The Truth about Stretch Marks

Stretch Marks also know as Striae are silvery white bands of scar tissue that stripe the skin in areas where growth has outpace the skin’s ability to stretch.  Areas particularly prone to scarring are the hips, thighs, lower belly and breasts.

Elastic fiber in he deeper layers of skin stretch and snap, much like a rubber band, says Jessica Wu, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in LA and the author of Feed Your Face.  “The surface of the skin gets thin and rippled, resulting in stretch mark.”

The Cause: Any number of triggers can result in the squiggly lines, including a growth spurt, rapid weight gain or loss, body building and pregnancy.  Also those using cortisone cream and steroid pills are at rid because steroids breaks down connective tissue of the skin.

While we know that we can  help prevent these from occurring if we maintain a healthy weight and avoiding rapid weight gain/loss, we can also try using other preventive actions:

1. Dab a retinoid cream like Renova on the area. It will help generate new collagen and blend existing stretch marks with the rest of your skin. An over-the-counter retinol—though weaker than its prescription counterpart—can help minimize newer stretch marks and prevent them from becoming worse.

2.  Use creams with vitamin E
Unfortunately, research doesn’t support the age-old cocoa butter myth. But a study in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that pregnant women who used a cream with vitamin E had fewer marks than those who didn’t.

3. Healthy Diet
You’re probably already eating healthy, balanced meals to make sure your baby is getting enough vitamins and nutrients. Incorporating foods that are especially beneficial for the health of your skin can improve your skin’s elasticity, which helps prevent stretch marks from forming. Add the following foods to your daily diet: 

-Foods rich in antioxidants, which help nourish and protect skin. Eat plenty of spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

-Foods containing vitamin E, which protects skin cell membranes. Eat nuts, seeds, avocados broccoli, and collard greens.

-Foods containing vitamin A, which repairs skin tissues. Eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, and red bell peppers.

-Foods containing omega 3s, which keep cell membranes healthy and make your skin glow. Eat fish, fish oil, walnuts, eggs and oysters.

You will notice that there is really no way to prevent stretch marks. There’s not a cream, lotion, or “mommy” balm that can do away with that — and if that’s the claim on the bottle, don’t be fooled, Lupo says.  They might minimize, but never to really prevent.  But there will always be those 10%, lucky that they did are not prone to getting stretch marks.

It’s always a good idea to keep your skin hydrated with a rich lotion or cream, Lupo says, especially if it makes your skin feel better, look smoother and more toned, and helps the itchiness that can come with your growing belly.