Top Tips On Avoiding Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are permanent, so the best approach is to avoid them. Feed and nourish your body with nutrients that improve skin strength, elasticity and tone to reduce the chances of developing stretch marks.

The Basics about Stretch Marks

What are stretch marks?

In medical terms they are called Striae gravidarum. They often appear quickly and present as linear bands of streaking in a reddish or purplish colour that persist so long as skin is stretched. After birth they fade, however they rarely go away completely. In around 70% of women they are classified as mild.

What causes them?

The most common causes are the rapid weight gain of pregnancy and the subsequent tearing of tissue fibres in the dermis – the elastic middle layer of skin.

Other causes are:

  • Hormonal changes such as oestrogen and relaxin during pregnancy reducing the normal tensive strength of skin tissues
  • Poor elasticity of skin making it more prone to tearing
  • Pregnancy has a drying effect on skin and increases chances of tearing

Where do stretch marks form?

You will find stretch marks commonly across the abdomen, however they can also appear on the legs, breasts, buttocks, hips, thighs and upper arms. Basically anywhere there is weight gain.

What increases the risks of developing stretch marks?

These are known risk factors for developing stretch marks:

  • Age of under 30 years (teenagers have the highest risk of developing stretch marks)
  • Higher weight gain during pregnancy (roughly above 17kg)
  • Family history/Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption has been linked to a higher risk of stretch marks
  • Baby factors: significantly higher birth weight or gestational age

Tips to avoid stretch marks:

  • To reduce the risk of scarring, treat them early and often. Start to apply a stretch mark cream at the beginning of pregnancy, morning and night to all body areas that may be affected. Do this consistently, as often as necessary, until three months after birth. Ensure that it is dermatologist tested, and contains ingredients of natural origin.
  • Apply a stretch mark oil that contains ingredients of natural origin, and take the time to include a regular massage.
  • Have warm rather than hot showers, as hot water can dehydrate the skin and increase chances of tearing.
  • Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and maximize energy. Around 2 litres a day.
  • Check with your natural medicine therapist for signs of deficiency of any of these nutrients: zinc, B5 (Pantothenic Acid), silica or vitamins C and E.
  • Eat lots of vitamin B rich foods to improve skin integrity such as leafy greens, spirulina, molasses, brewers yeast and vegetables.
  • Consuming plenty of vitamin C improves elasticity of the skin, so eat plenty of foods such as blackcurrants, berries, kiwi fruit and raw foods in general.
  • Exfoliate weekly using an exfoliant specially designed for sensitive skin
  • Exercise daily. Women who practice regular exercise are more likely to have elastic healthy skin less prone to tearing, even a walk in the park will help.