Sometimes they’re red, white, or purple, and sometimes they’re called tiger stripes or lightning strikes. Sometimes they’re itchy, and sometimes they’re bumpy and squishy. If you haven’t guessed it yet, we’re talking about stretch marks—especially how to avoid stretch marks.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are the squiggly, bumpy, red, purple, or white lines that tend to appear around your breasts, belly, and booty. They’re caused by small tearings in your skin when it is stretched too much, too quickly.
Tearing of the skin fibers causes scar tissue to form, resulting in what we know as stretch marks. These marks usually begin as red or purple raised lines that flatten and fade to white or silver over time.
Stretch marks can happen to anyone at any age, usually after a period of rapid weight gain or growth, such as during pregnancy, puberty, or gaining a large amount of muscle. Fluctuating hormonal changes may play a role in their appearance as well.
Do Stretch Marks Go Away if You’re a Teenager?
Unfortunately, stretch marks are permanent, but they will fade over time. If you’re a teenager, it’s not uncommon to develop stretch marks after a growth spurt during puberty. Females especially may notice the appearance of stretch marks on their breasts as they develop.
While you can’t get rid of stretch marks, they may be less noticeable when you’re younger. Younger skin is more elastic and can repair itself more quickly. If you develop stretch marks as a teenager, they will likely fade faster and become less noticeable.
How To Avoid Stretch Marks
There is no surefire method for how to avoid stretch marks. But there are actions you can take to possibly prevent them and reduce their appearance when they do occur.
Read below to learn how to say goodbye to stretch marks and tips for when you can’t.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Since rapid weight gain causes stretch marks, maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to avoid them; this can be done through regular exercise and eating well.
Avoid overeating high-calorie foods (such as refined carbs and sugars) that are linked to obesity and weight gain. Instead, stick to a healthy, balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You can also use tools such as a BMI calorie maintenance calculator to determine how many calories you need daily to maintain a healthy weight.
To lead a more active lifestyle, start a fitness routine, join a sport, or get more steps in throughout the day to increase your daily calorie burn.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dry skin is more prone to damage and tearing than soft and supple skin. Hydrated skin is more pliable, meaning that it will stretch more readily without tearing or forming scar tissue.
Drinking water will help keep your skin cells hydrated and functioning at their best. Water carries oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells to better maintain skin elasticity and repair damaged skin tissue.
Water also helps to keep your skin plump and healthy-looking. It lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Moisturize Your Skin
While drinking more water helps hydrate your skin from the inside, creams and lotions bring moisture and protection to your skin on the outside.
Keeping your skin consistently moisturized increases its elasticity so it can grow and expand without tearing. Moisturizers typically contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, or glycerin which help to keep moisture in.
You may also want to consider skin products specifically formulated to prevent stretch marks. Many of these products contain ingredients like vitamins E and C, which have been shown to help boost collagen production and repair skin tissue faster.
Ingredients that should be avoided when you are pregnant:
- Any Retinoid
- Benzoyl peroxide & salicylic acids
- Cannabis oils
- Aluminum chloride
Simple Moisturizers to consider:
- Curél Hydra Therapy In Shower Lotion
- NIVEA Nourishing In Shower Lotion
- Kopari Coconut Body Milk Moisturizing Lotion
- Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion, Moisturizing Coconut, 12 Oz
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar Body Lotion
- Bio-Oil Moisturizing Body Lotion
How To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are most at risk for developing stretch marks, primarily around their bellies. During pregnancy, your stomach expands rapidly to make room for the fetus; this can cause the skin around your belly to stretch far wider and faster than it’s used to, resulting in the tearing of skin fibers.
Read below for tips on how to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy.
Gain Weight at an Appropriate Pace
On average, women gain between 25-35 pounds during their pregnancy. The amount of weight gain will depend solely on the individual.
Many pregnant women believe they must eat for two, resulting in a faster and more significant weight gain than is healthy. In actuality, pregnant women only need to increase their daily caloric intake by 300 calories in the second trimester, then monitor and adjust as needed.
Exercise is also important for healthy weight gain. With exercise comes an increase in protein, water, and electrolyte intake. Drinking water can help your skin stay moisturized, increase its elasticity, keep your muscles from becoming too stiff, and keep your growing body hydrated, helping amplify that pregnancy glow.
Talk to your doctor about what is right for you and aim to gain weight at an appropriate pace to prevent unnecessary stretching of your skin.
Use Topical Creams Early On
There’s no way to know whether you will or won’t develop stretch marks. Treating your skin with stretch mark creams and lotions early on may help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy or reduce their appearance.
However, pregnant women need to be cautious about their skincare products. Certain skincare products contain ingredients that may harm the fetus when absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.
Most Common Stretch mark Creams:
- Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
- Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy
- Belly Butter by Earth Mama
- Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
- TriLASTIN Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
Check out our list of pregnancy OBGYN-approved products, including our top picks for stretch mark creams. Start treating your skin early on for the best results for how to avoid stretch marks.
Take Your Vitamins
Eating a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals is crucial for pregnant women. During pregnancy, your body is working hard to grow a baby, which takes up a lot of energy and nutrients.
While diet is the best way to get nutrients, pregnant women should also consider supplementing their diet with prenatal multivitamins to ensure adequate nutrition.
Pregnant women should specifically consider vitamins C, E, D, and zinc to prevent stretch marks. These nutrients are good for skin health and may help protect against skin damage caused by skin stretching.
Prenatal Vitamins to consider:
- Ritual Multi-Vitamins Essential for Women Prenatal
- SmartyPants Prenatal Formula Gummies
- Nordic Naturals
- Solimo Prenatal & DHA Gummies
- Vitamin Code Raw by Garden of Life
- OLLY Prenatal Multivitamin Gummy
Learn more about How To Say Goodbye To Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are a side effect of fluctuating weight, whether through pregnancy, puberty, or gaining and losing weight quickly. While you may not always like your stretch marks, it’s important to remember that they are a natural part of life and are nothing to be ashamed of.
There is no concrete method to avoid stretch marks completely, and you can’t get rid of them once they are there. However, you can take steps to help prevent them and reduce their severity. Follow the tips in this article to improve your skin health and your chances of avoiding stretch marks.
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