Treating and Preventing - Treatments - iVillage Beauty Body Spa

Imagine a balloon that has been blown up and then deflated. No matter how much you blow it up again, it has lost much of its original elasticity and will never look quite the same. So it is with stretch marks. They don't go away entirely. The key is to find ways to reduce their appearance. The earlier you begin treating stretch marks, the more likely you are to lessen their appearance; they are much easier to treat when they first appear as raised red or reddish brown marks. Once they begin to flatten and fade, they become less obvious and are more difficult to treat.

About 75 to 90 percent of all pregnant women (90 percent of white women) develop stretch marks during pregnancy. The sustained stretching on the abdomen as a result of weight gain usually means stretch marks will appear during the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. But pregnant women aren't alone in being susceptible. Adolescents experiencing a growth spurt and athletes (especially bodybuilders who practice strenuous and repetitive exercise) are likely to get stretch marks, as is anyone who gains or loses a significant amount of weight in a short period of time.

If you never gain weight for any reason over the course of your life, you are not likely to develop stretch marks. But those of us who carry children or simply put on weight are likely candidates, as are those of us who practice strenuous and repetitive exercise. Some say that as our skin structure is genetically determined, we are predisposed to developing stretch marks; others disagree, pointing to the fact that there are ways to help prevent stretch marks. Prevention takes diligence, but certain things can help: Massage your skin with a massage brush or glove to increase circulation; apply moisturizing cream to the area of concern on a daily basis to keep the skin supple; and eat foods that contribute to the overall health of the skin, such as those high in vitamins C and E, zinc and silica (which helps to form collagen).

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