Love them, hate them, or have mixed feelings about them - stretch marks are a natural part of the human body. Believe it or not, up to 90% of adults have them. The question is, why do they appear? Why are some of them wider, longer, or darker? Can you prevent them? Well, let's find out all about them!
What are stretch marks?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), stretch marks are scars that form when the skin shrinks or grows too quickly. When a stretch mark is new, it usually looks like a red, pink, or purple line - as time passes, they become less visible and turn into a silvery-white color.
Stretch marks simply happen when the skin stretches more than it can handle.
This stretching causes the elastic fibers in the middle layer of the skin, called the dermis, to break or tear. When these tears start their healing process, they leave behind certain scars on the skin - called stretch marks. Many factors can increase the chances of developing stretch marks, like rapid growth, pregnancy, hormonal changes, genetics, and certain medications - but the primary reason why stretch marks happen is because of the excessive stretching of the skin.
Who Can Get Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are more common than you think, anyone can be prone to them.
Yes, you read that right - including you and me 😉
People immediately think of pregnancy when they hear the word stretch mark. And yes, pregnancy is one of the most common causes of stretch marks, with nine out of 10 women developing them during this time - stretch mark formation happens because as the baby grows, it overstretches the belly and eventually develops these marks.
However, stretch marks are not limited to any specific gender. Ah-oh!
Men, just like anyone else, can also get stretch marks. These marks can show up on people of all ages and genders. Anyone can have them, regardless of the factors we mentioned earlier - if you're a guy and notice stretch marks on your body, know you're not alone. It's something that can happen to absolutely anyone.
Especially if you:
- are a woman
- are pregnant
- are a teenager
- have Marfan syndrome
- are a bodybuilder or athlete
- have a family history of stretch marks
- go through constant weight fluctuations
Stretch marks do not appear on the face, hands, or feet, but they can appear in other areas of the body - the most common spots for stretch marks are where the body stores fat, such as the belly, hips, thighs, breasts, and buttocks.
Natural Ways to Take Care of Stretch Marks
Whether you proudly embrace stretch marks or prefer to minimize their appearance, there are natural ways to help reduce these stripes. While expensive treatments like laser therapy may show success and instant gratification, they are very harmful to the skin - no thanks!
On the other hand, natural remedies are safe, good for your health, and can even be super enjoyable to try. Keep in mind that once a stretch mark has been formed, getting rid of them is not 100% guaranteed. But you can take steps to prevent and minimize them - here are five easy tips to help reduce stretch marks:
1. Incorporate a healthy and balanced diet
We are not talking about a certain, zero-calorie diet or anything related to that. We are talking about focusing on including specific nutrients like vitamins, zinc, and protein in your meals. This can be very beneficial for preventing stretch marks as they play a big role in collagen production (collagen is a protein that gives our skin its elasticity). The more collagen your skin produces, the better it can fight against developing stretch marks. A simple way to make sure you get the nutrients your body needs is by choosing unprocessed foods and keeping a "colorful" plate. For example, a colorful breakfast may include eggs, whole wheat toast, and a cup of mixed berries - yum!
2. Stay hydrated
Yes, sometimes staying hydrated can become a bit tricky when you are in the bustle of everyday life - been there, done that! But we all know staying hydrated is always a good idea. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends drinking around 13 cups of water daily for men and 9 cups for women. Sounds like a lot, right? It's actually not if you keep an alarm on your phone or a sticky note reminder. You should know that drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee may increase your risk of developing stretch marks - if you are a coffee lover, it's a good idea to balance it out by drinking plenty of water, herbal tea, and other beverages without caffeine.
3. Massage yourself with essential oil
This study shows that rosehip seed oil reduces the appearance of stretch marks - and guess what, our Stretch Mark Oil includes this ingredient ✨ Massaging helps increase blood circulation, break down scar tissues, and improve skin stretchiness (plus, it just feels great). Take a few minutes each day to massage your body with our skin-restoring oil, by doing so, you can improve the look of your stretch marks and promote a healthier complexion.
4. Protect your stretch marks from the sun
Can you think of someone who doesn't like to have fun under the sun? We do - stretch marks! Sun exposure can make stretch marks way more noticeable since they cannot get tanned from the sun. (Tip: you can use self-tanner to blend them with your tanned skin color.) Next time you're sunbathing, make sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and reduce the risk of making stretch marks stand out - while sunscreen alone cannot prevent stretch marks completely, it keeps them protected and looking healthy.
5. Try stress-reducing practices
If you've been dealing with lots of stress, you can develop stretch marks even if you haven't gained weight or been pregnant. Yep, you read that right. Elevated cortisol levels can interrupt the production of collagen and elastin (an essential duo for maintaining skin elasticity), making you more vulnerable to stretch marks. To help prevent stress-related stretch marks, try incorporating zen activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. Trust us, your mind and body will thank you for that.
Don't forget stretch marks are a normal part of being human, and there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. But as you read, there are natural ways to care for your skin, and now you know about them. At Noosa Basics, we create body products free from toxic ingredients so that you can embrace a more natural lifestyle 🤍
Our Stretch Mark Body Oil is specially crafted for those who want to gently and naturally take care of their stretch marks, we are here to support your toxic-free journey - you’ve got this!
DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. Please consult a qualified healthcare professional before acting on any information presented here.
By Denia Fernanda