Whether you consider them a badge of honour, part of your personal journey, or a nuisance, there’s a good chance that you’ll experience stretch marks at some point.
Most of us have them - the indented stripes of colour that appear on your body, also known as stretch marks, are a common complaint.
However, the good news is that there’s a number of steps you can take to minimise their occurrence and visibility. In this feature, we’ll take a look at some insight around the subject - it might just change the way you look at them (and yourself).
1. Stretch marks come in many colours
You might have an image of a red stretch mark in your mind’s eye. However, stretch marks can come in a host of colours, depending on a number of factors.
Your skin tone, for instance, can determine the colour of your stretch marks, which can appear in red, pink and purple, or shades of brown, black and silver.
Colour can also give a clue as to how long your stretch marks have been there. Typically, the darker the stretch marks, the newer they are likely to be. This is because stretch marks tend to fade over time, although in some cases, they like to stick around.
2. No, it’s not a sign of being overweight
Ok, lets debunk the first myth – that only overweight people get stretch marks. The reality is that stretch marks are the result of your body not keeping up with a rapid growth spurt. This can be during a teenage growth spurt, quick body changes during other times in life, and pregnancy. Yes ladies, eight out of ten of us will get stretch marks on our stomachs, or other parts of the body as a result of pregnancy.
Age is another factor – especially as we get older. That’s because our skin’s natural collagen and elasticity wanes, and it can take longer for skin cell renewal.
If you have concerns about your skin's elasticity, check out Body Blitz, which has ingredients shown to visibly improve skin tone.
Hormones also play their part. Have you noticed how men suffer less with stretch marks? It’s all down to testosterone - a hormone that aids skin moisture levels, supporting the skin’s natural collagen production cycle. And yes, you guessed it, with depleting levels through the menopause, this is a typical time when skin is susceptible to stretch marks.
3. Lifestyle factors impact stretch marks
Lifestyle factors can influence your likelihood of stretch marks. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. Here’s a few lifestyle tweaks you can make to help reduce your risk:
- Take regular exercise - keeping weight stable can reduce the chances of skin being stretched. This is easier said than done, especially if you're experiencing hormonal fluctuations, but exercise also encourages blood flow, helping the skin to rebuild itself.
- Load up on Vitamin D – If you want to avoid exposure to the sun, you can eat foods fortified in Vitamin D, or take supplements if necessary.
- Quit smoking – smoking does so much harm to the skin, from damaging free radicals, to depleting it of essential nutrients.
4. Diet can influence stretch mark occurrence
Although you can’t outright prevent stretch marks, there are some steps you can take to minimise their likelihood. Eating foods with vitamins A,C, E and zinc, as well as those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can help your skin to stay supple. This includes fish such as; herring, mackerel, sardines and salmon. Vegetarians can opt for other sources, which include; flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and soya beans.
(Note - pregnant women should be aware of guidelines around fish intake)
5. Common scar oils contain harsh irritants
Many scar treatments actually contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin - exactly what you don't want when you're trying to calm and soothe your skin.
The reason we get stretch marks in the first place, is due to an eruption of elastin and collagen from skin being stretched. Therefore, keeping the skin supple is key. Scar Saviour is a natural, gentle balm designed to support your skin's recovery with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients.
This nourishing balm has been especially formulated for stretch marks and scars, doubling up as a c-section balm too. Loaded with powerful ingredients, it instantly hydrates and restores the skin, to help minimise the appearance of scars.
For larger stretch marks, Body Saviour is a good option in a generous 115ml pot. Delightfully lightweight, yet intensely nourishing, it features key ingredient shea butter alongside turmeric and rosehip, to help soothe dry dehydrated. Both are suitable for pregnancy and postnatal, making them an all-round winner.
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