Stretch marks are scientifically known as are a form of scarring. They usually rear their ugly heads during puberty, or as the result of excessive weight gain, such as during pregnancy. Even people who engage in body building can get stretch marks.
Stretch marks are the result of skin being stretched beyond its natural elasticity. This stretching causes a disruption of the body's collagen production. Collagen is a special protein that helps keep the skin elastic and, therefore, able to stretch when we gain weight. When this collagen production is disrupted, however, the skin loses its elasticity, which makes it more prone to stretch marks.
When you get a stretch mark, you know it. They are usually found in a series as small, indented streaks. They are generally rough and uneven. In women with light skin, they are usually a pink or reddish-brown color. They might sometimes almost look purple. For darker skinned women, stretch marks are usually brown.
Genetics plays a larger role in whether or not a woman will develop stretch marks. So, if a woman's family member, particularly her mom or her sister, has stretch marks, she is more likely to get them as well.
To help avoid getting stretch marks, it is important to monitor weight gain closely. Pregnant women need to put on weight as a natural part of the childbearing process. They should, however, be careful to not gain more weight than what is recommended by the doctor. Pregnant woman should not, of course, starve themselves in order to avoid stretch marks. They should, however, take care to watch their diets and put pregnancy weight on slowly. This gives the skin more time to gradually stretch to accommodate for the growing baby inside.
The last trimester of a pregnancy is when women generally put on the most weight. This is because this is when the baby is doing most of its growing. To help avoid stretch marks during this time of the pregnancy, and at any other time, be sure to regularly apply lotion to the skin. Make sure to consult with a doctor, first, however, because some lotions can be harmful to unborn babies.
Lotion helps decrease the likelihood of developing stretch marks because it helps keep the skin flexible. Likewise, drinking plenty of fluids helps maintain the skin's elasticity. Therefore, a pregnant woman should be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
Fortunately, stretch marks generally fade after weight is lost. For women who gain stretch marks during pregnancy, stretch marks usually fade to a slightly lighter color than the surrounding skin, though the etching will always remain.
For women who are bodybuilders, it is important to put on muscle mass slowly. Quickly adding on muscle mass will force the skin to stretch beyond its ability. Therefore, a bodybuilding program should be designed to slowly add on bulk.
For women who are not pregnant and who are not bodybuilders, the best way to avoid stretch marks is to simply monitor your diet and maintain a healthy body weight. Drinking plenty of water is still recommended, as they helps keep the skin more pliable.
Through precautions and a healthy lifestyle, women can avoid getting stretch marks. Some of life's big life-changes, such as puberty and childbirth, however, can make avoiding stretch marks nearly impossible. Therefore, it's important to apply lotions and drink plenty of fluids to keep the skin elastic and, if all else fails, cover up those stretch marks and chalk it up as just another part of being a woman.