Its just so wrong! You do all the right things, eat all the right stuff, really work hard to lose those 10 or 15 pounds. Looking good right? And then Shazamm!! You have been blindsided with a whole new problem: stretch marks from losing all that weight.
Not to mention the stretchy, sagging, crepey skin that typically accompanies excessive and yo yo dieting.
Stretching skin is serious stuff and effects women and men around the world. Pregnancy and puberty are also big culprits for bringing on stretchmarks. And here’s an interesting factoid: 80% of all Americans have stretch marks. And, yes, that number includes the men too.
Two Questions You Might be Thinking,
1. How did I get stretch marks from losing weight in the first place?, and
2. Moving forward, how can I prevent stretch marks AFTER weight loss?
In this article, I will answer these questions and more. We will discuss the background and biology of what causes stretch marks and then spell out 5 strategies that work to help prevent them.
As many of you know I am a seasoned veteran in this category called weight loss and aging skin (including lines, wrinkles and crepey skin) and finding solutions for them. Which is why I am writing this blog. For you, for me, for all of us.
So, with all that said, let’s get busy and start off with a little background: Stretch Marks 101.
We all know about pregnancy induced stretch marks on the stomach and the breasts. Most women are blessed with these stripes during and or after pregnancy.
However, stretch marks after weight loss can appear on anyone and just about anywhere : on the derriere, on the inner thighs and calves, on the hips and even in the bicep area. The fact is, stretch marks can happen any time when we go through a cycle (or cycles) of weight gain and loss.
Next, how does this stretching skin happen?
Time for a little Skin and Stretchmark Biology.
Stretch marks are little tears in the skin caused because the body is growing faster than the skin can accommodate.
Your skin is the largest organ (yes, it is an organ believe it or not) of our body. And it is unique because it is the only one actually visible, and exposed, to the outside world.
Of course, that is because one of the skin’s purposes is to actually cover, encase and hold everyting insdie. And by doing so, the skin protects the sensitive inner elements of the body- heart, liver, bones, intentines, muscles, blood vessels and such. So it is perfectly designed to do just that. It grows in size to encompass everything, including the fat and muscle of the body. And since ‘we are what we eat’, the more we eat, the more the skin has to adapt and grow and stretch to cover it up.
And so it does. Now if we gain weight over a long period of time, the skin adapts to the weight gain and creates a smooth surface perfectly adapted to the interior fat. Which is why so many zophitc (zaftig) gals who have never lost lots of weight have beautiful smooth skin that shows no sign of ‘stretching’.
Now that’s not true if we gain weight quickly – like in pregnancy. or excessive long term binge eating. The skin is hard pressed to keep up with pregnancy and yo yo dieting induced weight gain.
In both cases, losing weight – whether after pregnancy or due to a diet program – can causes an obvious potential problem: we may shrink the interior of the body faster than the skin can adapt. And viola? Sretch marks!
So, What the heck can we do about stretch marks…?
The truth is there is no magic solution but there absolutely are things you can and should do to help keep stretch marks at bay.
Which leads us to the 5 Strategies to prevent stretch marks from weight loss!
1. Don’t lose weight too fast. The more slowly and steadily you lose that extra weight, the less damage weight loss will cause.
You probably know that a pound of fat is equal to about 3,500 calories. So to lose 10 pounds of fat, we need to cut back by 35,000 calories over time. We could try to do that in a few weeks or we could take our time, say a few months. The good news – taking the long route means that a few simple substitutions in the diet (plus exercise, for sure) will get us there just as surely, with much better skin results, and less risk of a yoyo effect which will just put the weight back on again.
If this is important to you, check out point number 4. I go through the best foods to eat for weight loss which can help to minimize if not prevent stretch marks after weight loss as well as the best foods to eat to maintain healthy beautiful skin.
2. Moisturize and massage your skin every day with nourishing essential oils. One of the best is Rose hip Oil because it absorbs deeply into the skin with a non-greasy and deeply moisturizing effect. Rosehip seed oil is loaded with anti-oxidants and good fats the skin loves. Other good choices are Sage and Frankincense. You can order most of these oils from Amazon and make your own custom blend!
is another terrific oil to use on stretch marks and always gets some glowing reviews. You can spend days reading about it and all its health and skin benefits. Just know this - Grape seed oil is safe for you to use during pregnancy to help keep skin soft and supple (the better to stretch with my dear) and after pregnancy to help minimize any stretch marks that may have occurred while carrying.
3. Say YES to Glycolic Acids! This is an alpha-hydroxy derived from sugar cane which can over time minimize the appearance of stretch marks through ambitious exfoliation. Glycolic acids can also improve the elasticity of the skin. It can do this by causing an assault on the skin which in term may trigger collagen production as a way to protect the body. Use a quality product and one with 10% glycolic acid for at home treatment. This percentage is deemed safe from the FDA and a high enough concentration of glycolic acid to make a difference.
One I recommend is ReNuture Body FX. You can order it here.
4. Hydration and proper nutrition are also essential for keeping maximum elasticity in the skin so it can respond smoothly as your weight drops. First and foremost, drink water! Your skin is 66% water so please drink up!
Eat water dense fruits and veggies like cucumber, watermelon, peaches and lettuce, which are all, by the way, over 90% water content.
Add to the water a healthy collection of collagen boosting foods to support skin health and beauty, including protein, healthy fats, plenty of colorful veggies like red and yellow peppers, anti-oxidant rich raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, dark cocoa and more.
If you are really serious about having beautiful skin and preventing stretch marks after weight loss, eat collagen protein/gelatin. Not only is gelatin the best weight loss food there is but it also contains the necessary amino acids to to trigger collagen synthesis. And collagen protein supports and enhances skin elasticity. Which MAY even help to give back some bounce to the stretch marks themselves
5. Corrective Beauty Treatments. Look for over the counter cosmetics that contain Vitamin E and Hyaluronic Acid. There are plenty to be found on Amazon. Studies have shown these can reduce the appearance of the lines (striae) associated with stretch marks.
When you need a quick fix, consider a temporary lifting and firming treatment like ReNuture About Face, a light weight serum that almost instantly lifts, firms and erases skin concerns until you wash it off. Even stretch marks.
Combating those stretch marks while losing weight is something you can do and must do to get the best results and satisfaction from your good behavior.
Use all those tools and techniques and do let me know – whats working for you?
Until Next Time,
Growing Younger Everyday