It’s the bane of many a mommy…stretch marks! An unsightly reminder of pregnancy, yes, but stretch marks are also common during adolescence when the body is naturally growing. The big question is, can they be avoided? Let’s dive in.
Sure, stretch marks might get under your skin, so to speak, but it helps to understand where they come from and why they occur in order to better treat them. The American Academy of Dermatology describes stretch marks as types of scarring that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin, which support the skin, to rupture.
Not everyone gets them, either: doctors think you have a higher risk of getting them if people in your family also commonly have stretch marks.
Now, when they first appear, stretch marks tend to be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. Early stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be itchy. Once you begin to notice them, dermatologists suggest you start treating them.
Research did not find much connection between home remedies and reducing stretch marks from weight loss
A lot of research has looked at whether creams, gels and other topicals will prevent stretch marks. Turns out, there is no simple answer. Many of the products commonly marketed to treat the problem help some people, some of the time. One thing is certain across the board, though: the best results come when products are applied early. None of the products tested had any impact on mature distortion.
For the best chance of softening the lines, the experts say to massage the product into your stretch marks every day for a few weeks. That way you’ll get a legitimate picture of the product and your progress from using it.
Also of note in the research is what the studies did not find. Repeated studies found no evidence that home remedies did much to help. Despite many moms swearing on them, it turns out these DIY treatments amounted to old wives tales, according to researchers. Specifically, they found that none of the stretch marks faded when people massaged almond oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, or vitamin E into their stretch marks. Several large studies suggest that products containing hyaluronic acid as well as retinol do the best job in making them less noticeable.
Other tips to avoiding stretch marks include: controlling your weight, staying hydrated, and eating a nutrient-rich diet, including vitamins C, D and E. These tips along with supplementing zinc and quality collagen should keep your skin healthy most of the time.
The bottom line is that stretch marks typically don’t go away, but as you grown and age, they may become less noticeable. Or we notice them less, over time.