Here’s some news you probably don’t want to hear: Stretch marks don’t just happen during pregnancy. In fact, “If you are genetically prone, and undergo any skin stretching like a growth spurt or weight fluctuation, then stretch marks can occur,” says NYC-based dermatologist Whitney Bowe. Unfortunately, if a parent or grandparent ever developed them in the past, she says, there’s a good chance your risk is pretty high as well.
“Stretch marks are defined as dermal and epidermal ‘tearing’ as a result of your skin's inability to accommodate rapid growth,” says Beverly Hills-based esthetician Gina Mari. “The best thing you can do to prevent this — during pregnancy or otherwise — is to eat well, exercise and stay hydrated.”
Here are five ways to prevent and treat stretch marks:
Trying to maintain a steady weight is key, says Bowe. “People who gain or lose weight quickly are at highest risk. Unfortunately, you can’t really avoid growth spurts during puberty or pregnancy, so there’s only so much you can control.”
You can’t exfoliate the marks away, but a twice-weekly scrub will help with skin cell turnover. “It’s still important to exfoliate the dead skin cells away,” says Mari. “Not only will it result in a healthy glow, it will also help with itchiness due to the stretching of the skin.”
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