How Do I Avoid Stretch Marks?
Rapid skin stretching that occurs during pregnancy, weight gain or a growth spurt can cause tearing in the dermal, or middle, layer of your skin. This can lead to a type of scar commonly called a stretch mark. When scarring occurs in the dermis, skin cells in the epidermis, or top skin layer, flatten out, causing stretch marks to become more visible. Once stretch marks develop, you cannot get rid of them, so taking steps to avoid stretch marks from occurring is the best policy.
Drink water. Well-hydrated skin is stronger, more elastic and less prone to tearing than dry, dehydrated skin. General recommendations are eight to 10 glasses, or 2 L of water per day.
Change your diet. The American Pregnancy Association recommends foods high in vitamin C, E, zinc and silica. These vitamins and minerals are components of the skin protein collagen and are essential for maintaining strong skin more able to withstand the effects of stretching. In addition, the antioxidant vitamin C can help prevent skin cell damage due to a process called cell oxidation. If you are a body builder, Bodybuilding.com warns against heavy bulking, or weight gain, during your off-season, as bulking generally leads to increasing fat rather than muscle tissue.
Start an exercise program. Exercise gets your blood moving and better circulation improves skin elasticity.
Stop scratching. Scratching pulls and stretches the two skin layers most involved in the development of stretch marks, the dermis and epidermis. If your skin gets itchy, massaging in a lotion or cream can provide relief as well as improve blood flow and stimulate new skin cell growth, according to Allaboutstrechmarks.com. Consider using stretch mark lotions or creams. There is no evidence that proves stretch mark creams can prevent this condition, but using them may be helpful to minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
Use a bathroom scale to keep track of your weight, especially if you are pregnant, as rapid weight gain is a major contributor to the development of stretch marks. The American Pregnancy Association recommends weight gain of no more than 25 to 37 lbs. if your pre-pregnancy weight is normal, 28 to 40 lbs. if you are underweight and 15 to 25 lbs., if you are overweight.
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