The dreaded stretch marks..
Well, it is true that stretch marks, and if you have them or not, is dependent hugely on genetics. I have friends who have stretch marks just from that spurt of growth at puberty, and I have friends who don’t have a single stretch mark, even after pregnancy. It’s all in the genes, yes.
So why does it happen? Well, stretch marks can occur during sudden changes in body size, such as during pregnancy, puberty, or rapid weight-gain. Mostly one might see stretch marks around their abdomen, hips and thighs.
However, all is not lost.. if you do have some predisposition to stretch marks, there are steps and products you can take or use, to reduce the physical signs.
Here are some options on ways to reduce stretch marks, that we find effective:
500 mg of Vitamin C, taken as an oral supplement, can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Externally, certain formulations of vitamin C may also increase collagen production and help early-stage stretch marks. For maximum effect, combine with glycolic acid.
2. Use Vitamin E oil
Vitamin E oil is great for stretch marks, and one study shows that it’s most effective on women who have already been pregnant before.Vitamin E acts as a peroxyl radical scavenger, preventing the propagation of free radicals in tissues, by reacting with them to form a tocopheryl radical, which will then be reduced by a hydrogen donor (such as vitamin C). As it is fat-soluble, it is incorporated into cell membranes, which protects them from oxidative damage.
Exercising in general gives good muscle tone, and keeps the skin supple. This is particularly important to keep working out during pregnancy. Brisk walking and some light weights are fine, but check with your doctor first. If you have always been working out and generally a fit person, there is no real need to stop practicing your routine. Read a post on working out and pregnancy.
4. Apply Wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil, is a great natural moisturizer that can help. One recent study did find it helped improve stretch marks in their early phase.
Essential oils such as Lavender, Rose, Frankincense, Geranium, Helichrysum, Myrrh can be used as a home remedy for stretch mark prevention. You can apply them directly onto the skin, or use a carrier such as an unscented moisturizer to make application easier.
6. Use Glycolic acid
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that works on stretch marks by boosting collagen production. Glycolic acid can also be administered in higher doses by a dermatologist. This is definitely more expensive than the previous mentioned methods of stretch mark reduction.
Despite commercial claims, there is no convincing data that these work. Still these do exist so you can give it a try, if all else fails.
8. Apply Retinoids
Retinoids can increase collagen and elastic production during the early stages. But you should avoid them if you’re pregnant or nursing. Retinol, tretinoin, and the prescription medications Differin, Renova, Retin-A, and Tazorac are examples of retinoids.
9. Try Laser treatment
If you have the money, you can go for laser intervention. This popular treatment option is used by many dermatologists, and they are also being tried on stretch marks, as well. Lasers promote synthesis of healthy, new collagen, which has been damaged when stretch marks appear but it can be expensive.
10. Opt for an abdominoplasty
As a final resort.. you might want to go for a tummy tuck ( but I reckon this is too extreme). The only certain way to get rid of stretch marks is to go under the knife. If you’ve tried everything else and can’t stand the tiger stripes, then this is for you. Still, option 10 should be the last resort.. I’d try options 1 – 9 first as these are less brutal and non-invasive techniques to remove stretch marks.