Almost everyone has them, and yet so many people are self-conscious over them: stretch marks are one of the cosmetic concerns that it’s easy to get in a tizz about!
What are stretch marks?
What causes stretch marks?
Where can you get them?
How can you prevent stretch marks?
Which natural ingredients help to combat stretch marks?
Can stretch marks be hereditary?
Pregnancy and stretch marks
Essentially, stretch marks are just a form of scar. In general, you’ll see purple stretch marks fade over time into silver or white stretch marks, which have a slight shine against the rest of your skin.
These white stretch marks are generally much less noticeable than their younger counterparts, but are harder to treat.
The clue’s in the name here - stretch marks are just caused by your skin stretching more quickly than it can cope with.
Many people see stretch marks appear during puberty, especially girls, as their bodies change so much, so rapidly.
In fact, the onslaught of a variety of hormones can cause trouble when it comes to stretch mark, as well as the rapid growth. An increase in cortisone can mean decreased elasticity in the skin, leading to a propensity for stretch marks.
While cortisone is naturally found in our bodies, and produced in the adrenal gland, application of topical skin treatments like corticosteroids can also reduce skin’s elasticity.
Puberty’s far from the only mischief maker though - anything that causes rapid skin expansion is also likely to cause stretch marks.
Pregnancy, for example, almost always produces the marks, especially around the belly and breast area as they swell quickly.
Similarly, anything that causes sudden weight gain - whether that’s a quick burst of muscle growth or fat - can leave skin prone to stretch marks.
However, not everyone will get stretch marks. So what sets apart those of us who do?
Unfortunately, one of the key factors in whether or not you get stretch marks is simply your gender. Women are more likely to see these tiger stripes appear than men are, due to the frequent sudden changes our bodies go through.
Another factor you can’t do much about is your genetics - if your relatives have stretch marks, you’re likely to experience a few yourself.
Thankfully, it’s not all beyond our control! There’s one key factor that you can easily change: being dehydrated can cause your skin to break more easily, leading to the scars.
There’s a very simple solution here - make sure you drink lots of water! Hydrated skin heals more quickly than dehydrated skin, and won’t tear as easily to begin with.
Hyaluronic Serum 200
To complement your new water intake, you should opt for hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid if you're worried about stretch marks forming.
In fact, if your skin is really dehydrated, it might actually shrink back from any growth, instead of stretching to accommodate it, which will worsen the stretch marks.
Essentially, you can get stretch marks everywhere your body can grow quickly. This is most likely in areas that tend to store fat - the belly and hips are real traitors here!
Teenage boys often find the marks going down their calves and thighs following a growth spurt in puberty.
Because their bodies are more suited to muscle gain, men also often see stretch marks across their biceps after beginning a rigorous training routine.
This is obviously not limited to men - if women see rapid muscle expansion, they too are susceptible.
This can be worsened during pregnancy, as skin tends to be drier, our bodies expand to accommodate new life, and pregnancy hormones wreak havoc on us.
Annoyingly, it is far easier to prevent stretch marks from forming in the first place than it is to get rid of them once they’re there.
One of the best ways to prevent stretch marks from forming is to control your weight. While you won’t have control over things like growth spurts, maintaining a healthy weight can prevent your skin from stretching too quickly.
Even if you’re trying to gain weight or muscle, it’s best to do it slowly and steadily, ideally with help from a doctor or dietician.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s really important to keep your skin hydrated to prevent stretch marks from forming.
You can do this both by drinking lots of water - health authorities usually recommend consuming about 2 litres a day as a general rule - and by applying topical treatments to keep your skin healthy and supple.
Luckily, it’s not all out of our control! A variety of natural ingredients have properties which help to prevent or minimise existing stretch marks.
Going back to those topical treatments we just spoke about, there are a few that work to keep your skin elasticated and strong.
One of our absolute favourite ingredients for treating stretch marks, and maintaining healthy skin in general, is Rosehip Oil.
It’s a bit of a giant in the skincare world - and for good reason! Alongside its numerous skin benefits, Rosehip Oil is safe to be used in pregnancy - which is one of the main risk factors for stretch marks.
It’s so safe it’s even approved for use on baby, too - though check with your doctor in case of any preexisting conditions.
You don’t have to be pregnant to benefit from Rosehip Oil, though. Studies have found that on existing stretch marks, Rosehip Oil can help to diminish severity. It also decreases the likelihood of developing new marks.
Rosehip Oil is so effective because it’s comprised of smaller-than-average molecules, which can penetrate deeper into your skin due to their size.
Once in the inner layers of your skin, this miraculous oil improves moisture levels thanks to the high fatty acid content, and boosts collagen production, which makes your skin more elastic.
More elasticated and more hydrated skin equals smaller risk of stretch marks! Meanwhile, the bio-retinol in the oil means that you’ll have enhanced cellular turnover - which means your skin will heal more quickly.
Not only is Rosehip Oil brilliant for battling stretch marks, it has a few other tricks up its sleeve!
The high antioxidant levels means it works to fight against pollution that could affect your skin, while the vitamin A content means it works hard against wrinkles and age spots.
Another fantastic option is Baobab oil. Native to Africa, this potent ingredient has been used for centuries - alongside every other part of the tree - to care for skin.
Like Rosehip Oil, baobab oil works to support skin’s natural elasticity, rehydrate, and promote cellular regeneration.
It contains a multitude of vitamins, including D, E, and F, as well as beta-carotene and essential fatty acids.
These help to protect your skin against damage from the environment and from scarring.
High doses of Linoleic Acid are also present in baobab oil, which is particularly important for our skincare regimens, as it’s one fatty acid that’s not produced by our bodies themselves.
Linoleic acid is instrumental in keeping our skin’s barrier healthy and strong - meaning irritants are kept out, and - more importantly in the case of stretch marks - water is kept in.
This means boosted hydration levels, and a lower chance of ending up with stretch marks in the first place, so baobab oil is a great preventative treatment.
In addition, baobab oil has a low comedogenic rating, meaning it won’t clog your pores if you’re prone to breakouts and fancy using it on your face.
A traditional remedy for stretch marks and scarring, mandarin essential oil is rich in vitamins C and E.
Vitamin C is an important factor in the production of collagen, while vitamin E moisturises, and helps to soothe irritated skin.
Skin Saviour Body Oil
Our wonderful Skin Saviour Oil contains all three of these stretch mark-fighting heroes, and leaves skin hydrated, soothed, and glowing.
If you’re after something with cooling properties as well, to battle any inflammation or redness, try massaging aloe vera into your stretch marks.
The high dose of hydration, coupled with the massaging action, should stimulate skin to increase regeneration.
The massaging will break up the scar tissue, and works well paired with an oil or cream to both complement the healing process and allow your hands to glide over the skin.
Moisturising and massaging any type of scar works best on newly formed marks, and it’s best to commit to at least a few minutes of massaging - and maybe rope in someone else to make it more relaxing for you!
Other oils that are fantastic moisturisers include argan oil, bitter almond oil, and lavender oil - which will lull you to sleep as a bonus!
Sadly, stretch marks can indeed be inherited. Your genetics defines your skin makeup, so if your family members are prone to dehydration and loss of elasticity then you’re much more likely to see a few stripes appear.
However, just because there are genetic factors doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely get stretch marks - just as it doesn’t guarantee their absence if none of your family have them.
Looking after and hydrating your skin, as well as doing your best to maintain steady growth, is still the best way to prevent stretch marks from forming.
Bringing a tiny life into the world is an amazing thing, but pregnancy comes with its own set of worries.
Stretch marks certainly aren’t top of the list when it comes to stress factors in pregnancy, but they sure can be irritating.
Because the belly can swell quite rapidly alongside the foetus’ growth, stretch marks are something a lot of women face in pregnancy.
While they’re not at all harmful, and nothing to be ashamed of, there are a few ways to keep them under control.
As we mentioned above, Rosehip Oil is safe for use during (and after) pregnancy, so why not smooth some on, or get a partner involved so that you can unwind at the same time. Growing another human is hard work, you know!
At the end of the day, stretch marks are really just a part of life. They show where your body has moved and grown, and mark out a history upon your body. Thankfully, they’re not at all harmful, so if you do have a few, they’re nothing to worry about.
We know that they can affect self esteem, though - especially when we’re bombarded with photoshopped images of skin that’s remarkably pristine.
If you are bothered by them, then remember: prevention is better than cure, so keep your skin moisturised and elastic to cope with any upcoming changes.
If you do already have some, reach for healing and restorative ingredients like Rosehip and Baobab oil, which nourish skin as well as giving it the tools to repair itself.
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