This patient support community is for discussions relating to teen health, including abuse, acne and skin, alcohol and drugs, ADD/ADHD, exercise, growth disorders, infectious diseases, learning disorders, nutrition, piercings and tattoos, teen pregnancy, relationships, safe sex, sports injuries, STDs, vaccines, and weight loss.
Think of your skin as a large piece of elastic. That elastic stretches and shrinks as other parts of your body do the same. This stretching and shrinking of the dermis (skin) occurs during teen growth spurts, weight gain, and even weight loss. It happens during pregnancy and can happen as a result of lifting weights. Ultimately, this stretching and shrinking happens to everyone, and almost everyone will get stretch marks as a result of hormonal changes and aging.
Too much of this elastic-like shifting causes a breakdown in collagen (the main component of skin) and Elastin (the elastic fibers in skin). Both Elastin and Collagen are needed to keep your skin taut. Tearing of the dermis occurs when these two important components are overwhelmed by all the stretching and shrinking; and as result, stretch marks form. You now know that these marks will eventually come so now it is time to educate yourself on what you can do to prevent them. If you already have stretch marks (Striae), you can take the same measures to help prevent further damage to your skin.
First, a healthy diet needs to be maintained. Do not overeat. Make sure that your daily intake includes protein-rich foods (such as eggs, tofu, and beans). Eat foods that are a good source of vitamins A and C (carrots, milk, oranges, and leafy greens). Both of these vitamins are needed for the repair of skin tissue and for the formation of Collagen. Also include plenty of Zinc (which can be found in nuts, lean meats, and fish) and keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you don't like certain foods, or if you just don't have the time to create ideal meals every day, purchase supplements.
A second ideal stretch mark prevention technique is to exercise. Try to aim for thirty minutes; three to five days a week. If that isn't realistic for you because you have a busy schedule, aim for just ten minutes a day. Everyone can find a spare ten minutes. It can even be done while watching the news at night. You don't have to spend a lot of money at a gym or purchase expensive equipment to maintain a healthy body. But do take care to research your choice of exercise. Burning calories will help you lose weight, and you know what weight loss can cause! A good option is to choose an exercise/exercise method that will burn calories while toning your muscles at the same time. An example of this would be aerobics. Remember that exercising will boost your self esteem, give you a healthy heart, and prevent stretch marks. And if you already have stretch marks, exercise can reduce the ones you have while preventing more.
The third preventative measure is to go out and get yourself a good, proven anti-striae cream, also known as a stretch mark cream; and use it as directed. You may find it to be a good alternative if you just don't have the time for dieting and exercise. You may find it beneficial to use a cream in conjunction with diet and exercise. There are numerous anti-aging/anti-wrinkle creams out there that are proven to work. Do some research and you will find that there are also creams that are proven to prevent stretch marks. As the case with exercise, if you already have stretch marks, there are creams that can reduce what you already have and prevent future 'outbreaks'.
Again, prevention is the key (even if you already have stretch marks). All of the above are logical and cost effective methods of prevention. Help yourself now, before it is too late. And help yourself get rid of what you already have. Keep it from getting so bad that starts to affect your self esteem. Don't let it get to the point where you even have to think of more costly measures (such as cosmetic surgery). Help yourself and help loved ones. Educate them these simple and cheap preventative measures that can be taken.