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Preventing & Minimising Stretch Marks

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 23 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Stretch Marks; Skin; Weight Gain; Weight

Some doctors believe that stretch marks are inevitable in some women, this may be due to their genetics or the type of skin they have, but most agree there are measures that can be taken to minimise their effect.

Why Do Stretch Marks Happen?

The skin is made up of layers, it is not just the surface that is on the outside that we can see; it is also a living organ that is constantly shedding and renewing cells every day.

The lower layer of skin contains substances called elastin and collagen which are responsible for providing skin its elasticity and suppleness.

When the skin is subjected to changes that occur very quickly, these substances do not have adequate time to deal with these changes so the skin becomes damaged resulting in the area becoming thin and the fibres of these substances can break. This causes the area to become red which fades to a silvery appearance and the skin can look more transparent.

Who Is at Risk of Stretch Marks?

The people most at risk of stretch marks are pregnant women, those who yo-yo diet or lose or gain a lot of weight very quickly and body builders who develop muscle mass very quickly.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks.

The best way of preventing stretch marks is to avoid gaining weight rapidly. This can be achieved by maintaining a healthy weight for your frame or by building muscle mass slowly. Many body builders find that they develop stretch marks when they train very quickly very hard. Although it can be extremely beneficial to health in many ways to build muscle mass, it should be done gradually increasing the weights slowly and doing resistance exercises regularly.

The same principle applies to weight loss. Rapid weight loss can cause the skin to have to shrink quickly to fit your decreasing frame. While there is no argument about the benefits most of us could gain from losing a bit of weight, it should also be done slowly to allow the skin time to shape nicely to your smaller body.

Losing a few pounds a week will stay off longer and cause less side-effects that aiming for high results very quickly.

Minimising Stretch Marks.

If stretch marks are in your family and therefore your genetic make-up, there may be no way of minimising them to much effect, but for others the regular use of moisturisers, particularly those containing vitamin E may help the skin to stay more supply and manage any changes in size better.

For those who have got stretch marks the use of lasers may help to minimise them but this is not so effective on stretch marks that are well established.

Some surgical procedures such as tummy tucks can help to remove the stretch marks, but this is fairly major surgery and will not prevent further stretch marks in the future.This type of surgery is used more frequently on those who have lost an extreme amount of weight and the skin appears to hang from the body.

For most people stretch can occur despite your best efforts to minimise them. They are especially common in women as pregnancy is the leading cause of stretch marks occurring.

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