How To Prevent And Reduce The Appearance Of Stretch Marks: Expert Tips
Stretch marks happen to everyone — both women and men get them, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of.
In this article, the experts at Babo Botanicals discuss some tried-and-true tips for how to manage, reduce, and prevent stretch marks.
What Are Stretch Marks?
The scientific name for stretch marks is striae distensae, or striae gravidarum when they occur during pregnancy. These lines are exactly what they sound like: marks that appear on your skin when it gets stretched.
More specifically, stretch marks happen when your skin changes shape rapidly because of growth or weight gain, and it commonly happens during puberty, pregnancy, or weight training.
The stretching — be it new from muscle mass, weight gain, or a baby growing inside your belly — causes the elastin and collagen in your middle layer of skin to tear and break down. These tears become visible on the surface layer of your skin and are known as stretch marks.
As we mentioned in the introduction, men, women, and even teenagers can develop stretch marks under the right conditions.
Some teenagers develop stretch marks after they go through a particularly potent growth spurt. If they’re lifting heavy weights, the lines can be even more pronounced.
Similarly, men who engage in intensive muscle gain or rapid weight gain can also develop stretch marks around their pecs and shoulders.
While women can develop stretch marks from rapid weight gain or muscle gain too, the primary cause of these lines in women is pregnancy. In fact, as many as 90% of women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy.
Scientists aren’t sure why some women don’t develop stretch marks, but evidence suggests that genetics plays a role.
For the 90% of women who do develop stretch marks, these lines usually begin to appear on the belly, thighs, hips, and chest in the sixth or seventh month, when the baby experiences a growth spurt.
It’s important to note that while stretch marks can be unsightly, they are not harmful and don’t pose any health risk.
Read on for ways to reduce the appearance of stretch marks after they’ve developed and to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
How To Reduce The Appearance of Stretch Marks
We have compiled a list of skin-friendly remedies and other tips to help the appearance of stretch marks
Stretch Mark Remedies
1) Vitamin A
Apply a topical vitamin A cream over the affected area to stimulate new collagen production. You can also try taking a vitamin A supplement to further repair your skin.
2) Sugar Scrub
Microdermabrasion is clinically proven to make stretch marks fade, but you don’t have to visit a dermatologist or pay big bucks for the process.
Try using a homemade sugar scrub to exfoliate the area for 8-10 minutes several times a week. It’s an easy DIY way to reduce stretch marks after they form!
3) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a natural healer and skin softener that you can grow right in your own home.
If you have an aloe vera plant, you can break off the tip of a leaf, squeeze out the gel-like liquid, and massage it into your skin.
4) Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil contains natural retinol that many of the best skin products include in their formula to help moisturize and heal damaged skin.
Apply a small drop or two of rosehip oil on stretch-marked skin and massage for a minute or two to enjoy the skin-softening benefits.
5) Argan Oil
Another way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks after they form is to apply argan oil to your skin.
Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid — both of which contain high levels of fatty acids. Those fatty acids nourish and strengthen the lower layers of your skin to help reduce the signs of stretch marks.
6) Coconut Oil
Look in your kitchen cupboard and you’ll likely find a jar of coconut oil. It’s great for cooking, but it’s also great for reducing stretch marks after they appear!
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and will keep your skin hydrated longer to help reduce the tightness and redness of stretch marks.
7) Cocoa Butter And Shea Butter
Applying a rich lotion with cocoa and shea butter is a luxurious way to keep all your skin healthy, not just where stretch marks appear.
Apply the lotion all over — or just to the affected area — every day to keep your skin soft, supple, and smooth.
Covering Stretch Marks With A Tattoo
When considering getting tattoos over stretch marks, it’s always best to wait until the marks have faded a bit, like when they change from red or purple to a silvery-white.
Some people choose to cover their marks with a colorful tattoo, and some people choose to try and match their skin tone to ink and cover their stretch marks that way. Whatever you choose, do what is best for you and what will make you happy.
But also remember this: stretch marks are a natural and beautiful part of pregnancy. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. We say wear those lines with pride!
That said, we understand you may still want to prevent stretch marks before they even stand a chance. If so, take a look at our tips below.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
You may think you’re ultimately fighting a losing battle, but help preventing stretch marks may also be a possibility. Check out our list below for some ways to keep your skin as healthy as possible.
1) Stay Hydrated
It may sound small, but keeping properly hydrated can go a long way to helping prevent stretch marks. Staying hydrated means your skin stays soft. And soft skin doesn’t tend to develop stretch marks as much as dry skin does.
When skin cells have plenty of water, they’re able to function properly and repair themselves more efficiently. That means your skin is better able to adjust to your pregnancy and avoid stretch marks.
We suggest drinking at least eight cups of water every day to keep your skin cells healthy and hydrated!
2) Moisturize Your Skin
Keeping your skin properly moisturized will help to reduce the chance of elastin breakdown in your skin.
In fact, moisture is one of the most important components of a healthy skincare routine. It keeps your skin smooth and bright, helps maintain your skin’s protective outer layer, and preserves skin elasticity.
We find that the best solution is to apply an all-natural hydrating product like Babo Botanicals’ Skin Repair Nutri-Firm™ Stretch Mark Treatment Oil to your stomach, hips, thighs, and chest at least twice a day.
Balms and creams like this work to increase your skin’s elasticity, allowing it to expand and grow without tearing and forming stretch marks.
For best results, apply the moisturizing balm after your shower to maximize your skin’s healing. When you moisturize your skin on a daily basis, you can prevent stretch marks before they form.
3) Control Rapid Weight Gain
Whether you’re young or old, male or female, pregnant or not, one of the best ways to prevent stretch marks from forming is to control rapid weight gain.
Rapid weight gain prevents your skin from adjusting to the mass underneath, so try to avoid packing on muscle or other weight too quickly.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about ways you can control rapid weight gain (e.g., exercise and diet) to prevent stretch marks from appearing.
4) Include Skin-Healthy Nutrients In Your Diet
Eating a healthy diet is an excellent first step toward preventing stretch marks.
When you’re pregnant, you can’t prevent all weight gain — you are carrying a baby after all — but you can work to keep it within healthy limits.
We recommend a balanced diet that includes:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
To get the most skin benefits out of your diet, eat foods that are high in vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and zinc — these nutrients are essential for healthy skin and help ward off stretch marks.
To get the most out of your stretch-mark-prevention efforts, be sure to exfoliate your stomach, hips, thighs, and chest once a week.
Gently exfoliating with a loofah or other abrasive cloth or brush removes the dry and dead skin cells that can prevent your moisturizers and creams from penetrating to the lower layers of skin where they do the most good.
Exfoliation also promotes the growth of new skin cells, which can help keep your stomach, hips, thighs, and chest soft, supple, and stretch-mark-free.
You can also apply natural exfoliants, like baking soda or witch hazel, to further remove dead skin cells. Apply these exfoliants directly to your skin and rest easy knowing they’re gentle enough that they won’t damage already dry skin.
6) Massage Your Skin
The tips and treatments on this list only take a few minutes to apply. But if you allow yourself just 10 more minutes to massage these products into your skin, you can supercharge stretch mark prevention.
Gentle massage on the hips, thighs, chest, and belly works in four ways:
- It keeps skin supple and elastic
- It opens pores and pushes the cream deep into your skin where it can do the most good
- It breaks up any stretch marks that may have started forming
- It directs blood to the lower layers of skin to keep everything healthy
To get the most out of a 10-minute massage, we recommend applying cream to your fingertips first. Then massage the cream into your skin using gentle pressure and small circular movements.
Do this every day for amazing results!
Stretch Mark Cream and Ointment
If you’re frustrated by dealing with stretch marks and are looking for a new product to try that will actually work, check out our brand new Skin Repair Nutri-Firm™ Stretch Mark Treatment Oil.
The oil is clinically shown to produce noticeable results in just four weeks and can aid with the appearance of stretch marks, scars, and dehydrated skin.
Clinically Shown To Increase Elasticity
All Natural Skin Repair Nutri-Firm™ Treatment Oil is perfect for your back, shoulders, and arms.
It has been clinically shown to increase elasticity, improve the overall appearance of skin, and reduce the signs of stretch marks, decolorization, and dehydration.
Our Skin Repair Nutri-Firm™ Treatment Oil also contains a Nutri-Firm™ Complex, rich in natural retinol, Omega 6, and vitamin E, for anti-aging and skin treatment.
More About Babo’s Nutri-Firm™ Complex
Babo’s Skin Repair Stretch Mark Oil contains a Nutri-Firm™ Complex enriched with Kahai, Argan, Sea Buckthorn, and Rosehip oil. This oil is rich in Vitamin E, Natural Retinol, Linoleic Acid (Omega 6), and Vitamin A.
It's a powerhouse of natural skin-repairing ingredients that can help you reduce the appearance of stretch marks on any part of your body.
Love The Skin You’re In
Growing a baby is no easy task! Your body will go through a lot of changes during and after pregnancy. Stretch marks are just one of them.
Love the skin you’re in by following the tips on this list and making liberal use of Babo Botanicals’ Skin Repair Nutri-Firm™ Stretch Mark Treatment Oil.
Your skin will look and feel healthy and you’ll be better able to enjoy the wonderful miracle of pregnancy and the new life growing inside you.
For more information on taking care of your family’s skin and to check out all our natural skincare products, visit BaboBotanicals.com today.