You’ll hear a lot about how to prevent or magic away stretch marks and most of it isn’t true. Here’s what you shouldn’t believe about those tiger stripes.

Your largest organ is your skin. It’s pretty tough but it can only take so much strain. So when your body expands very quickly for whatever reason, your skin can’t always keep up with the stretching. The normal production of collagen, the protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin, is disrupted and you get stretch marks.

They can be pink, red, brown, black, silver or purple. Usually, they start off darker and fade slowly but they never go away. These scars (that's what they are) are most common on your tummy, chest, upper arms, legs, bottom, hips and back.

Nobody likes having them but stretch marks aren’t dangerous and only if you think your skin doesn’t look healthy or the marks cover large parts of your body, should you talk to a doctor and get help.

You’ll come across a lot of myths about stretch marks. Here are some of them and why they’re fake news.

1. Stretch marks are just caused by stretching of the skin
Stretch marks could run in your family or be in your genes. Some hormonal disorders such as Cushing syndrome, stress and certain medicines can also make them more likely.

2. Only women get stretch marks
Of course, a pregnant tummy can lead to stretch marks. So can other fast changes in your body shape, but men can get them as well. Body-building may cause stretch marks.

3. Pregnant equals stretch marks.
Not for all women. More so if you’re younger, obese, have bigger babies or put on a lot of weight during pregnancy.The best protection is a healthy weight. Ask your doctor how you can eat well and exercise safely while pregnant.

4. A stretch mark cream during pregnancy will prevent marks.
Sorry, there’s no serious proof of that. You’ve heard the one about cocoa butter. It’s a great moisturiser but like any skin cream, it doesn't go deep enough into the skin to stop stretch marks. Using toner on stretch marks is bad because it makes the skin even tighter.

5. You can’t prevent stretch marks
It's mostly about genes but keeping your skin hydrated will keep it as elastic and stretch-proof as possible. Food that keeps skin healthy can make a difference. Collagen plays a role in keeping skin strong and elastic, helps top stop wrinkles and might also prevent stretch marks. Get that from vitamin C. There is a study that claims low vitamin D levels can lead to more stretch marks. Get some sun and through food such as cereals and dairy that have added vitamin D. Zinc helps with inflammation and wound healing. Zinc-rich food such as nuts and fish may or may not help a bit but is good for your skin either way.

6. Losing weight makes them disappear
No - and losing weight too quickly (more than just under a kilo per week) can make stretch marks more noticeable.

7. They go away by themselves
Stretch marks are a type of scarring that rarely fades enough to become invisible.

8. Exercising will help
It won’t do much to the marks you already have. But you won’t notice stretch marks so much on a toned body.

9. Tanning makes them less visible
It doesn’t – and can be bad for your skin in other ways. Tanning can even make them more visible because they’ll have a lighter colour than the rest of your skin.

10. There’s nothing you can do once you have them
There are effective treatments for stretch marks, such as laser therapy, but they are expensive. Ask your doctor about a topical retinoid, a cream that can make stretch marks less visible if you use it long enough. You just can’t use it while pregnant or breast-feeding. Something else that can fade marks, is microdermabrasion, done by a dermatologist. Here's one way to do it yourself - don't expect miracles but it might help. Mix the juice of a lemon with some coconut oil and fine sugar until it forms a paste-like wet sea sand. Massage gently on the marks to exfoliate the skin. Leave on for about ten minutes and rinse off.

11. Stretch marks are ugly and disgusting and gross
They’re natural. Most people have some. If you’re a mom, wear them as a badge of pride. No body is perfect, so drink enough water, eat well, get some exercise and forget about them.

Sources: www.cbsnews.com, www.healthline.com, www.mayoclinic.org, www.purewow.com, www.sheknows.com, www.apollocradle.com, trilastin.com, www.nhs.uk.

11 MYTHS ABOUT STRETCH MARKS 11 MYTHS ABOUT STRETCH MARKS Reviewed by Jet Club on November 18, 2019 Rating: 5
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