Updated on February 2nd, 2023 at 11:01 am
Being overweight has some downsides, including hypertension, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and stretch marks. Studies show that losing weight will help improve your health. However, I can’t help but wonder, do stretch marks go away when you lose weight?
Unfortunately, stretch marks do not always go away with weight loss. If anything, gaining weight fast and then losing it just as fast pronounces the stretch marks by making them more visible.
Let’s see if it’s possible to prevent stretch marks and how you can treat them.
Why do you get stretch marks when you lose weight?
Rapid weight loss can cause the skin to shrink too fast, which causes the collagen and elastin in the skin to rupture. However, most stretch marks aren’t caused by weight loss but by rapid weight gain. And with the rapid weight loss, the stretch marks become even more visible.
Your genetics and hormones determine how susceptible you are to getting stretch marks. Aside from rapid muscle gain and stress anxiety weight gain followed by drastic loss, common scenarios that lead to their development include:
- Cushing’s syndrome is caused by heightened levels of cortisol hormone in your body
- Marfan syndrome is a genetic disease identified by a connective tissue disorder
In these cases, normal skin stretches faster than the connective tissue can keep up, resulting in their rupture and loss of skin elasticity. The rupture leaves behind scars in the form of stretch marks.
The appearance of stretch marks differs. When they are fresh, they are either purplish-blue, pink, or red and the skin may be elevated and thin. Over time, they transform to look more like a scar – indented, paler, thinner, and silvery or white.
Where do stretch marks from weight loss appear?
Stretch marks from weight loss appear where fat was stored before weight loss. The areas often affected include:
- Upper arms
How can I prevent stretch marks when losing weight?
Prevention against stretch marks should start before weight loss. This isn’t always possible since you cannot always anticipate it. But if you plan to lose weight, you can practice the following:
Control your nutrition by adding some foods to your balanced diet or reducing the consumption of other products. It’s advisable to consume more protein-rich foods like legumes, nuts, seafood, and lean meat. Vitamin C is also key in making collagen so ensure you consume plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Consuming these nutrients will improve collagen production and make the skin more elastic and healthier. Water is important in preventing stretch marks, so drink as much water as your body needs (not just eight glasses of water) to maintain good skin health.
On the other hand, you should stay away from sugar. Consuming too much sugar might damage collagen leaving your skin vulnerable to developing stretch marks.
Lose weight gradually
Stretch marks appear because of drastic weight gain and loss which damages the skin. To prevent this damage, you should shed weight incrementally and patiently. Doing it slow gives the skin time to readjust and tighten without breaking and forming stretch marks. Health experts recommend losing a pound or less every week.
Interesting read: Is a 10-pound weight loss noticeable?
Using anti-stretch mark products
Some skin products contain hyaluronic acid, and Centella which prevent stretch marks. These products are moisturizing creams designed to prevent skin dryness and treat lesions. Hyaluronic acid improves collagen production and aids fibroblast activity. Look for these ingredients in your skincare products to prevent stretch marks when losing weight.
How do you treat weight loss stretch marks?
Some home remedies that have proven effective against stretch marks include cocoa butter, aloe vera, lemon juice and cucumber, almond and coconut oil, apricot mask, and oil and castor oil. Other methods you can explore to make your them less noticeable include:
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
This is a surgery where excess skin is removed from the abdomen. Plastic surgeons only recommend it for the abdomen and not other body parts. The procedure carries several downsides, including scars that may look worse than the stretch marks. Moreover, there are post-surgery complications, including infections and skin necrosis.
This is a process of getting rid of dead skin cells. The exfoliation improves skin health and helps to treat stretch marks. To experience significant positive change, several sessions are needed.
A laser is a gadget that emits single wavelength light. Laser technology removes body hair, skin lesions, and warts. In the case of stretch marks, it reduces inflammation and redness. For white stretch marks, special laser therapy is conducted.
Chemical creams and peels
Contrary to popular belief, chemical peels don’t make stretch marks disappear completely since they don’t penetrate the dermis deep enough. On the bright side, and although the change isn’t drastic, they make the marks less visible. For the best results, it’s best to use topical treatments.
Is it normal for stretch marks to hurt?
Like any scar or cut, fresh stretch marks may be itchy or easily irritated as the skin attempts to repair and adapt. As the stretch marks fade, the irritation and pain go away. But even then, scarred stretch-marked skin is more sensitive to irritation and sunburn.
Are stretch marks permanent?
Since they are scars, stretch marks are permanent, but you can make them a little less noticeable and less itchy with some treatment. Unfortunately, different treatments yield different results for different people, and some products might not work at all.
With that said, your best chance of improving the appearance of stretch marks is to act fast. 1-year old stretch marks are considered mature and cannot fade.
Is Bio-Oil for weight-loss stretch marks?
Studies show that Bio-Oil helps in reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Some of its active ingredients help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and stretch marks. In some people, it helps in treating acne.
Even though Bio-Oil is generally safe to use on scars, it’s not advisable to use it on bleeding and broken skin. According to a study in 2016, linalool, a fragrance ingredient in Bio-Oil, is an allergen. If you suspect you’re sensitive to this ingredient or any others in Bio-Oil, test it on a small portion of your skin first and wait for an hour for any reaction. If it reacts with your skin, discontinue use. Alternatively, you can consult a board-certified dermatologist for guidance.
Do stretch marks mean you are fat?
Not necessarily. Stretch marks occur when you gain weight fast and lose it fast regardless of BMI. As such thin people can develop stretch marks too when they experience a rapid growth spurt.
Does cold help with stretch marks?
As stretch marks heal, the scars can result in inflammation and swelling, making them look worse. Rubbing ice over inflamed stretch-marked skin helps to reduce and relieve inflammation and swelling.
What does turmeric do for stretch marks?
Turmeric is known to help the skin glow, and it has natural bleaching elements that help in fading stretch marks with time. We have found that regular use of Turmeric soap helps to lighten the appearance of stretch marks.
What deficiencies cause stretch marks?
Nutritional zinc, vitamin A, C, and D deficiencies, make you more susceptible to developing stretch marks. Ensure you eat foods rich in these nutrients, including fish, nuts, milk, citrus fruits, and carrots.
Yes, stretch marks are a frustrating and unsightly side effect of losing weight drastically. On the bright side, they don’t cause medical harm, and losing weight improves your overall health and confidence in your body if you are obese.
If you are concerned about getting stretch marks after losing weight, consult your fitness trainer on how you can lose weight slowly and steadily over time. Also, seek professional medical advice products you can use to prevent or manage these bothersome marks when shedding some weight.
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