Tips for Preventing Stretch Marks

Before going deep into the discussion about their prevention, let us first see what stretch marks are. Do you remember any injury that you might have sustained during childhood or later, and then the scar that appeared while the wound was healing? Those scars later caused stretch marks – well, this is one of the reasons.

What Causes a Stretch Mark to Develop?

When our skin undergoes abrupt changes like stretching or shrinking, they develop marks similar to scars that we call stretch marks.  Stretch marks are also called striae gravidarum and look like indented streaks on this skin.

The skin comprises proteins like collagen and elastin, which provide continuous support to our skin. Elastin helps determine its flexibility, while collagen allows our skin to grow appropriately and replace worn-out skin.

So, the abrupt stretching or shrinking of skin increases stresses on these proteins beyond capacity. This leads to rupturing of elastin and collagen, causing stretch marks on areas like the stomach, buttocks, chest, or thighs. However, not everyone is prone to get stretch marks. Hormone fluctuation and genetic predisposition are seen to be common risk factors. 

Stretch marks are common during pregnancy, rapid weight loss, or weight training when your body encounter accelerated muscle growth. Excessive and prolonged use of corticosteroids on the skin is also one of the causes. Some diseases like Cushing’s or Marfan syndrome can cause similar skin conditions.

The worst thing about stretch marks is that they are permanent. To date, there is no remedy or cure proven to have shown 100 percent results. Some treatments can make them less noticeable, but there is nothing yet proven to vanish them. Many creams and ointments have been launched, claiming to be the ultimate cure, but researchers have denied them all. 

People have been trying home remedies for ages. Medications and dermatological procedures are used to alleviate but not cure the problem. Hence, it is better to prevent rather than to treat.

Tips for Preventing Stretch Marks

During Pregnancy


Women are likely to get stretch marks during pregnancy. Why is this so? Because during pregnancy your skin undergoes stretching and that too a lot. The abrupt and continuous stretching of the skin causes the indentations to appear. 

So, what are the steps you should take to avoid or at least minimize the risk of scar formation? A brief guide is discussed below that may help reduce the risk:

Stay Hydrated


Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking enough water helps nourish your skin and keeps it hydrated. Hydrated and well-moisturized skin tends to be at a lower risk of developing stretch marks than dull and dry skin. The Institute of Medicine’s current recommendation for water intake is around 72 ounces for women. 

Avoid Caffeine


Drinking beverages like coffee or tea may make an individual prone to developing stretch marks. Though they don’t cause extreme dehydration but have a mild diuretic effect. Having a diuretic effect means they increase the urge to urinate. So, it may lead to fluid depletion if taken in excessive amounts. 

If you like coffee, you should monitor and regulate fluid loss by taking enough water and electrolytes into the diet. 

Control Your Weight


This is something very important whether you are pregnant or not. But during pregnancy, your skin is already experiencing so many changes, so you should take care not to let it stretch more than required. 

Have a Nutrient-Rich Diet


You need to be conscious about your skin health. Being selective and caring about what to eat is not wrong at all. You should go for the foods packed with good nutrients. Don’t forget to include vitamin C, E, D, zinc, and proteins in your diet. Choose unprocessed foods over packed or canned ones. Take healthy and unprocessed meals throughout the day, and avoid junk! Try to add more raw veggies and fruits to your diet. 

One of the most important vitamins is vitamin C. It is an important stimulator of collagen development. Collage helps support the skin and keeps it healthy and growing. It will act as a shield and protect against the development of stretch marks. Thus, to prevent the development of stretch marks on your body, you got to be very keen on selecting good food. Foods like oranges and lemons are packed with the goodness of vitamin C.

Studies favor the fact that adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for keeping your skin well-nourished. Thus, preventing the development of stretch marks on the body. The common and easiest way of soaking vitamin D in your body is through sunlight exposure. Some foods like yogurt, mil, or break also contain vitamin D. 

Zinc is another important nutrient that helps in wound healing by reducing inflammation. Foods like fish and nuts are enriched with zinc, and having them in your diet keeps your skin healthier.

During Weight Loss

As already mentioned, not everybody is likely to develop stretch marks. Some are at a higher risk than others. Those at a higher risk should take even more care, especially when they are trying to lose weight. 

When you lose weight abruptly, you are likely to get stretch marks in areas that were previously very fatty. To avoid this, you should follow some simple steps:

1. Incorporate Exercise and Stretching In Your Routine


When your target is big, you should work big too. Don’t be entirely dependent on your diet – include exercise and stretching in your routine as well. You might be wondering why? Let us clear all doubts before proceeding further. Exercise is the physical activity that helps tone your body. Cutting off carbs alone will help you shred a lot of weight, but it is not sufficient to tone your body. 

Including a cardio workout of about 15 to 20 minutes daily helps improve circulation and maintain skin elasticity. It also tightens and tones the skin. Thus, reducing the chances of stretch marks development.

It has been found that swimming can also help prevent stretch marks development on your body.

2. Have Enough Sleep

woman sleeping

Having a good night’s sleep between 7 and 9 hours helps you keep your weight maintained. This should be kept in mind when you are determined to lose weight. Thus, you should not be merely dependent on a strict diet for losing weight. Having enough sleep also plays an important part. 

3. Don’t Starve and Take Sufficient Nutrients

lazy woman

As with pregnancy, you should monitor your nutrient intake while losing weight. Be gentle with your body, and do not let it just shrink by starving yourself. Go easy and have a well-balanced diet by keeping a check on your nutrient intake. Consuming a healthy diet slows the process, but it keeps your skin and body healthy. Therefore, healthy skin is less likely to develop stretch marks. Consider taking a diet rich in protein but include some good carbohydrates as well. 

4. Stay Hydrated and Well-Moisturized 

man drinking water

Water is miraculous in tremendous ways to your body. You should count on the water to keep your skin healthy and away from damages caused by dehydration. 

5. Use Ointments


Some creams are proven to help prevent (not cure) stretch marks. They prime the skin to stand the increasing stress and prevent stretch marks. So, anyone who is losing or gaining weight can use these creams and ointments.

6. Avoid Using Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids should only be used when other therapies are not working, especially recommended in acute conditions. Long-term use of corticosteroids is not recommended for any condition. Some people misuse corticosteroids for increasing muscle mass in a short time. Excessive and prolonged use of these drugs has a long-term negative effect on the skin, causing it to become thin. Thin skin is more prone to damage and stretch marks than normal, hydrated, and healthy skin. 

Thence, using corticosteroids should be avoided or used only on your Physician’s recommendations. 


Stretch marks can be prevented but cannot be completely cured. So, care must be taken to avoid their formation by following all the steps mentioned above. All you have to do is pamper your skin enough to make it healthy and withstand external as well as internal fluctuations with ease. 

You need to take care because stretch marks can be a reason for embarrassment for many people. Therefore, make sure to take care of your skin’s health at all costs.