Stretch marks are a type of scarring on the skin; it is a common problem for many people, especially pregnant women. Stretch marks occur in the dermis, the middle layer of skin, when there is a rapid growth in the body which causes the elastic fibres under the skin’s surface to break, hence causing marks.
In simple terms, when the skin is stretched, the collagen is weakened and its normal production cycle is disturbed and damaged. This leads to the creation of fine scars beneath the top layer of the skin. It commonly occurs on the thighs, arms, stomach, and the bottom area. You can prevent stretch marks if you follow a safe exercise plan, a good diet, and a regular skincare regime.
Dr. Teena Thomas, Sr. Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Brookefield, Bangalore shares some ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy:
Exercise: Exercising regularly will not only prevent you from gaining weight but will also improve elasticity. You can try brisk walking or indoor cycling.
Sunscreen: Always apply sunscreen before you step out of the house, especially to areas where stretch marks might occur, such as belly, sides and chest.
Exfoliation: Exfoliate regularly as it will not only improve elasticity but will also boost blood circulation.
Cleansing: Cleansing your skin will give you a natural glow whilst hydrating your skin. Buy one that’s made of natural oil.
Sunblock: If you’re constantly exposed to the sun, choose a product that includes sunscreen. Buy a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher.
Moisturiser: While buying a moisturiser, look for one that has ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin E or hyaluronic acid. Do not use products that falsely claim to remove stretch marks completely. You can take the help of your dermatologist to find the right one.
Water: Drink enough water to keep your skin supple and maintain elasticity.
Diet: There are several food items you can eat that encourage collagen production.
Here are some diet tips to follow:
Vitamin D: Consume Vitamin D rich foods such as fish oil, tuna, and egg yolks to prevent the epidermal atrophy.
Omega 3 fatty acids: Consume Omega 3 rich foods such as olive oil, cow butter, this will help increase elasticity.
Vitamin C: Consume Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, berries and melon, this will help increase elasticity and improve substance between skin cells.
Vitamin E: Consume Vitamin E rich foods such as seeds, peanut butter, tomatoes, this will help improve the health of membranes and skin tissues.
Vitamin A: Consum Vitamin A rich foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mango, this will help improve skin elasticity and boost the formation of new skin cells.
When you have stretch marks, you need to take care of your skin regularly. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water and consume a healthy and balanced food. Stretch marks can have a profound effect on your self-confidence. Consult your dermatologist right away, she/he will examine your skin type and help find suitable treatments or products.