Stretch Mark Prevention and Treatment Tips for Men and Women.
The best way to reduce stretch marks is to be proactive and prevent them from forming in the first place, since they can be very difficult to remove once they have formed. Both men and women are prone to stretch marks at different times in their lives. Stretch marks may arise due to growth spurts in their teen years, or due to quick weight gain in adult hood brought on by pregnancy or weight lifting.
The susceptibility one has to getting stretch marks can be can often be measured by hormone levels or due to genetics; therefore, they may not be completely unavoidable. However, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent stretch marks from developing which include: avoiding rapid weight gain or weight loss; avoiding heavy weight lifting; drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet; and diligent use of moisturizers applied to the susceptible or already affected areas.
The best way to avoid stretch marks is through prevention. Stretch marks are caused when the elastic dermis, the layer of skin below the epidermis, is damaged beyond repair. The damage is caused by stretching the layer to the point of tearing. The tearing results in purple or reddish marks that go deep within the skin. So avoiding lifestyle choices that lead to rapid skin “stretching”, without taking proper measures, is key to preventing stretch marks.
Keep in mind the skin is made to stretch and grow with our changing bodies, just not rapidly, and especially if it is under moisturized or mistreated.
Stretch Marks From Weight Gain
Rapid weight gain (or loss) and continued obesity are often responsible for the appearance of stretch marks, because the middle layer of skin has been stretched too far and to fast during the weight gain. If the weight is then lost, the stretch marks become even more noticeable because the skin is unable to return to its original firm state of that prior to the weight gain. Therefore, while rapid weight gain or loss and obesity are not healthy for many other known reasons, it is also best to avoid them in order to prevent and reduce stretch marks.
Of course, there are times when rapid weight gain is unavoidable, like during pregnancy. The last thing I would want to encourage was to not gain weight during pregnancy. During this wonderful time in a woman’s life, since the weight gain is unavoidable, treating the skin that is stretching, mostly around the stomach and breast, is key to prevention. I will discuss this later.
Stretch Marks From Weight Lifting
Just as rapid weight gain stretches the skin, so can rapid muscle gain through heavy weight lifting. As the muscles grow in size the skin stretches to accommodate them. Tearing within the dermis creates internal scarring that appears as stretch marks.
Upon discontinuation of weight lifting, when muscle mass decreases and the stretched skin is left unable to return to its original elastic state, the stretch marks that were formed become even more evident. It is important for athletes and anyone on a heavy weight lifting regimen to be aware of the potential for developing stretch marks.
Hydration and Proper Diet
Water intake is also essential to preventing or at least reducing stretch marks. Proper hydration keeps the skin smooth, supple, and ultimately, less likely to develop stretch marks. Avoiding caffeinated beverages such as carbonated soda, tea, and coffee are another way to reduce stretch marks, since caffeine is a diuretic and can actually promote water loss.
Those who are unable to completely give up caffeinated beverages should be sure to drink an equal amount of, if not more, water in order to compensate for the effects of caffeine.
Eating a balanced diet is equally important in reducing stretch marks, because nutritional deficiency is often to blame. Since foods high in saturated fat, sugar, and calories are often the underlying cause of rapid weight gain and obesity, it is important to eat those types of foods in moderation in order to keep weight in check.
Just as there are foods to avoid in excess to prevent stretch marks there are several foods that play a role in reducing stretch marks, as well. These foods include those high in zinc, such as nuts or fish. Since nuts are calorie-rich, portion control is important. Eating foods containing vitamins A and C such as dairy products, carrots, and citrus fruits are also helpful in reducing stretch marks. Eggs and other lean protein-rich foods are also beneficial in the reduction of stretch marks when incorporated into a balanced diet.
Creams and Treatments for Stretch Marks
Using moisturizers, or skin creams specifically developed to reduce and prevent stretch marks, before stretch marks even appear is the best way to help reduce and prevent them, but skin lotions can also be very beneficial when used at their onset; the earlier, the better. Moisturizing can begin as early as in one’s teenage years to be most effective.
Early treatment is the best way to ensure that stretch marks do not develop, but even if they have begun to appear, moisturizers can still be helpful. Applying moisturizing body lotions to affected areas of skin (those that appear purplish or reddish in color) will likely benefit the most by reducing the risk of these earlier stretch marks from becoming white or silver over time and therefore, that much harder to treat.
Women who are pregnant should also take advantage of moisturizers as early in their pregnancy as possible to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
By following some basic health and skin care regimens it is possible to reduce stretch marks through prevention. Both men and women as early as in their teens can take steps that on their own or in combination can be highly effective methods for treating stretch marks even before they start to appear.