Stretch marks are wavy stripes appearing in the skin of the abdomen, buttocks, breasts or thighs.
- Wavy stripes of discoloured skin that start out as reddish in colour and gradually turn white
- Once they appear, stretch marks are permanent, although they do become less noticeable with time
- Stretch marks develop during periods of rapid weight gain, for example during pregnancy or puberty
- They occur because when the skin becomes overstretched, the fibres in the deep layers tear. The stretch marks are actually scars that form as the tears heal
- Stretch marks can also occur as a result of certain endocrine (hormonal) diseases (e.g. Cushing's syndrome) or as a side effect of certain medications (e.g. prednisone)
- Zinc deficiency may increase the risk of stretch marks
Nutritional & Herbal Support
- Zinc is involved in wound healing and is important for the health and integrity of the skin, helping to maintain its elasticity.
- Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, and consequently also helps to maintain the integrity of the skin
- Pierce a vitamin E capsule, and massage the oil into stretch marks
- Take a multivitamin that's been specially formulated to provide antioxidants to protect the skin from Free Radical Damage, and essential fatty acids and other ingredients to promote the skin's health and integrity. Important ingredients to look for include the fat-soluble vitamins A, D3 and E; and demineralised fish proteoglycan extract, which is naturally rich in proteins and other compounds that help make up the matrix of the skin and keep it hydrated, elastic and firm. In clinical studies, demineralised fish proteoglycan extract has been demonstrated to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Diet & Lifestyle advice
- If you have weight problems, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. A low glycaemic index (GI) diet that's also rich in fibre and low in saturated fat is ideal
- Massaging the abdomen, buttocks and breasts during pregnancy may help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. In addition to vitamin E, suitable oils include rosehip, wheatgerm, jojoba, avocado or sweet almond
- Aromatherapy oils may also be beneficial, but should not be used during pregnancy; consult a professionally qualified aromatherapist for advice about the most appropriate oils for your personal circumstances
If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.