Skin care specialist Tina Richards is a leading expert on natural anti-ageing treatments. Here she explains how to reduce stretch marks naturally.
Many of us are prone to stretch marks at some stage of our lives. They can first appear during our teens due to weight gain and hormonal changes. In pregnancy stretch marks tend to be more pronounced caused by the stretching of the skin over a fast growing abdomen but hormonal changes, hereditary and weight gain also play a part as does, very importantly, the condition of your skin.
Stretch marks are not exclusive to women, men can get them too although usually they are less visible. Stretch marks can also appear later in life particularly if your weight fluctuates.
In the Western world we have a habit of viewing stretch marks as unsightly blemishes. I guess this is because they can make your skin appear more aged, saggy and uneven. This can unfortunately damage body confidence.
If you have stretch marks and want to reduce their appearance then my latest video was made just for you.
In the video I discuss what you can do at home to improve the look of your stretch marks and to help your skin bounce back to a more healthy looking state.
But right now I want to explain a little more about what causes stretch marks because by understanding how they form you will be better prepared to prevent them and to treat those that are already visible.
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched further than it can cope with causing tears in the dermis (where collagen and elastin reside) and this causes scarring. Skin stretching can be caused by pregnancy, weight gain, growth spurts and health conditions. In women you will most commonly find stretch marks on the abdomen, hips and breasts. As mentioned above it appears that hormonal changes can contribute to this scar formation.
New stretch marks usually appear purple or reddish in colour, particularly when related to pregnancy. They gradually fade to become silver-white, which are more visible the darker your surrounding skin is. They feel wrinkly to the touch. More often than not stretch marks will remain visible without any treatment. This is because essentially they are permanent scars.
Because stretch marks are primarily caused by skin stretching the health and condition of your skin is paramount to preventing their appearance.
There are preventative measures that you can take to minimise the likelihood of getting stretch marks. And the same steps will also help to reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks.
Firstly, ensure that your skin is well hydrated by moisturising regularly. This will help your skin to be elastic and more pliable to stretch. Use body lotions/creams/oils that contain shea butter, cocoa butter , coconut oil or argan oil and take a few minutes to really massage into the skin. You can use your Tua Spa ultrasonic program (slow mode) to micro-massage the cream more deeply into your skin. And remember to hydrate from within too by eating plenty of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, which contain bio-available water for our skin cells, and drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water a day.
I highly recommend including essential fatty acids in your daily diet. Foods including unsalted raw nuts, ground seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and oily fish moisturise and nourish your skin from within which gives your skin more elasticity and resiliency to bounce back after being stretched. This is so important for prevention as well as treatment of your skin. If you want dewy, soft, plump and elastic skin include foods rich in essential fatty acids in your meals every day.
Remember decreased skin elasticity will increase your chances of stretch marks occurring.
It is important to start treating stretch marks as soon as you notice them. You want the regenerative process to start while the stretch mark is still in the purple/reddish phase.
Vitamins E and C (important for collagen synthesis) and the mineral zinc will help assist with skin healing. Nuts and seeds are very good sources of vitamin E and zinc and avocados are rich in vitamin E. Berries, cherries and citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C. Beta carotene (vitamin A) from orange and green leafy vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, squash) is essential for skin regeneration as is copper found in sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts.
In the video I show you how you can also apply vitamin E topically to the surface of your skin. Regular applications of vitamin E to your stretch marks, particularly during the purple/reddish phase, will significantly help to repair your skin.
For existing stretch marks you don’t have to use a specific ‘stretch mark treatment cream’. Instead look out for serums/lotions/creams that contain retinol or retinol palmitate (at least half way up the ingredients list or higher) and apply morning and evening to your stretch marks.
Remember that applying retinol can make your skin more sun sensitive so if you are exposing part of your body to the sun it is very important to wear a good broad spectrum sunscreen (which you should be doing anyway).Suntegrity Body SPF30 is perfect for everyday use and will protect your skin from the sun and supply much needed anti-oxidants to your skin for repair.
I hope you enjoy the video and please post any comments or questions you have below the video on YouTube so we can all share in the information.
To a more youthful you.