Establishing a Healthy Weight Loss Plan to Prevent Stretch Marks
Losing weight brings you one step closer to reaching your fitness goals.
Making the conscious decision to start living a healthier lifestyle is already half the battle, and you’re already starting to revel in your newfound attractiveness.
But as your body begins to shed some pounds, you notice irregular markings over your skin. And you find them on your abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs. And while they aren’t painful and harmful, they can make you feel self-conscious or embarrassed about your body.
These fine linings on your skin are called stretch marks. The indented streaks are a common skin condition, and they develop because of wide weight fluctuations over a short period.
Preventing and treating stretch marks boils down to understanding what causes stretch marks and establishing new habits when losing weight. This way, you can stay confidently beautiful and flaunt your slender body even as your skin — and weight — transitions with you.
How Does Weight Loss Contribute to Stretch Marks?
Your skin serves as your body’s first layer of protection. It is an extraordinarily multifaceted organ that delivers sensations, temperature regulation, vitamin D excretion, and more.
But your skin can also be sensitive and vulnerable to change. As your body grows or becomes leaner, it can form marks and scars. And as your body expands or shrinks, the rapid changes can leave behind stretch marks.
Losing weight can feel empowering, but the big change can make you more prone to developing stretch marks. Some of the causes of stretch marks include:
- Excess skin – Shedding off pounds is a huge confidence booster and is an achievement worth celebrating. But for those who lose a significant amount of weight may leave their body with extra skin. Often, the excess skin causes stretch marks to form, as other healthy areas of skin become weighed down. In turn, the extra weight can cause strain, leading to stretching and scarring.
- Pre-existing stretch marks – Some stretch marks are already embedded in your skin and only appear when you’ve lost weight. As you lose weight and your body shrinks, it can cause pre-existing stretch marks to move closer together, making them more apparent.
- Rapid weight loss – Stretch marks can be the result of excessive weight loss. Losing more than two pounds in a week can, for instance, lead your body to produce hormones that interrupt collagen production; low collagen and elastin weaken your skin, giving way to the unsightly marks.
- Muscle gain – Hyper-extending or working out excessively can speed up muscle mass gain. When that happens, your skin stretches to make room for bigger muscles. This makes bodybuilders, athletes, and women who have had full-term pregnancies more vulnerable to developing stretch marks.
Knowing the Signs: Do You Have Stretch Marks?
Before stretch marks emerge, your skin might appear thin or pink. You may also experience itchiness and irritation.
Stretch marks start out as wrinkly, streaky lines on your skin that can be red, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. Then, over time, they become thinner and fade to pale pink or purplish blue scar-like streaks. These marks can show up on different parts of your body, like the abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks, breasts, upper arms, and lower back.
But what are stretch marks and why do they appear on your skin?
Stretch marks appear as the result of skin stretching, so they’re a type of scar. As your tissues adapt to these stretching effects, your skin develops a mild inflammatory response. And this explains why fresh stretch marks are red.
But the redness isn’t permanent. Some wonder whether their stretch marks can be removed. The good news is that stretch marks do not require any major treatment since their appearance lessens over time. As the streaks heal, they’ll turn white and become less noticeable over time.
Confirm if the lesions on your skin are stretch marks by seeing a doctor. They will diagnose you with the condition after examining your skin and reviewing your personal history.
Stretch marks are not harmful and do not result in medical problems. They could, however, point to an underlying medical issue, typically an adrenal gland disorder, that may require treatment to reduce symptoms.
Planning Your Weight Loss Journey
Weight gain and loss are tied to the appearance of the scar. For the most part, this is something you can control, making it a viable stretch mark removal treatment. A good starting point would be to plan your weight loss journey; drink more water, eat a balanced diet to ensure scar-free skin.
Here’s a quick guide:
Aim for a steady pace. Your skin loses elasticity during periods of weight loss. And shedding pounds too quickly can exert excessive force on your skin, leading to the loss of collagen/elastin fibers. On top of that, workout plans that are unsustainable over the long-term usually lead to rapid weight loss. So a recommended stretch mark solution would be to lose weight at a consistent pace rather than all at once.
Eat food that encourages collagen production. Collagen is a protein in your body that heals damaged skin and keeps your skin soft and flexible. Follow a diet that encourages collagen production to make you less prone to developing stretch marks. Some low-fat food items to include in your diet are fish, red and green veggies, citrus fruits, nuts, and avocados to make your skin healthy and elastic.
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids keeps your skin supple and well-hydrated. Moreover, increasing your water intake makes your skin healthier and stretch marks harder to form.
Use moisturizers that effectively prevent stretch marks. If water keeps your skin hydrated from the inside out, moisturizers keep your skin hydrated from the outside in. For optimum effect, choose non-greasy, retinoid-, paraben-, and phthalate free-moisturizers formulated with effective ingredients to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Take a look at before and after photos and read product reviews before buying a product.
Rejuvenate your skin with essential oils. Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. Depending on the type of essential oil you apply to your skin, they can help nourish your skin and make your stretch marks look less visible. Argan oil can help improve skin elasticity, pomegranate oil enhances skin thickness and hydration, while gotu kola increases collagen production and improves your skin’s tensile strength.
Stretch marks can be a frustrating side-effect of losing weight. But keep in mind that these marks do not cause medical harm. Weight loss has several benefits, and you can speak to your doctor about how to establish slow and steady weight loss patterns.
Stretch marks will never disappear completely. Accepting this is an important part of your weight loss journey; this type of scar represents a critical point your life which inspired you to pursue a healthier lifestyle. In turn, this had a significant impact on your physical and mental wellness. So it helps to treat them like a “personal tattoo.”
But as time passes, these scars will begin to fade and you’ll start to feel more confident in your own skin again.
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