There are certain times in a person's life when they're more likely to develop stretch marks: pregnancy, puberty and other moments when weight gain or growth happens quickly. That's because rapid changes in size can damage proteins in your skin, namely collagen and elastin, causing line-like scars (stretch marks) to form as your skin heals.
Thanks to some genetic factors, not all stretch marks can be prevented. However, there are ways to reduce your risk for developing stretch marks, which most commonly form on areas like the chest, stomach, hips and thighs.
Hydrate. The body needs adequate amounts of water to function at its best. Skin is no exception. Staying hydrated helps skin retain its elasticity, an important element in preventing skin from becoming stretched too thin.
Moisturize. There's no magic cream that can absolutely prevent stretch marks, but keeping skin supple may make a person less susceptible to developing stretch marks. If stretch marks do develop, well-moisturized skin also may respond better to treatment.
Eat nutrient-rich foods. By now you may be noticing a trend in the steps to take to prevent stretch marks: nourishing the body. This includes eating nutritious foods that give your skin the vitamins it needs to maximize its health and elasticity. Think plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
Cosmetic treatments. Despite your best efforts to prevent stretch marks, they are partly hereditary (i.e., if your dad, mom or siblings have stretch marks, you're more likely to have them, too). If you notice stretch marks forming, a consultation with a skincare specialist can help. And the sooner the better since newly formed scars often respond better to treatment. Your skincare specialist can help you create a personalized treatment plan to fade your stretch marks, which may include options like laser therapy, microneedling or professional creams, among other treatments.
Tired of stretch marks?
Discover options for minimizing them with a personalized skincare consultation.
How to teach your kids about gratitude
Advice to keep your skin looking ageless
Holiday gift guide: Top beauty products
5 questions to ask before a cosmetic laser treatment