Stretch marks are another annoying and infamous skin condition we have to face. Men and women both experience stretch marks. There are many causes for stretch marks, including:
- Putting on weight
- Losing weight
- Going through puberty
- Growing a bit too fast
Understanding how they are caused is the first step in trying to avoid them.
WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS?
Stretch marks form in the middle layer of our skin and are often misunderstood. Contrary to popular belief, stretch marks don’t actually have much to do with the skin being stretched. No one knows what causes them (yet) or why some people get stretch marks, while others don't.
One good thing to know about stretch marks is that they won’t negatively affect your health in any way.
WHAT CAUSES STRETCH MARKS?
Stretch marks don’t just appear overnight. They appear gradually, due mostly to hormonal changes in the body or after rapid weight gain or loss.
When there is a disruption to the collagen production under your skin or when your body is producing extra cortisone, stretch marks will begin to become noticeable.
All shapes and sizes of women, men and teenagers can get stretch marks. Pregnant women, teenagers going through puberty and even some bodybuilders who rapidly increase the size of their muscles, can experience stretch marks.
Excessive stretch marks on the body can also sometimes indicate an underlying issue. This can be due to a number of factors or disorders, including:
- Taking oral corticosteroids
- An adrenal gland disease
- Cushing's disease
Stretch marks are also hereditary. If your parents or older relatives have had stretch marks, you are unfortunately more likely to experience them as well.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING AND REDUCING THE APPEARANCE OF STRETCH MARKS.
If you are a teenager, generally most stretch marks that appear should fade slowly over time. For adults, it's a different matter. Stretch marks can also gradually fade but it is highly unlikely that that will vanish completely.
Like most things, prevention is the key. The most effective way to avoid stretch marks is to avoid rapid weight gain or loss. If you begin to notice some stretch marks appearing, however, it's best to act as soon as possible. The faster you address the problem, the easier it will be to get rid of them. Use Nivea’s 4 in 1 Firming Body Oil to visibly reduce the appearance of stretch marks and even skin tone. The 4 in 1 Firming Body Oil is free from Vitamin A, making it suitable for use throughout pregnancy.
Other factors, like certain foods and exercises, can also help reduce the likelihood of stretch marks appearing.
FOOD FOR OUR SKIN
Eating foods that are rich in Vitamin E and C, zinc and silica, help to form collagen which helps to maintain the elasticity and strength of your skin.
Vitamin C in particular is an important antioxidant that helps protect tissue from being damaged. Foods such as kale and other leafy greens, fish, avocado, berries and many other vegetables, can help to maintain healthy, glowing skin.
Keeping hydrated is also essential for maintaining the strength and renewable properties of your skin.
EXERCISES FOR STRETCH MARK PRONE AREAS
Doing exercises that help to strengthen and tone the muscles and skin around problem areas is another great way to avoid stretch marks.
1. T PUSHUPS (TONING YOUR CHEST AND CORE)
This exercise strengthens your chest and core muscles and helps to tone and tighten the skin on your chest:
- Begin slowly in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders
- Hold a few seconds in a plank position
- Twist your torso towards the ceiling and raise your hand above your head
- Your ankles will naturally roll over to stack on top of one another
- Hold for a few seconds and roll back down to plank position
- Complete 2 sets of 15 repetitions on each side
2. LATERAL LEG CIRCLES (TONING YOUR HIPS AND THIGHS)
This exercise helps to strengthen and tone your leg muscles.
- Kneel on a mat with your left knee against a balance ball and extend your right leg out to the side
- Lift your right leg straight out and slowly make small circle movements trying to keep your hips as still as possible
- Complete a total of 10 circles going forward, and then 10 circles going backwards
- After 20 repetitions on the right leg, switch the legs
3. SINGLE – LEG PELVIC THRUST (TONING YOUR BUTTOCKS AND GLUT MUSCLES)
This exercise to tone and strengthen your buttocks and the surrounding areas.
- Lie on your back on a mat and bend your knees at 90 degrees with your feet on the floor
- Extend your right leg about 4 inches off the floor and flex your foot straight
- Lift your hips, while keeping your upper back on the floor
- Hold for 3 seconds, then lower hips
- Repeat for 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each side
- Exercise also improves circulation, which will help to keep the skin more elastic and stronger as we grow.
While exercising can help to firm and tone your skin, there are also some skincare products to help you maintain the moisture and suppleness of your skin. Moisturising every day with NIVEA Q10 Firming Body Lotion has been proven to firm and tighten skin within two weeks. It is enriched with CoEnzyme Q10 to actively revive and strengthen your skin’s ability to remain toned and supple.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use.