What are stretch marks? Surprisingly, there are a good number of people who only hear about them but have no idea whatsoever of what they are. I know what you’re probably thinking, “WTH?” Okay, just allow us to kick off this conversation from there. Stretch marks are fine lines that appear on a person’s skin as a result of the skin stretching due to a rapid gain of weight. These marks usually occur with pregnancy, when you add weight, and while bodybuilding. They can also appear during puberty, growth, and weight loss. It’s been found that nearly 80 percent the world’s population has stretch marks, both women and men included. However, women tend to be the most affected, not forgetting that over 50 percent of women experience them during pregnancy.
For stretch marks to occur, the integrity of the collagen fibers or the mechanism of production is usually affected. A good number of people bearing scars from the stretched skin perceive them as blemishes that they so badly want to get rid of. Luckily though, there are products aimed at enhancing the production of collagen in the skin in order to reverse the scarring. Most of these are available as creams for topical application. But one may wonder; do stretch mark creams really work?
Maybe, Maybe Not
Well, the answer to this question may not be so definite. Considering the numerous products available on the market, and several other pertinent factors, getting an absolute no or yes can be a long shot. And with all honesty, prevention is always better than cure. These indented streaks on your skin can at times be red or purple. They can appear on the belly, the hips, buttocks, thighs, the chest, and just about any other part of your body that is affected. Whether you have them already or not, the following pointers can be helpful as far as stretch marks prevention and management are concerned.
Keep Your Weight in Check
According to the CDC, almost 40 percent and 71 percent of adults over the age of 20 are overweight and obese respectively. The numbers aren’t any better for the younger generation either. Maintaining a healthy weight is the most basic thing you can do to stay clear of stretch marks. Stretch marks can also appear after a rapid loss of significant weight, especially from mass wasting. This brings in the need to constantly monitor your weight, which can be helpful even when you have them already.
Drinking a lot of water helps to hydrate your skin and maintaining a soft and supple skin surface. In comparison to dry skin, soft skin is not as much at risk of developing stretch marks. When dehydrated, the skin tends to lose its elasticity, meaning that it won’t hold up as normal when the stretching occurs.
Observe Proper Diet
Stretch marks can also occur due to the deficiency of certain nutrients in the body. So, it’s important to include foods rich in vitamin C, D, E, Zinc, and Proteins in your diet. These are some of the most important building blocks of a healthy skin. To add on this, vitamin C is a very important nutrient in the diet because it helps in the production of collagen.
Many fruits and vegetables are rich in this vitamin. Citrus fruits are the best sources of Vitamin C. to get enough of these crucial nutrients you’ll want to ditch junk food and take more of avocados, walnuts, fatty fish, tomatoes, sunflower, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, without forgetting some wine and green tea once in a while.
Do Stretch Mark Creams Really Work?
Before buying any product, the very first important thing you should ask yourself is if it has the ability to do what the label says it can do. It surely requires a great deal of commitment to apply the cream for a given duration of time, usually over a course of several months.
Dermatologists suggest that stretch mark creams that contain ingredients that encourage the production of collagen and elastin while also improving blood circulation in the skin can help with stretch marks. Such ingredients will include alpha hydroxy acids, HLA, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin C, cayenne pepper, and tiger’s herb. However, it’s important to note that not all the stretch mark creams will completely remove the marks, so to speak. Even with a stretch marks cream that works, you’d technically be almost doing zero work if you don’t observe proper a diet, stay hydrated and keep your weight in check. This was basically the reason these pointers are included in this piece above.