When people think about stretch marks, pregnancy, weight gain, bodybuilding, and puberty usually come to mind because these are all times when the body changes shape rapidly. When the shape of your body changes rapidly, stretch marks can form. However, while these changes can contribute to your likelihood of developing stretch marks, the actual cause of stretch marks is brittle skin that is prone to tearing when stretched. Hormones, aging, and sun damage can all contribute to skin becoming more brittle. These factors all reduce the amount of collagen in your skin.
Collagen is a protein produced naturally by the body that helps keep skin soft, healthy, and flexible. It works to regenerate new skin when skin is damaged and makes it less likely for skin damage to be permanent. However, as we get older our body produces collagen in lesser amounts. This is a prime cause of wrinkles, but it can also make you more likely to develop stretch marks when your body changes shape. Sun exposure without sunblock and hormone fluctuations caused by pregnancy can also reduce the amount of collagen your body produces.
In good news, there are several foods you can eat that will promote your body to increase collagen production.
Making sure your diet contains these collagen-boosting foods is a good way to prevent stretch marks during high-risk periods. As a bonus, they may also help reduce signs of aging.
- Lean Proteins: Tuna, Salmon, Egg Whites, and Turkey
- Citrus Fruits: Grapefruits, Oranges, Lemons, and Limes
- Berries: Blackberries, Raspberries, Cherries, and Strawberries
- Green Vegetables: Spinach, Olives, Brussel Sprouts, and Cabbage
- Orange Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Pumpkin
- Red Vegetables: Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Red Onions, and Radishes
- Soy Products: Tofu, Edamame, and Soy Milk
- Beans: Green Beans, Hummus, Black Beans, and Pinto Beans
- Nuts: Peanuts, Walnuts, and Flaxseeds
- Favorites: Garlic and Avocados
Other Ways to Prevent Stretch Marks
While making sure you’re eating plenty of collagen-boosting foods is a good way to prevent stretch marks, there are many other things you can do in conjunction with altering your diet to lower your risk.
The first is to avoid sun damage. Don’t go to the tanning bed. If you need or want to appear tanned, opt for using a sunless tanner instead—either a spray tan or sunless tanning lotion. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun, make sure to wear sunblock so you can prevent your skin from being damaged by harmful UV rays.
Another way to prevent stretch marks is through frequent application of a stretch mark prevention lotion or cream. Stretch mark prevention creams are specially formulated to make skin soft, supple, and less prone to damage when stretched, and it may help prevent developing stretch marks at high-risk times. Apply a stretch marks cream all over your body once or twice a day for the best results.