Stretch marks are caused by tearing of the dermis and they typically result in light reddish scars on the skin. They are formed through rapid stretching of the skin primarily caused by weight gain, pregnancy or an increase in muscle mass. The growth generally needs to happen over a short period of time for scars to form. They typically fade over time but do not disappear completely.
While stretch marks are difficult to remove, they can be prevented with proper skin care. Most importantly, the skin should be kept hydrated on a daily basis. There are a variety of stretch mark creams available for use as a prevention method.
Cocoa butter is an excellent way to hydrate the skin and improve its elasticity. Cocoa butter is made from vegetable fat and is derived from the cocoa bean. Cocoa butter has the unique ability to penetrate deeply into the skin, making it an effective skin hydration method. Most cocoa butter products contain a myriad of other skin care ingredients such as vitamin E, shea butter, emu oil, collagen and elastin. The combined ingredients work to moisturize the skin and keep it healthy. External hydration is important, but internal hydration can produce equally impressive results.
Internal hydration can be performed in a variety of manners. Consuming a sufficient amount of water is key in protecting the skin. When the body is dehydrated, the skin becomes more vulnerable. Once dehydrated and vulnerable, the skin is more susceptible to stretching and damage. For optimal internal hydration, seven to nine eight-ounce glasses of water should be consumed daily. Caffeine should be avoided because it acts as a diuretic, depleting the body of essential moisture and nutrients.
Diet also plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. Vitamins and minerals strengthen the elasticity of the skin and allow the skin to stay moist. Biotin is a B vitamin and is an essential building block for skin cells. Foods rich in biotin include eggs, bananas, rice and peanuts. Copper is another important vitamin for skin health because it produces elastin. Food sources high in copper include cashews, sunflower seeds, meats and fish. Vitamin C is plays an important role in collagen production. Collagen works with elastin to support the body’s tissue and provide the skin with strength and elasticity. The best vitamin C sources include oranges, guava, sweet peppers and kiwi.
Stretch marks are often unsightly and difficult to remove, but they can be prevented with proper nutrition and skin care.