They are pink, red, or purple, and you most probably dread the idea of having them. That’s right; it’s stretch marks. They can occur due to anything from pregnancy to dramatic weight fluctuations. If you have them, don’t worry. If you don’t but wish to avoid them at all cost, there is a lot you can do.
So, no matter if you want to be the next Victoria’s Secret model to walk the runway or simply wish to enjoy having a healthy skin free of indented streaks down your hips and thighs, this blog is for you. Here are 6 simple tweaks in your lifestyle that can help you effectively protect yourself from getting stretch marks.
#1 Get Vitamin D
That is not to say “spend all your free time sunbathing” because excessive sun exposure can lead to skin aging and cancer. Get your vitamin D from the sun in moderation, and always use SPF. You can also get vitamin D from supplements and fortified foods.
#2 Include Omega-3s in Your Diet
It is recommended that people take about 8 ounces of seafood per week as omega-3 is mainly found in cold-water fish. Examples include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Avoid seafood that is high in mercury. Aside from fish, you can also get your necessary omega-3 supply from vegetarian sources, such as walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds, algae, and flaxseed. The fatty acids of omega-3 will keep your skin supple.
#3 Avoid Direct Sun and Wear Sunscreen
The UV rays of the sun can damage the elastin and collagen in your skin, which increases the likelihood of getting stretch marks. It is crucial to let the sunscreen absorb in your skin for about half an hour before your exposure. Don’t forget to reapply every 2 hours. In case you have already noticed stretch marks forming on your thighs or other parts of your body, aside from sunscreen, you should also start using a stretch mark removal cream for extra skincare.
#4 Avoid Smoking
Smoking releases free radicals that can break down the elastin and collagen fibers in your skin. It can also reduce blood flow, thus depriving your skin of the oxygen it needs to regenerate. Smoking depletes other important nutrients necessary to keep you healthy.
#5 Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
There is no direct correlation between fruits and vegetables and skin repair, but it is proven that vitamins A, C, E, and zinc are vital in maintaining a healthy balance in your body. Fruits and veggies are rich in these and many other minerals, so be sure to include them in your diet.
#6 Avoid or Limit Steroid Creams for Skin Irritation
No matter if you got a rash, a bug bite, or eczema, you would most probably turn to steroid creams (or corticosteroids) to help you fight off the irritation. However, those creams usually contain cortisone which stimulates stretch mark formation as it weakens your skin’s collagen. Speak with your doctor about the creams you are prescribed!
There are many other steps you can take to prevent the occurrence of stretch marks like staying hydrated, using a moisturizer, and refraining from using anabolic steroids. You should be aware, however, that stretch marks are sometimes inevitable, especially if you have a genetic predisposition. Even then, you can still battle the outcome with specialized creams and the right diet. You got this!