Stretch marks can vary in size and shape, and are caused by rapid weight gain.
Pregnancy and puberty are the most common times for stretch marks to occur.
When the body goes through a spurt of growing faster on the inside than the skin on the outside, the fibrous and elastic layers deep in the skin stretch and tear.
Stretch marks are actually scar tissue, which forms to heal the tears. They tend to be worse in areas affected by gravity, such as the breasts and buttocks.
During pregnancy, you may notice stretch marks appear as wavy marks on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks and thighs. Initially, they tend to be purplish-red in colour, gradually fading to white and becoming less noticeable over a period of 6-12 months.
Deficiency of zinc has also been associated with the development of stretch marks. If you develop stretch marks easily, you may be deficient in the mineral zinc which is essential for skin repair. For best results choose a supplement with added magnesium and vitamin B6 for optimum absorption.
Vitamin C is important as it helps maintain the skin’s elasticity via its role in collagen production.
Stretch Mark Prevention
Maintaining moisture and flexibility in the affected areas may reduce the likelihood of stretch marks appearing. Try massaging the affected area on a daily basis (virgin coconut oil is great for your skin and it smells delicious!) to keep the skin supple.
Avoid putting on weight quickly by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, leafy greens, good fats (fish, eggs, virgin coconut oil, avocado, chia seeds), protein, nuts and seeds, and avoid sugar, grains and fatty foods.
Drinking around two litres of water per day is also an important part of keeping within your healthy weight range. If you are pregnant, consider taking a special multi-vitamin and mineral formula containing zinc to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition for you and your baby. See your naturopath for a practitioner quality multi which provide better nutrition than commercial, supermarket brands.
Regular exercise is also essential, even just 20 minutes of walking each day. Don’t forget to consult your healthcare professional before commencing a new exercise program – particularly if you are pregnant.
Since stretch marks tend to be worse in areas affected by gravity, be sure to wear a well-fitted and comfortable bra to reduce the action of gravity on your breasts during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Can Stretch Marks Be Removed?
Unfortunately, once a stretch mark has developed, it is permanent – no amount of massage will make it disappear, however they can fade over time.
Important Information About Stretch Marks
- Consult your healthcare professional if you suddenly develop large numbers of stretch marks – this may be a sign of certain hormonal diseases.
- If you are taking steroidal medication and develop stretch marks, these may be side effects of your medicine – consult your healthcare professional for more information.