Stretch marks are caused when your body grows faster than your skin can support. When your skin can no longer support your body’s growth, it tears and scars, causing the unsightly red or white lines we refer to as stretch marks. But a sudden growth of the body does not necessarily mean that you will develop stretch marks. There are several easy things you can do when at risk for stretch mark development to strengthen your skin and prevent it from tearing.
Eat the Right Foods
Individuals at high risk for stretch mark development—pregnant women, adolescents, body builders, and people starting a new diet—can help prevent their likelihood of developing stretch marks by eating foods that strengthen skin and promote skin elasticity.
Collagen is a protein produced naturally in the body that gives skin its strength and structure. For example, the declining production of collagen in the body as a person gets older is one cause of wrinkles. Eating foods rich in collagen can support your body’s production of the protein and prevent stretch marks by providing the elasticity your skin needs in order to stretch without tearing.
To encourage the formation of collagen in your body, you’ll want to make sure that your diet consists of foods that are rich in amino acids. Meat, tofu, eggs, berries, cherries, oranges, cabbage, peppers, and broccoli all promote collagen development and, when eaten regularly, can help prevent stretch marks.
UV rays can reduce the amount of collagen your body produces, so it’s important to stay out of the sun during times when you’re at high risk for stretch mark development. If you need to be outdoors, make sure to apply sunblock with UV protection.
This is not to say that you can’t have any sweets while you’re trying to avoid developing stretch marks; you should just make sure not to eat too many sweets. If your diet is high in sugar, you run the risk of the sugar in your blood attaching to the proteins in your body and damaging them, leaving your skin brittle and increasing your likelihood of developing stretch marks.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water keeps your skin hydrated, so making sure to drink plenty of water is an easy way to prevent stretch marks. Make sure you are drinking the recommended 64 ounces (2 liters) of water every day while you’re at risk for developing stretch marks in order to keep your skin hydrated and supple.
Use a Stretch Mark Prevention Cream or Lotion Daily
Stretch mark lotions and creams are specially formulated to strengthen your skin, keep your skin hydrated, and give it the elasticity it needs to prevent stretch marks. While it’s best to follow all of these guidelines for stretch mark prevention, if you can only do one, using a stretch mark cream daily may be the most effective.