By the healthiergang writer , certified personal trainer and athlete ().
Eliminate Stretch Marks
Stretch marks (striae distensae the scientific term coined in the late 1700s) are alterations of the dermis (i.e. of the skin) often found in both women and men as a result of hormonal alterations that generally occur during pubertal development.
Visually they appear as longitudinal depressions of the skin interspersed with strips of healthy skin.
On an organic level, they are caused by an elongation of the skin that exceeds the ability of elastin * to help the skin to stretch and contract according to tension without suffering trauma and lacerations. In the initial phase of their formation, the inflammatory one, they have a pink color, in the final phase, the cicatricial one, they take on the definitive white-pearly color.
The localization is also generally different according to sex: in humans they can form in the lumbo-sacral area, in the abdominal area, on the chest and buttocks; in women generally on the buttocks, abdomen, breasts and inner thighs.
They are specifically real and pure imperfections, therefore not harmful or harmful to health: it is a good idea, however, to try to prevent or recover them, as far as possible.
Collagen and elastin are the fibers that make up the connective tissue of the dermis: the first is organized in very resistant bundles to traction, the second branches out forming a network and has remarkable elastic properties. The appearance of stretch marks is practically determined by a serious alteration of both fibers
Is there an anti-stretch mark cure?
There is no therapy that cures stretch marks, so prevention is the only remedy that avoids their formation: cosmetics can help to attenuate stretch marks that are forming or just formed, while cosmetic surgery can intervene more or less. effective according to their size and the timeliness with which action is taken.
Cosmetics intervenes to find a balance by stimulating the dermis, and working on the active ingredients that help to "repair" and "reorganize" the damaged fibers, through some vitamins and vegetable oil extracts.
Let's summarize them here briefly
- Vitamin A, E, C.
- Vegetable oils and butters: shea butter, sweet almond oil, aloe vera gel, lemon juice, lavender essential oil, linseed oil, coconut oil.
There are many products on the market, in cream or gel, made from these natural substances. They must all be applied topically and very consistently, massaging the affected area to always keep the microcirculation in the tissues of the area active.
It is possible to restore collagen and elastin deficiencies in the body by following a diet that restores these two proteins. In fact, malnutrition is often one of the contributing causes, if not the main one, of the formation of stretch marks.
Let's remember what are the elements that should never be missing in our diet for their prevention.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids, present in the omega 3 group
- Zinc and selenium, antioxidant elements
- Vitamins A, PP, C, B2, E
- Amino acids
- Coenzyme Q10, also an antioxidant
The foods in which to find these substances? Eggs (egg yolk is a natural concentrate of essential fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, amino acids, zinc, B vitamins, while egg white is rich in hyaluronic acid); meat (zinc), fish (omega 3); milk and derivatives (vitamins of groups B, A); fats and oil seeds (vitamin E, omega 3); fruits and vegetables (vitamins, water)
In summary: a diet low in saturated fat and rich in vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, legumes, essential fatty acids contained in fish (especially blue, such as anchovies, sardines, mackerel) and in extra virgin olive oil, vitamin C and other important ones such as A, B, E will contribute to the prevention of stretch marks
Any other tips?
- Avoid too drastic diets: gaining weight or losing weight too quickly can dangerously reduce the elasticity of the skin (not to mention the "accordion" effect due to continuous changes in shape caused by periods of diets alternating with periods of weight recovery)
- Drink a lot of water; the state of hydration of the skin also and above all passes from an excellent daily water supply. Let's drink at least 1 and a half liters a day
- Not smoking
- Practicing sports, because it helps to keep the tissues elastic and toned
Exercises For Stretch Marks
As previously mentioned, there are no definitive methods to solve the problems related to already evident and healed stretch marks; however, their imperfections can certainly be mitigated with physical exercises aimed at toning the tissues of the affected areas, to firm them and make them more elastic. Let's see some that can be done both at home and in the gym.
Lean your back against the wall, bend your legs in a squat position, as if you were sitting, and hold the position for as long as possible (at least 30 seconds).
2. Fore arm push up
Also this exercise must be performed, like the previous one, in isometry (tension without shortening or lengthening) then in the push-up position on the ground, legs well stretched, toes on the ground to lift the body, abdominals contracted, position yourself on the forearms, head facing down: hold the position for at least 30 seconds.
3. Single leg row
From a standing position, move your torso forward while bringing one leg back straight, then keep your balance. Resist as much as possible, at least 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg. Exercise also stimulates balance, it is in fact useful for proprioception as well as for strengthening the joint mobility of the foot.
4. Side shelf
Lie on your side, legs straight, lift your body diagonally while balancing on your elbow and keeping your foot on the side on the ground. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. You can also make a variation, by lifting the knee of the hip that rests on the ground, and bringing it to the chest 10 times.
5. Hip thigh raise
Lie on the ground, keep your legs bent; then stretch one of the two legs, keeping it in line with the other. Using the heel of the bent leg, push until the pelvis is raised to form a 45 degree angle of the torso with the floor with the stretched leg. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
6. Press and twist crunch
Lie on the ground, legs slightly raised, perform a crunch; when bringing the torso close to the legs, keep one taut and the other bend it and bring it to the chest, while the torso flexes (twist) in the direction of the bent leg. Repeat 20 times alternating without stopping.