stretch marks.
Medical experts recommend that reduce the intake of soda, tea or coffee as they can cause dehydration.
6. Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter Just like oil treatments, butter treatment is also an effective remedy for postpartum stretch marks.
Butter prevents skin dryness and improves skin elasticity.
Apply cocoa butter or Shea butter directly on the affected area to minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
Wash off after application and repeat the procedure regularly.
7. Tretinoin Cream Also known as Retin-A, Tretinoin cream is recommended by dermatologists if you are not breastfeeding.
It can be used alone or together with other creams.
Studies show that application of 0.1 percent Tretinoin cream reduces stretch marks by up to 14 percent.
8. Glycolic Acid Glycolic acid has peeling properties.
It helps to promote collagen production and increases skin elasticity, thus making stretch marks less visible.
Glycolic acid capsules are readily available in drug stores.
Make sure you consult with your doctor before taking the pills.
9. Laser Therapy Laser is a proven medical method for removing stretch marks.
It can be used to treat older, deeper and newer stretch marks.
Laser therapy results in permanent stretch removal, though it can be very costly.
10. Derma Peeling or Chemical Peels Also known as chemexfoliation, this method involves the use of a chemical solution to remove stretch marks.
The chemical solution is applied on the affected area and results in blister formation.
The blistered skin is later peeled off for the formation of a new skin layer.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks (During Pregnancy)4.6 (92.79%) 61 votes
How can you prevent bodybuilding stretch marks?
Now that you got rid of those ugly stretch marks,
it’s time to prevent future ones.
It takes some effort, BUT this is not a problem at all for you.
The fact that you are working out already proves that you are a self-motivated individual with a strong self-discipline.
Here are EASY preventative methods to counter stretch marks for your perfect muscular body:
1. Apply Stretch Mark Prevention Creams
There are tons of stretch mark creams, oils, and lotions on the market today.
And it is in fact the most popular and EFFECTIVE solution for stretch mark removal.
These creams are capable of keeping your skin hydrated,
and contain skin-nourishing ingredients such as Vitamin E, aloe vera, and cocoa butter.
Not only that…
these creams also enhance your skin’s collagen and elastin production,
allowing your skin to become more resistant to stretch marks.
Apply the stretch mark cream on the areas of muscle you are building.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
According to Dietitians, 70 percent of burning fat and building muscle comes from having a proper diet.
It is needless to say that same rule applies for your skin.
All you need to do is keep the following 3 simple rules in your mind.
a. Include skin-nourishing ingredients in your daily diet
Try to include foods that contain ingredients that promote healthy skin.
Vitamin E rich food: almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds Collagen rich food: berries, soy, and garlic Omega 3 rich food: salmon, walnut, and oyster Gelatin rich food: egg yolk, mushroom, and milk
b. Stay HydratedWater will keep your skin moist, as well as help detoxify your body.
This makes your skin more supple.
Try to drink at least 8 cups of water daily.
If that is too challenging for you,
you can alternatively eat watery fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, honeydew, and cucumber.
c. Avoid performance enhancing drugs and supplements
Of course you would want to see results fast,
when it comes to building muscles.
A lot of people look for performance enhancing drugs and supplements,
whether you just want a quick bulk up for summer,
or you hit a plateau and started becoming impatient.
Again, I want to make this clear, bodybuilding should never be a short term goal.
Performance enhancing drugs and supplements like steroids and creatine will dramatically increase the speed of your muscle growth.
This will eventually result in scarring of your skin,
as your skin is not elastic enough to keep up with the pace of your muscle increase.
It gets worse…
These artificial materials will create hormone imbalance and can make your skin more vulnerable to stretch marks.
3. Workout Right
A majority of people choose to “Dirty Bulk” when it comes to muscle building season.
Dirty bulk refers to increasing your calorie intake by more than 500 above your daily requirement.
This will escalate both your muscle and fat mass, thus making your muscle look massive.
Yes, I understand that you want big muscles and want to obtain them fast.
But remember, there’s always a side effect when taking shortcuts.
In this case, that would be having compilation of stretch marks.
Simply take the “Clean Bulk” path by taking only 200~300 calories surplus everyday.
This will allow you to gain muscle gradually over time, as well as minimizing fat storage.
If you are a food lover and it is hard to control that caloric surplus through diet,
you can always choose to control it through doing some extra cardio.
4. Avoid UV Rays
A recent study has shown that UV rays can make your skin more prone to stretch mark development.
The UV rays can damage collagen and elastin inside your skin.
Always apply sunscreen if you are going to be exposed under sunlight for a while.
Also, if you’re planning to get your body tanned,
whether it’s for a bodybuilding competition or for your personal desire,
avoid going inside a tanning bed and use self-tanning spray or lotion instead.
What causes stretch marks from working out?
You might be wondering:
“Don’t stretch marks occur during pregnancy or puberty”?
In the case of bodybuilding, workout routines are intense.
Therefore, size of your muscles increase rapidly.
When it continues to grow past your skin’s elasticity,
disruption in the dermis layer of your skin occurs.
This causes discolored scarring of the skin, the Stretch Mark.
Why worry about stretch marks?
So why does stretch mark matter in the first place?
Our skin does a decent job in terms of healing, but it doesn’t care about how it looks.
Although stretch marks do not cause any health risks…
It can negatively affect you emotionally and psychologically by causing STRESS, ANXIETY, and LOW SELF-ESTEEM.
Whether you are a professional bodybuilder, gym trainer, or just a workout enthusiast,
your goal is to impress and attract other people with your flawless body.
You would not want ugly stretch marks to get in the way of achieving that goal!
In fact, bodybuilding competition as an example, the judges take appearance of your skin into consideration during evaluation.
Can you imagine losing the competition just because you have stretch marks and others don’t?
Even if you are just a casual weight lifter,
you would want to expose your smooth six pack abs and bulky biceps at the beach,
not a collection of stretch marks.
Which areas are mainly affected?
Common areas where stretch marks occur include:
Stretch marks can frequently occur around the shoulder (including armpit area). The elasticity of the skin in this region is relatively weaker than other body parts,
therefore, making it more vulnerable to stretch marks.
Biceps (sometimes triceps) are the favorite places for stretch marks to appear. Muscles in this area expand faster than other areas, causing stretch marks.
Stretch marks on the back usually occur due to growth spurt, but muscle gain can also be the cause.
Thigh is also another victim when it comes to stretch marks. Usually inner side of the thigh is affected.
Stretch marks on abs tend to occur more due to obesity, but building ab muscles can sometimes cause them too.
Bonus Exercises for Stretch Mark Prevention
Luckily for you workout enthusiasts,
I’ve listed out some exercises you can do,
to prevent stretch marks on each body part.
Right exercises can enhance blood circulation,
which can help your skin remain elastic and taut,
allowing your skin to be more resistant to stretch marks.
Here we go:
Stretch marks on Shoulder, Arms and Chest
T-Pushups helps shoulder, chest and upper arm area skin tightening
- Start in a pushup position, arms about your shoulder width, hands flat on ground and pointing front
- Push off to one side and extend your arm upwards
- Twist your torso and legs
- Repeat this step on both sides of your body
Triceps Extension helps tighten the loose skin near armpit
- Stand up with a dumbbell held by both hands
- Lift it over your head, arms fully extended (palm facing ceiling)
- Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your forearms touch your biceps (upper arm should be stationary)
Stretch marks on stomach:
The Boat Pose helps strengthen your muscles on your belly area and help minimize belly fat
- Sit on the mat with your knees bent.
- Lean back and stretch your feet so that your body forms a V shape
- Stretch your arms forward, touching lateral side of your knees with your hands
- Pull your ab muscles to balance
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and return to original position
Leg Lifts will aid in belly tightening and keep it taut
- Lie down on the floor facing up, and raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. You can bend your knees slightly
- While keeping your upper body in position, slowly lower your feet as close to the floor as you can. Make sure you don’t bend your knees any further
Stretch marks on Hips and Thighs:
Basic wide-stance squat helps intensify your thigh muscles and enhance blood circulation
- Stand with feet wide apart (little wider than your shoulder width), toes pointed outward
- Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat position
- Keep your hips square and shoulders level.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Straighten your legs back up and repeat.
Lateral Leg Circles helps leg muscles to be toned and smooth out stretch marks.
- Lean one side of your body against an exercise ball
- Keep one knee bent, extend the other leg outwards and make circular movements.
- Do 10 circles clockwise and 10 circles counter-clockwise for each leg.
The Single-Leg Pelvic Thrust helps tighten your glute muscles and keep them firm
- Lie on your back with one side of your knee bent.
- Raise your buttocks off the ground, making sure you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees
- Extend one leg up with the foot flexed straight
- Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering down
- Switch legs and repeat
How To Prevent Stretch Marks (From Bodybuilding)4.8 (95.05%) 97 votes
Why do some women get pregnancy stretch marks and some don’t?
Some believe that stretch marks are due to genetics. But this study shows that genetics doesn’t play a role in whether a woman will get stretch marks or not.
Here’s the good news: There are things you can do to improve your skin’s elasticity so that when it needs to stretch, it can.
Improving your skin’s health will help improve its elasticity as well as give it the building blocks to heal scars—including stretch marks.
Staying hydrated can be tough when you’re pregnant but it’s essential for preventing stretch marks and having a healthy pregnancy.
Drink about 64 fluid ounces of water a day (more if you sweat a lot). Keep your electrolytes in balance with this homemade electrolyte drink.
Real food diet
As with pregnancy acne, it’s best to start healing from the inside out.
Many women have found that following a real food diet has prevented them from getting more stretch marks and even healed old ones! It makes sense too. Our bodies need certain building blocks to produce collagen (the stuff that makes our skin elastic), so without those essential building blocks from real, nutrient-dense food our skin and body suffer.
Eat a superstar pregnancy diet including whole foods like pastured meat, poultry, organ meats, and eggs, and stick with organic local produce when possible.
Also, be sure to eat enough quality fats from healthy sources, like pastured butter, coconut oil, virgin olive oil, etc.
These basic healthy eating principles which may help you in preventing stretch marks.
Gelatin is HUGE in supporting healthy skin.
Gelatin from grass-fed animals contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which are literally building blocks to collagen.
You can get gelatin into your diet from homemade bone broth or gelatin snacks like these gummy bears.
I like this gelatin the best because its sourced from healthy, grass-fed cows.
If you want to learn more about the powers of gelatin and how to include into your diet, be sure to check out this informative ebook.
Vitamins and minerals
Your body also needs vitamins A, C, & E, and zinc to produce collagen. All of these building blocks work together and are best obtained from real food sources.
- Get bio-available vitamin A from liver or cod liver oil.
- You can find vitamin C from many fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and my favorite, camu camu powder!
- Vitamin E is found in spinach, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and especially red palm oil.
- Zinc can be found in seafood, beef, lamb, nuts, seeds, spinach, mushrooms, and especially oysters.
Balance your fatty acids
Balance your omega 3 to 6 ratio by reducing the amount of omega 6s you eat (specifically from processed foods) by supplementing with cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil is not only high in healthy omega 3s, but contains vitamin A and D. Omega 3 fatty acids help to strengthen the skin cell’s membrane, improving elasticity.
Consume enough sulfur
Sulfur is another building block necessary for collagen production. One study found that animals who ate a low sulfur diet produced less collagen than those who had adequate levels of sulfur.
You can find sulfur in many meats, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables (like kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts).
How do oils and butters work to help get rid of stretch marks naturally?
Oils and butters work by moisturizing the skin, and their antioxidant properties help eliminate free radicals that can damage the skin.
You can try this belly rub or just use a simpler recipe as seen below.
Natural Stretch Mark Cream
- In a double burner, melt your coconut oil and cocoa butter.
- Pour into glass container.
- Let cool so that it’s skin temperature.
- Add in your other oils and blend with immersion blender.
- Seal lid and store in cool, dark place.
- Apply 2-3 times per day directly on stretch marks.
How about you?
Did you have pregnancy stretch marks? Did you embrace them? Try to fade them? Let us know in the comments below!
CLICK HERE to Pin this recipe
None of these health benefits have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not be used in place of personal judgment or medical treatment when needed, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. (Only your doctor can diagnose and treat disease.) Read my full disclaimer.
4 of our favourite products to try against stretch marks
1. Bio-Oil, 200ml, $34.95
One of the original stretch mark products on the market, Bio-Oil helps treat scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, ageing and dehydrated skin. The combination of nourishing ingredients including PurCellin Oil, Vitamins A and E and Chamomile extract in Bio-Oil help keep skin supple and well moisturised.
Find it at Chemist Warehouse
2. Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter, 185g, $29.95
This luxurious belly butter is formulated using all natural ingredients to soothe and nourish your growing bump. Fragrance free and containing cocoa, shea and jojoba butters, try it on sensitive, dry skin.
Find it at Burt’s Bees
3. Gaia Belly Butter, 150ml, $17.95
During pregnancy, it can be wise to steer clear of essential oils. Thankfully for the essential oil lovers, this gorgeous belly balm contains a special blend of safe-for-pregnancy pure essential oils including mandarin, tangerine and frankincense. Add nourishing cocoa butter, organic shea butter, vitamin rich organic rosehip and organic wheatgerm oils and you know you’re onto a good thing.
Find it at Gaia Skin Naturals.
4. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil, 150ml, $17.99
If you’re struggling with a dry, itchy bump then this moisture-rich body oil will soothe your skin. It has cocoa butter, vitamin E, rosehip and sesame oil to leave skin soft, supple and with a healthy glow.
Find it at Chemist Warehouse.
If you’re on the hunt for stretch mark prevention products, you might also like to check out our Homemade Coffee Scrub recipe which can help smooth skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
“Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?”
Let’s get this out of the way: Despite what you might have heard elsewhere or claims made by advertisers, there really isn’t a way to prevent stretch marks from forming. No cream or lotion will stop them from showing up in the first place (although there are some that can help them fade away after they appear, we talk about them below) so don’t stress yourself out.
Topical Vitamin E, cocoa butter, almond oil — none of them will do anything to prevent stretch marks from forming. Sometimes products that are commonly recommended end up doing more harm than good like Vitamin E oil. Don’t believe the myths. We tell you what works further below.
Prevention is hard because stretch marks can pop up without warning and relatively fast leaving you with little time to react. Luckily, there are ways to prepare for them so your skin can better handle stretching. Here are some basic tips everyone should follow if they’re expecting to put on a lot of weight fast:
Eat a Skin Healthy Diet
We’ve created an entire guide on the foods you should and shouldn’t be eating for better skin.
In particular, you want to focus on eating foods high in Vitamin C and Omega 3s because they promote the formation of collagen.
If you’ve read our special report on collagen (link above), you know that it’s the main support structure of our skin and what keeps it supple and elastic. With enough collagen in your skin, you’ll be better equipped to handle any stretching that your skin goes through, which can help reduce the amount of stretch marks.
Drink enough water to not get dehydrated. Dehydration can make the skin lose some its suppleness which isn’t a good thing if you want it to be elastic enough to handle potential stretch marks.
If you don’t want to keep chugging water bottles, eat foods with a high water content like grapes, watermelon, and other types of fruits.
Exercise helps prevent stretch marks in two ways.
The obvious way is that exercise will help limit the amount of weight you put on which is good because the less weight you gain, the less of a chance any severe stretch marks can form since your skin won’t have to adapt to any stretching.
The second way is by improving circulation. Exercising will get your heart pumping and rush blood to your your skin improving its elasticity.
Even light exercise can be beneficial. The point is to get your blood moving and break a sweat. As you’ll see later on, exercise is even more important for getting rid of stretch marks than preventing them.
Studies show stretch mark treatments work better when skin is well hydrated.
Moisturizing will also keep your skin supple and elastic but you want something a little “heavier” than what you’d normally use. Remember, the skin on your face is different than the skin on rest of your body (its thinner and more sensitive) so don’t be afraid to using moisturizers that are able to penetrate deeper into your pores.
There are moisturizers made specifically for pregnant women which we talk more about further below. If you’d like a recommendation, Bio-Oil and Mederma are both popular moisturizers used during pregnancy and for good reason. Beginning in the second trimester is the recommended time for the Mederma product we linked below.
Mederma Quick Dry Oil
You could also try using coconut oil (which you might already have at home) or castor oil as heavy duty moisturizers.
The main areas you want to focus on are your stomach (especially around your waist), butt, and legs since these are the spots you’re most likely to get stretch marks.
Again, none of the above will completely prevent any marks from forming but they can reduce the likelihood of you having to deal with them.
So what can you do after they appear? Here are the best ways of treating stretch marks along with our personal routine recommendation.
- First make sure you keep your skin moisturized to allow the other stretch mark treatments to work more effectively.
- Use a dermal roller once or twice a day preferably around the time you take a bath / shower.
- Apply a chemical based exfoliator such as glycolic acid or a retinoid treatment to help shed the outermost layer of skin cells and help marks fade. Include this as a regular part of your skincare routine and use it once a day (in the morning is best).
- Use a cream to target stretch mark areas. Apply once a day at night before you go to bed.
Combine the above routine with an active lifestyle and consistent exercise and you’re good to go!