Stretch marks are simply marks that occur as the skin stretches on the body, but they can really affect our body image. Whether it's because of excess weight gain, adolescence or pregnancy skin, the result is the same.

Stretch marks vary in colour from pink to deep brown, and then lighten on the skin and turn silvery as they fade. And they will fade, in time. So don't let them become a big beauty hang up.

They can occur anywhere on the body — but are usually found on those old favourite tricky areas: the skin on the stomach, breasts, buttocks, thighs and hips. But follow these tips, and you'll be looking great on the beach, or any other time you want to bare some skin.

Part 1


Living with stretch marks

The first choice for so many of us is to ignore our stretch marks and learn to live with them. In time they will fade on the skin, and as we lose those excess kilos from our bodies the great feelings that result make a few marks seem insignificant.


Hiding stretch marks

We can also choose to work around stretch marks and cover them up, either with our clothes or by applying a fake tan to the skin, which helps minimise their appearance and helps you look better naked. Just make sure you do a good job with your tan, or even go to a salon, as a fluorescent orange glow is going to make your body look ten times worse than any stretch mark ever could.


Reducing stretch marks

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are seeing success with a new laser technique, called Fraxel, which stimulates collagen production in the skin and can significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks in anywhere from one to six treatments. Sounds great, but treatments can be on the pricey side, so the best approach is to do a bit of research first.

Type "stretch marks" into any search engine like Google and you will find countless ads for collagen-based creams. Rubbing these into the skin is said to help make it more supple and retain its elastic qualities. But, any cream or lotion that keeps the skin supple will be helpful — from an expensive designer lotion to a tub of cocoa-butter. The magic is in the regular moisturising and massage.

Of course, exercise helps tone up the skin beneath. Marks look much worse on flabby, untoned skin than they do on toned and tight flesh.


Preventing future stretch marks

Taking care to keep your weight steady and avoid a kilo creep will prevent the skin from stretching; regular body massage with a rich lotion will keep it supple and moist.

As with many things, stretch marks are easier to prevent than cure. And the healthy steps you take to prevent them should feel great in and of themselves.


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