What Are Stretch Marks? What Causes It & How To Prevent It?

stretch marks

Stretch Marks Something Which Isn’t Due to Any Underlying Disease

Are you seeing bands of parallel lines appearing on your skin? Do you feel a slight ridge or indentation on your skin when you touch it with your fingers? If you find these long, stripes, narrow streaks developing on the skin, then most likely its stretch marks. Yes, it occurs out of nowhere if the skin is stretched suddenly, and there’s no need to worry as it’s quite common if you either gain mass from muscle or fat rapidly.

What are Stretch Marks?

Generally, a stretch mark is defined as a typical scar that develops on your skin when it stretches or shrinks rapidly. The sudden change breaks the Elastin and Collagen, which supports our skin. Anyone can develop it, whether its men or women – it’s not gender-specific. Also, it can occur on a range of body parts like stomach, upper arms, lower back, stomach, hips, chest/breast, and thighs.

Stretch marks also called striae, striae distensae (SD), striae gravidarum, and striae atrophicans. It’s a scar, also called disfiguring lesions, which are not physically harmful but can create self-image problems and sometimes anxiety. For some, it’s even cosmetic concern, which can affect them daily.

Early Symptoms of Stretch Marks

Some early symptoms you may experience before stretch marks get visible are, the skin may become pink and bit thin, sometimes you may also feel itchy and irritated. Usually, skin also becomes wrinkly, and stretch marks will get red, pink, purple, dark brown, or reddish-brown depending upon the color of your skin. Then, those streaks get faded and flatten, which over time, change into silver color. Lastly, over time, stretch marks do become less noticeable, but it often takes more than a year.

Types of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks differ from one to another, but their types are categorized based upon how long you’ve them on your body and what’s the root cause behind it.

  • Striae distensae: It occurs most of the time in puberty. It usually has linear lines which may look similar to stripes.
  • Vergetures: This type of stretch mark is quite long. It’s patterned stretch marks that look similar to a whip’s lashings.
  • Striae Atrophica: It’s one of the most common among all types of stretch marks. It’s a breakdown of elastin or collagen components in the skin.
  • Striae Gravidarum: Stretch marks after pregnancy.

Is There Any Likelihood For You To Get Stretch Marks?

Generally, anyone can get stretch marks. It’s not gendered specific, nor has anything to go wrong. However, chances are high if:

  • You’re female.
  • Family members with a history of stretch marks.
  • You’re obese or overweight.
  • If you’ve experienced rapid weight loss or weight gains.
  • You’re on corticosteroid medication.
  • You’re suffering from conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome.

Here Are The Things You Can Do To Prevent Yourself From Stretch Marks

Even if you’ve got a high rate of getting stretch marks, there are some of the things you can do, which can reduce your chances of getting it.

  • Manage Your Bodyweight
  • Keep Yourself Hydrated
  • Nutrient-Rich Diet
  • Including Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Consume Food Rich in Zinc

Manage Your Bodyweight

One of the best things you can do to prevent yourself from getting stretch marks, whether you’re pregnant or not – if you’re female, is to maintain healthy body weight. Stretch marks mostly appear when skin pulls apart rapidly due to sudden change in body weight – for instance, many have experienced stretch marks after weight loss or weight gain. However, chances are there that you may develop stretch marks during puberty, and other people like individuals who go to the gym regularly can notice it after packing on some muscles.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drink at least gallon a day. Water will keep you hydrated enough to keep your skin soft. Soft skin isn’t inclined to develop stretch marks as much possibility dry skin has. On the other hand, if you drink too many caffeinated beverages such as coffee, you may increase your chances of developing stretch marks because caffeinated drinks dehydrate the body. So, you should balance your fluid intake with enough water, along with other drinks that you take, especially the caffeinated ones.

Nutrient-Rich Diet

Nutrition is key to a healthy life and healthy skin. If you’re not eating enough nutrient-rich food, which is mostly unprocessed food, and relying on other unhealthy things, then it may increase your chance of developing stretch marks. Be sure your diet is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Zinc, and most importantly, protein-rich – for example, having a good breakfast that includes eggs, berries, and almonds, which packs a variety of nutrients.

Including Vitamin C

To maintain the elasticity and strength of your skin, Collagen plays an important role. It helps in reducing the visibility of wrinkles, but it also helps in preventing from developing stretch marks. Vitamin C is one of the important nutrients for developing Collagen. Many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, are a good source of vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Many might not be aware, but Vitamin D is vital for healthy skin, and it’s also aids in preventing developing stretch marks – enough study is not available yet. People may think that they might be getting enough Vitamin D through exposure to the sun, but it’s not always the case. Apart from sun exposure, it’s best to intake vitamin D rich food such as egg yolks, mushrooms, milk, orange juice, cereal, oatmeal, and even supplementing with is also a good option.

Consume Food Rich in Zinc

Similar to Vitamin D, zinc is also an equally important nutrient for skin health. Zinc helps in reducing inflammation and also helps in healing wounds. There are not many studies or much evidence to date for connection between zinc and stretch marks, but including food high in zinc like chickpeas, nuts, legumes, dairy, eggs, and meat may help in keeping your skin healthy.

Possibility To Remove Stretch Marks

If you’re thinking do stretch marks fade or is does it go away, then it’s sad to say that seldom it goes in a way that it becomes invisible. However, some remedies that may prove helpful to minimize the appearance of stretch marks are:

Aloe Vera

There’s little clinical evidence that Aloe Vera may cure stretch marks. Pure Aloe Vera extracted from a plant may act as a natural healing agent as well as a skin softener. It’s the ideal choice as a home remedy to use it as a home remedy for stretch marks. It’s suggested that once you shower, it’s best to apply pure Aloe Vera extracted from a plant to an area where stretch marks have developed.

Hyaluronic Acid

Collagen is responsible for protein in your skin that keeps the shape of skin and making it appear healthy. However, as we age, the collagen level reduces in our body and face.

Luckily, the collagen level can be stimulated using hyaluronic acid – one of the major components for repairing skin tissues. Also, you can consume through capsules or an extract.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is quite popular for its healing properties, and it also helps in healing in skin appearance quickly. So, it comes naturally that it helps in healing scarring skin that happens due to stretch marks. By applying virgin coconut oil every day might fade away some of the red appearances of stretch marks. However, if you’re allergic to coconuts, then it’s not good to consider it, or else it’s pretty safe.

Other Treatments

Some other treatments that aren’t possible at home on your own include laser therapy microdermabrasion and needling. All three are clinical treatments for fading stretch marks.

  • Needling is quite new. In this treatment, Collagen is injected under the top layer of the skin.
  • In the Microdermabrasion treatment, the layer of the skin is shed. It’s a clinical treatment that can improve the appearance of stretch marks.
Though be careful, these treatments aren’t covered by any insurance company, and they’re quite costly. Lastly, dermatologists can only tell you whether you’re the right candidate to undergo these procedures or not.

Closing Thoughts

Stretch marks aren’t something that develops due to anything you do wrong, but something happens naturally. Though, it’s more likely to develop if a sudden change occurs into your bodyweight – weight gain or weight loss. So, it’s recommended to maintain healthy body weight and, most importantly, keep yourself hydrated enough that your skin doesn’t lose its elasticity.

If you’ve developed stretch marks, then no need to worry it’ll not cause any harm to your body, but yes, it may make you bit self-conscious as no one likes to see scars on the body.

Here we’ve mentioned some of the home remedies that you can try. Also, it’s suggested to eat nutrient-rich food that helps you consuming all-important vitamins and minerals that are needed for healthy skin.

satinder chowdhry

Satinder Chowdhry

Satinder Chowdhry is the founder, gym enthusiast & regular contributor at SPCFiTZ.com who is passionate about bodybuilding & workout. Strangely, he was never into fitness and even started hitting the gym quite late during his post-graduation days to lose weight, but he got hooked on it after getting results. These days, he enjoys working out and writing fitness, bodybuilding & training-related articles. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned enthusiast, here you’ll find a collection of workouts, insights, and tips articles written by him to empower you on your fitness journey and transform your health and physique.

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