Stretch marks are indented streaks of discolored skin that appear literally due to the stretching of skin, and for pregnant women, the stretching of skin in the abdominal region is virtually guaranteed and unavoidable. Once someone has stretch marks, they can be difficult to treat and may take a bit of time to heal, so prevention may be your best strategy.
How can I prevent stretch marks?
There is no way to guarantee whether or not someone will get stretch marks, but following these suggestions will reduce the chance of getting them:
- Stay hydrated: Water improves skin elasticity so it is less prone to stretching. You should be drinking about 8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat healthy: Healthy eating habits can help ensure that you put on the right weight at a gradual, healthy pace to avoid stretch marks.
- Physical activity: A safe and healthy level of physical activity will also regulate the rate of weight gain, and abdominal stretching can help reduce the likelihood of stretch marks.
- Topical oils: There is not sufficient evidence to prove that rubbing oils and cocoa butter on your growing abdomen will prevent stretch marks, but some studies suggest they may help. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re putting on or in your body when you are pregnant or trying.
- JA Garcia Hernandez, D Madera Gonzalez, M Padilla Castillo, T Figueras Falcon. “Use of a specific anti-stretch mark cream for preventing or reducing the severity of striae gravidarum. Randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 35(3):233-7. Web. 6/13/2015.
- “Body changes and discomforts.” Womenshealth.gov. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 9/27/2010. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stretch marks: Causes.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 1/10/2013. Web.