Why would stretch marks from weight loss bother you?
Stretch marks are common in both women and men, and there is a plethora of reasons why they appear on your body. In fact, stretch marks, or striae distensae, are not a kind of a skin disease or a symptom of any disorder. Usually, they do not reflect your health but can cause you discomfort. Indeed, stretch marks can make you feel self-conscious and insecure, as these are often perceived as “not attractive.” Above all, you should remain body positive and love yourself the way you are, even when you are on a grand body transformation journey. There are several ways to prevent and treat striae distensae, and you are free to choose the best one for you.
What are stretch marks from weight loss?
Stretch marks are long and thin lines on the skin, which usually have a purplish color. These are rather common in women but also occur in men, usually as a result of rapid weight loss. To be more precise, gaining weight is often the primary cause of the so-called weight loss stretch marks. Your skin stretches as you are putting on but the stretch marks are usually not visible at this stage. Only after you shed some pounds, you start seeing them (6).
- Family history of stretch marks
- Cushing’s syndrome, caused by the excess of the cortisol hormone in the body
- Marfan syndrome, a hereditary disease characterized by the disorder in the connective tissues
Where do stretch marks from weight loss typically appear?
Stretch marks can appear anywhere where fat is stored. These areas include (5):
How to prevent weight-loss stretch marks?
Stretch marks are not an inescapable doom, and there are various ways you can avoid them. One of the simplest ways to prevent stretch marks from weight loss is to regulate your nutrition, adding certain foods to your meal plan or cutting back on particular products. You should eat more protein, which is abundant in lean meat, seafood, nuts, and legumes. Vitamin C is also an important part of the collagen-making process, so make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Eating these will boost the production of collagen in your body, making your skin healthier and more elastic (3).
Water also plays a key role in preventing stretch marks, keeping your skin hydrated. You should make sure that you drink about eight glasses of water daily to maintain your skin health (3).
Sugar is what you are recommended to eliminate from your diet to prevent stretch marks. Excessive sugar consumption can damage collagen in your body, which can facilitate the occurrence of stretch marks. Accordingly, if you are at risk of having stretch marks, make sure you limit added sugar (3).
Before a Diet
As weight loss is the primary reason why stretch marks occur, it is crucial to follow particular recommendations prior to a diet.
First, you need to lose weight incrementally, without rush. Losing weight gradually has numerous benefits for your wellbeing, among which is keeping off the stretch marks (4). Normally, it is recommended that you lose no more than 1 pound per week (10).
Anti Stretch Marks Products
Products that contain centella or hyaluronic acid are said to be good at preventing stretch marks (7). These products are usually moisturizing creams aimed towards treating skin lesions and preventing the skin from dryness. Hyaluronic acid boosts the production of collagen and facilitates the fibroblast activity (9). You might want to seek these ingredients in skin creams, lotions, etc. to cease the formation of stretch marks.
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How to treat weight-loss stretch marks?
Abdominoplasty, also known as the tummy tuck, is a type of surgery when the excess skin is removed from your abdomen. The abdomen is the only area that can undergo the stretch-mark surgery. It is not recommended to remove stretch marks from other parts of the body (8).
Abdominoplasty can involve various risks, which is why not every person can undergo it. For instance, the surgery can lead to scars, which often look even worse than stretch marks. Another problem you might face is post-anesthesia complications. In addition, there is a risk of post-surgery skin necrosis and infections (8).
Microdermabrasion is the process of removing dead skin cells (exfoliation). This procedure is said to improve the overall skin health, at the same time treating stretch marks. This is a rather pricey cosmetic procedure, one session of which will not suffice. You will need several sessions to see any positive effect (8).
Laser is a device that emits light at a single wavelength. This technique is actively used in medicine and cosmetology, being able to remove skin lesions, body hair, warts, etc. In the case of stretch marks, laser effectively reduces redness and inflammation. For the stretch marks that are already white, there is a special type of laser therapy. As a result of this therapy, your stretch marks are bound to subside (2).
Chemical Peels and Creams
While many of those who do chemical peels hail the effectiveness of the procedure in removing stretch marks, it is hardly true. Phenol-based chemical peels are capable of going deep into the dermis but not as deep as to treat stretch marks. Nevertheless, these peels can make the stripes less visible, but the improvement is not as drastic as you would expect. It would be more helpful to use creams and lotions against stretch marks, the regular usage of which can eventually give you the desired result (1).
Goodbye stretch marks: Takeaways
Stretch marks are not a health problem you necessarily have to get rid of. For some, though, they are unattractive, which might cause one to feel self-conscious and insecure. There are multiple methods to prevent and treat striae distensae, some of which might be more or less helpful than others. In any case, stretch marks are not a severe skin condition, meaning you can either deal with them or not.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Chemical Peels (n.d., stretchmarks.org)
- Laser Stretch Mark Removal (n.d., stretchmarks.org)
- Prevent Stretch Marks Naturally by Eating the Right Foods (2019, stretchmarks.org)
- Preventing Stretch Marks When Starting a New Diet (2019, stretchmarks.org)
- Stretch marks (2019, nhs.uk)
- Stretch marks (n.d., nidirect.gov.uk)
- Stretch Marks: Why They Appear And How To Get Rid Of Them (n.d., aad.org)
- Surgery (n.d., stretchmarks.org)
- Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight loss: 6 strategies for success (2019, mayoclinic.org)