So you just lost a bunch of weight & feel great right! Or do you…
The joy folks feel when they drop a significant amount of weight & finally get back into shape, is often offset by the fact they now have a lot more visible stretch marks around their body.
Weight Loss vs Weight Gain Stretch Marks
Most people associate these cavities with weight gain – which is very true (to begin with anyway). But its somewhat of a chicken & egg scenario. A rapid increase in body size (when the skin has little time to adjust), is certainly the stimulus for a breakage in the dermis layers of the skin. This exposes the lower layers as lines of discoloration across the affected area’s.
However, its the weight loss which really exposes the stretch marks & ensures they become more apparent & visible. When the skin rebounds from excessive stretching after weight loss, these lines become closer together. With the skin less taut, they can seem much more numerous & noticeable on the eye!
When You Lose Weight Do Stretch Marks Fade?
The short answer to this is YES… Whilst they will initially look more apparent on the skin, a reduction in body mass will allow for the healing process to start. Darker lines will begin to fade to whitish or silver as the collagen has to time to build back up within the damaged skin. To see how & why this occurs, it’s beneficial to see just how they form in the first place.
Stretch marks or striae, are lines which commonly form as reddish or purple streaks around bodily area’s such as the abdomen, breasts & buttocks. They will form due to hormonal changes in the body, accompanied with overstretching of the skin due to weight gain. This most commonly occurs during pregnancy, but also during growth spurts & puberty.
There are more rare cases such as Cushing Disease, a pituitary dysfunction which causes excessive ACTH & cortisol production leading to stretch mark formation. Or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder which causes damage to connective tissue supporting the skin.
However, it’s skin ruptures caused via traditional weight gain/loss that we are concerned with here. More specifically – how to fix them! The following are a set of guidelines on how to do just that.
Tips For Stretch Mark Reduction When Losing Weight
1. Do It Gradually:
One of the best pieces of advice when it comes to weight loss, is to do it slowly… This may seem counter-intuitive, especially when summer time is fast approaching & you need to lose those extra pounds pronto! But this should be avoided. Both for stretch mark recovery & general health.
Unlike post pregnancy for instance, it is possible to manage a more gradual reduction in weight in a traditionally sense. You want to allow the skin to shrink naturally & provide time for the collagen fibers within the dermis layer of the skin to adjust.
It has been shown that anything greater than 2-3 lbs of weight loss a week, is not advisable for optimal skin recovery. Losing weight any quicker than this will not allow the collagen & elastin fibers within the epidermis to re-build fast enough, as the production of these materials cannot keep up.
2. Increase Collagen Production:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is the key building block for our connective tissues as well as our hair, nails & skin. It binds skin cells together within the dermis layer, to give the skin its flexible & supple properties. Collagen functions much like the framework of a building, it provides the rigid support structures to prevent it from falling apart.
The less collagen in the skin, the greater chance of developing stretch marks – It’s that simple. When the amount gets too low, it can cause the collagen fiber structures within the dermis layer to rupture.
This is essentially what is causing the skin to tear & form the discolored lines and lesion on the surface.
During a weight loss program, it is extremely important to provide the body with enough collagen to protect against the re-shaping of the skin. For a full & detailed explanation on how to increase collagen production in the body, check out my article on the specific treatments here. The main protocols are summarized below:
- Dietary Supplementation
- Topical Creams
- Collagen Injections/Laser Treatments
3. Use Topical & Home Remedies:
One of the greatest weapons we have against unsightly lines after weight loss, are the topical creams & natural home remedies. During the weeks when weight loss is occurring, it is a good idea to start implementing a number of these methods which work for you. I have detailed my top 5 in greater depth here.
Many of these treatments will once again increase collagen production, but will also improve moisture levels as well as general skin quality & health. This is essential for reducing the appearance and discoloration of stretch marks caused by weight loss, as the skin is rebounding back into shape. These treatments include:
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Vitamin A&E Supplementation
- Natural Sugar Scrub
- Cocoa Butter
- Coconut oil
4. Exercise Regularly:
I often get asked “Do stretch marks go away when you work out? The very act of physical activity won’t fade them in and of itself, but the secondary effects (I.e. the weight loss) will certainly start the reduction process from dark, discolored lines to more translucent & natural looking ones.
So this may seem like obvious advice & even an absolute necessity when attempting to lose weight – but exercising regularly is a must! When we are losing weight, the actual goal is usually body re-composition. This means losing unwanted mass (fat) & gaining some desirable working tissue (muscle).
Regular exercise such as resistance workouts combined with cardio style routines, will help tone the muscles to offset some of the size reduction from fat loss.
This is critical for preventing those drastic reductions in size & weight associated with prominent stretch marks. The increase in lean muscle will help keep the skin in place where the fat has disappeared!
I would also include a light stretching routine into your workouts. Not only will this help with warming up your muscles prior to exercise (& help cool them down post workout), it will also aid the skin in retaining it’s elasticity as well, in addition to improved blood circulation to the tissues.
5. Medical Procedures:
Your final line of defense against scarring of the skin as a result of losing weight, are the “surgical” procedures. I highly suggest you try all of the previous steps & advice before going down this route. These treatments can be both costly & painful – although very effective.
These methods are typically collagen remodeling treatments which are designed to re-patch any existing lines and lesions. To remove the most prominent & stubborn stretch marks after weight loss. You will have to consult your doctor or local cosmetic surgery for full advice on this, however the treatments will fall into one of the following:
- Pulsed Dye/Fractional Photothermolysis Laser Treatments
- Chemical Peels
Getting Rid OF Stretch Marks After Weight Loss (FAST)
If you want to know the best topical treatment I have found for reducing skin cavities after weight loss – then I highly suggest you check out my full review on the Revitol Cream.
I developed my stomach marks during my first pregnancy & not via typical weight gain/loss. However, they are essentially very similar scenarios I.e. a rapid expansion then reduction in the surface area of the skin.
Anatomically, stretch marks are exactly the same, regardless of how they are created… & their treatment certainly does not differ.
The guidelines I have suggested in this article will give you a good head start in preventing & reducing them. However, these methods can take several months of consistent application to produce the results you are looking for.
If you really want to up the ante & get rid of your weight loss stretch marks fast – then I would add the Revitol Cream to your tool kit. It significantly reduced my stomach battle scars in as little as 3 weeks!