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Can Eating Well Avoid Stretch Marks?

Can Eating Well Avoid Stretch Marks? Can Eating Well Avoid Stretch Marks?

Overview

Stretch marks are a form of skin scarring that appears when the skin is stretched beyond its normal limits. In place of healthy skin, collagen-filled scar tissue grows, creating red or purple stretch marks that fade with time. Because stretch marks are difficult to eradicate, practicing preventive techniques like eating a healthy diet can help.

Significance

Your body requires a delicate balance in order to maintain skin health. A healthy diet helps you maintain your weight. Because weight gain can lead to stretch marks, this reduces your risk factor for developing stretch marks. A good diet also helps you to maintain healthy skin. If your skin is dry or does not have the necessary nutrients to repair itself, stretch marks can occur more easily. Eating well gives your skin the nutrients it needs.

Recommended Foods

A healthy skin diet to prevent stretch marks involves eating a variety of nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water, which is important to skin health, according to "The Expectant Mothers Guide." Science Daily recommends following the United States Department of Agriculture's Daily Food Guide, which recommends eating whole grains; leafy, green vegetables; low-fat, calcium-rich foods, and lean meats. Consuming a diet high in zinc, which is found in yogurt, shellfish and soy products, can prevent stretch marks from forming, according to London's "Daily Mail" newspaper.

Considerations

While skin health and weight maintenance are two parts of the stretch-mark prevention puzzle, there are some changes that lead to stretch marks you cannot prevent. Weight gain due to pregnancy can often lead to the development of stretch marks. Your skin may not be able to stretch fast enough to compensate for your growing baby. Also, growth spurts that occur during puberty can cause the skin to stretch suddenly. Remember also that stretch mark development also is determined by genetics, according to the "Daily Mail." Despite your best efforts, you may be genetically predisposed to develop stretch marks.

Expert Insight

While weight gain is associated with causing stretch marks, extreme weight loss due to extremely low-calorie or starvation diets can lead to stretch marks as well, according to one British researcher. "Traditionally, society has always associated stretch marks with excessive weight gain, be it through diet or pregnancy," said Dr. Mario Russo, a London-based cosmetic surgeon, in a "Daily Mail" interview. "But the growing and frightening trend for extreme skinniness is revealing a whole new category of stretch mark sufferers. The body simply can't keep up with the dramatic changes that this kind of dieting triggers."

Treatment

If you do develop stretch marks, continue to eat a healthy diet. The stretch marks will fade with time, and your diet can help your body to repair the skin. You also may wish to utilize treatments such as tretinoin cream, onion extract cream or other stretch mark-fighting topical agents to reduce stretch mark size and color, according to The Consumer's Guide to Plastic Surgery. Cosmetic treatments, such as dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser treatments also may help to minimize stretch marks.

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