How to Deal with Stretch Marks and Loose Skin
Nobody wants to have to deal with stretch marks and loose skin, but, unfortunately, this is often inevitable for many.
Because there are several different factors that can cause both stretch marks and loose skin, such as:
- Weight fluctuations
- Certain medications
- Certain health conditions, such as Marfan’s syndrome or Cushing’s syndrome
Whatever the case may be, stretch marks and loose skin often go hand in hand, and can affect just about anyone.
What can you do about this?
Here are a few tips…
Keep Weight Loss Goals Slow and Steady
For many, stretch marks and loose skin are experienced after they have rapidly lost some weight.
Why is this?
Well, it all actually begins when you first gain that excess weight…
As you gain weight, your skin stretches in order to make room for the extra fat tissue beneath, which is what leads to the stretch marks.
Then, when you start losing weight, your fat cells shrink, but your skin is still stretched out, leading to the loose skin. Even once your skin begins to shrink, it will have lost quite a bit of its elasticity due to all of the stress, making the loose skin hard to fix.
Fortunately, there is a way to avoid all of this…
The answer is to lose weight gradually, rather than rapidly.
How does this make a difference?
It helps to preserve your skin’s collagen fibers, putting far less strain on them. This then minimizes both stretch marks as well as loose skin.
Build Muscle Mass
Of course, if you have already lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, then telling you to lose weight rapidly isn’t going to be much help.
Instead, what you can do is work on building up your muscle mass.
How does this help?
Well, when you lose weight quickly, you not only end up losing fat, but also muscle mass, which increases the amount of loose skin experienced.
It goes without saying that you don’t want to increase your fat tissue yet again, so what you need to do is increase your muscle mass instead.
How can you do this?
The best way is by strength training.
These are exercises that make use of resistance to trigger your muscles to contract, which not only builds their strength, but also their size. This will then help to fill out your loose skin.
Wondering how long you need to do this for before you notice results?
It usually takes about six weeks or so for initial changes in muscle size to be seen. This may seem like a long time, but it will only take a couple of weeks for you to notice yourself getting stronger, which should give you enough motivation to keep going with the strength training.
Use Specific Ingredients to Target Stretch Marks
Have you tried several of the miracle creams out there that claim to be able to completely clear your stretch marks, only for your stretch marks to still be visible?
There is a simple explanation behind this…
It is virtually impossible for a topical product to completely fade a stretch mark. Stretch marks are a type of scar, and while there is plenty you can do to fade them to an extent, minimizing their appearance, it is unlikely that you will be able to totally get rid of them.
However, don’t let that scare you, because you can still work on fading your stretch marks enough so that they aren’t as obviously visible.
How can you fade them?
By using the right ingredients:
- Vitamin A – there are several different derivatives of vitamin A out there, and these all work to resurface and regenerate the skin. If you really want to bring about a drastic change in your stretch marks, you may need to use a retinoid, which can only be obtained via a prescription
- Hyaluronic Acid – this ingredient is a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture from the air into the skin, immediately plumping it up and making stretch marks less obvious. However, it also helps to stimulate collagen production, which will help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks in the long run
- Rosehip Seed Oil – contains high levels of fatty acids, which help to pad out the skin and minimize the appearance of stretch marks
Need an immediate fix?
Try using a self-tanning product. While these will not get rid of your stretch marks, they can sometimes camouflage them quite well.
Use Specific Ingredients to Target Loose Skin
In addition to using specific ingredients to tackle stretch marks, you should also be using others to help deal with your loose skin.
Beneficial ingredients include:
- Caffeine – tightens blood vessels and therefore the skin, but only temporarily
- Kinetin – a plant-based ingredient with tightening and antioxidant effects
- Copper peptides – heals wounds while stimulating the production of collagen
- Alpha hydroxy acids – usually used for exfoliation, AHAs help to stimulate your skin’s natural production of collagen and elastin
These ingredients can be found in a variety of different products, from serums to moisturizers to specialized treatments.
Which one should you go for?
Well, the more the better! A serum and a specialized treatment will likely penetrate into your skin much more effectively, while a moisturizer will provide your skin with those ingredients over a longer period of time.
Dry brushing is such a simple technique, and has been gaining in popularity lately.
What is dry brushing?
Exactly what it sounds like – brushing your skin with a brush while it is dry.
Of course, not any brush will do…
You need to purchase a special brush for this, paying attention to the bristle strength. For example, soft bristles are designed to be used on the more sensitive areas of skin, such as the face, neck and chest. On the other hand, firmer brushes are extremely effective on the body.
You are probably wondering…
What does this have to do with stretch marks and loose skin?
Well, dry brushing is actually a fantastic way to help minimize the appearance of stretch marks and loose skin.
It also brings with it a few other health benefits, such as:
- Stimulates the lymphatic system – this helps the body to naturally detoxify
- Exfoliates – provides a gentle exfoliation to the skin
- Reduces the appearance of cellulite – while there isn’t much research to back this up, plenty of anecdotal evidence claims this to be true
- Boosts circulation – which gives your skin a natural glow, while also keeping your energy levels high
Like the idea of dry brushing?
Once you have your brush, it is so easy to get started…
Simply follow these steps:
- Make sure that both the brush and your body are dry
- Begin by brushing your feet, using sweeping strokes towards your heart. Do this about ten times over each section of skin
- Move on to your legs, and then the palms of your hands, moving the brush in the same way
- Continue with your abdomen, back and chest
- If you want to dry brush your face too, switch to a softer face brush and use the same motions
- Once you are done, step into the shower, and then follow that up with a layer of moisturizer
Wondering why you need to brush in the direction of your heart?
Because this is what stimulates your lymphatic vessels to encourage drainage.
One more thing to keep in mind…
If you have sensitive skin on your chest, back or anywhere else on your body, make sure that you use a softer bristled brush for these areas.
Try a Chemical Peel
For those who have never heard of them before, chemical peels can seem like a frightening term, but there really is nothing to be afraid of.
A chemical peel is basically a more intense form of exfoliation. It makes use of an acidic solution, with the acids usually derived from natural sources, to burn off the top layer of your skin.
Chemical peels come in different strengths, and the one you would opt for would depend on how severe your symptoms are. The gentlest version of a chemical peel will usually make use of an alpha hydroxy acid, which, as mentioned above, is a great way to tackle stretch marks.
Of course, a chemical peel will not be a miracle cure for your stretch marks…
It will target the outermost layer of your skin, whereas stretch marks are scars that have formed in the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin.
A stronger chemical peel will be able to penetrate into the dermis, but not deeply enough to burn away your stretch marks.
Nevertheless, a chemical peel will still help to minimize their appearance, making them less obvious.
Maintain A Preventative Diet
With your skin being your largest organ, it should come as no surprise that the food that you eat has a direct impact on your skin.
Consuming certain foods will help your skin to maintain its elasticity, preventing stretch marks from developing or worsening, while keeping your skin firm and tight.
Wondering which foods these are?
Just about any food rich in protein will help, as this will encourage your skin to produce more collagen and elastin, while also containing the necessary oils to keep your skin smooth. Try adding more cottage cheese, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts and fish to your diet.
Another interesting ingredient that you could consume to help with stretch marks is gelatin.
Research shows that consuming around 250 mg of gelatin a day can really make a difference to skin elasticity.
Unlike protein-rich foods, gelatin-rich foods can be more difficult to find. Some of the best sources are chicken feet, oxtail and short ribs, but it is unlikely that you would be able to consume enough of these on a regular daily basis.
Fortunately, there are plenty of gelatin supplements out there that you can try. Just make sure you are purchasing your supplement from a reputable and trusted company.
One more thing that you need to do is…
Water is absolutely vital when it comes to maintaining your skin’s elasticity. Without it, you will be so much more prone to loose, sagging skin.
Find it difficult to remember to drink enough water?
There are now several apps out there that can help you to track your water intake, while also reminding you at regular intervals to take a few sips.
If you need a bit of a sugar rush…
Try making yourself some fruit-infused water instead. Teas are also great alternatives to plain water, and certain teas, such as matcha green tea, are incredible for the skin.
Keep Stress to a Minimum
When you are feeling stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is often referred to as the stress hormone.
Cortisol is extremely detrimental to the skin in a number of different ways…
One of the effects that cortisol has is the way in which it interferes with collagen production.
How does this relate to stretch marks and loose skin?
Well, collagen is one of the main structural proteins in your skin, and is what gives your skin its firmness and tightness.
The less collagen you have, the more susceptible you will be to the development of stretch marks. While there are plenty of ingredients you can use to help increase collagen production, it is important that you take care of your existing collagen, meaning cutting back on stress as much as possible.
Stretch marks and loose skin can occur for a number of different reasons, but, whatever the cause, there are still many steps that you can take to deal with them. While you may not be able to completely eradicate stretch marks, as well as the loose skin that accompanies them, these tips will help you to drastically minimize their appearance, making them far less visible.