I don’t even know how to begin talking about stretch marks, but I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. I was going to say I have a love/hate relationship with them, but that’s not really true. I don’t love them. I don’t even like them. Yet, they are an amazing reminder of what women’s bodies can do during pregnancy. My stomach stretched to accommodate another person growing in my body. How cool is that? It’s the coolest thing in the world. So why can’t I “love” the marks that are a testament to the miracle of life? Is it this world we live in? Maybe. Is it nostalgia for the body I used to have? Perhaps. Regardless, I struggle with the feelings I have about them.
So many people suffer from stretch marks. Men, women, adolescence, body builders, obese people, skinny people. There is a statistic that says 90% of pregnant women experience stretch marks. Shouldn’t stretch marks be considered cool then? Yes. They SHOULD, but underneath the whole “body positive” movement, stretch marks are not really adored by the masses. Those with stretch marks aren’t encouraged to show off their bellies at the beach. Nobody really WANTS to see that. People don’t say, “Oh my gosh, her stretch marks were totally popping today…so cute!” Nobody googles “How to Get More Stretch Marks.” “The best thing about weight loss is the incredible stretch marks!” said no one ever.
So now that we’ve established that it’s unacceptably acceptable to have stretch marks, let me tell you why I’ve been thinking about them so much. I’ve been on a pretty awesome weight loss journey for a few months now, and I’m proud to say I’m in the best shape of my life! Woo Hoo! Well, we’re going on vacation next week…and I’ve been going through my swim suit collection. I have some really inappropriately small young-adult bikinis. I have some super cute pre-baby bikinis. There are some TERRIBLE post-baby swim suits. And a couple of things in between.
I’m a hoarder…obviously, who has swimsuits from ten years ago. Me. I do. That’s not the point, though. I’m looking at these bikinis and internally mourning the fact that I will never get to wear them again. Despite looking and feeling better than I did in my late 20’s, I can’t wear them because I have these stretch marks.
Yea, yea, yea, nobody is telling me I can’t. But if we’re completely honest, “somebody“ is. It might be myself, it might be Hollywood, it might be aliens. Regardless, the fact remains that, on the whole, we don’t flaunt those tiger stripes.
But sometimes…I WANT to. I WANT to wear those overpriced Vicky Secret push up bikinis again! So how do I approach this conundrum? I figure there are three options.
- Hide ‘em
- Fix ‘em
- Show ‘em
It’s not about being ashamed, it’s about being comfortable with the amount of skin you show without feeling judged. Tastefully dressing is not a cop out. It’s important to feel confident in your skin, stretched or not, and if that means the skimpy bikini era is done, then it was fun while it lasted! Now in days, there are a lot of really cute swimsuits to cover stretch marks but still make you look cute. I just got these ones on amazon and I’m pretty pumped to wear them. Here’s to a new era of sophistication, wisdom, age appropriate clothing, and full coverage!
This may come as a shock to you, but there is no magical cure for stretch marks…especially when taking into account different types of skin. There are products and procedures that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but it’s important to be realistic when it comes to results.
Topcial creams, oils, lotions, and natural/at home remedies are great for providing moisture and revitalizing the skin, but, according to Medical News Today, no over-the-counter cream or oil has been proven to help prevent or treat stretch marks.
However, there are some products that can potentially reduce the redness and severity of new stretch marks through consistent application. Tretinoin, collagen boosters, centella asiatica, bitter almond oil, Cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, vitamin E oil are among the ingredients that WebMD deems plausible to help with the appearance of stretch marks. The good news is that many of these products are easily obtainable and less expensive than dermatology and surgical procedures, so giving them a shot doesn’t pose much of risk. Just make sure your expectations are in check! Oh and make sure your product is safe to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding!
Microdermabrasion is a skin treatment that gently uses crystals to scrub your skin. Studies have shown that with this treatment, in combination with chemical peels, you can fade and reduce redness of new stretch marks. These treatments vary in price, but are generally very affordable! Plus if your stretch marks don’t go away, it’s still a great way to get healthy, glowing skin!
Microneedling is the insertion of very fine short needles into the skin for the purposes of rejuvenation. These micro-injuries stimulate the growth of collagen, the scaffolding under the skin, which then improves the appearance of some scars and wrinkles. It’s a definitely more costly than microderms and peels, but yields better results for some.
Laser treatments offer the best results for minimally invasive stretch mark removal. There are different types of laser treatments to focus on your needs, but can stimulate collagen/elastin growth and address discoloration. Multiple laser sessions are required and can be pretty pricey…but produce great results!
Tucking that tummy can potentially remove stretch marks entirely. If you have the recovery time and funds, plastic surgery can get rid of stretch marks more quickly and effectively than other treatments. Obviously, it’s pretty invasive and expensive…but still a successful option for some!
Oh, FYI…Spray tan doesn’t cover them up…but at least it you look tan!
Get over that stretch mark stigma and proudly love your lines. People are judgey, and there is no way around it…but ultimately it’s not about other people. It’s about you. I’m so excited that I’ve lost weight and that I look better in a bikini than I did when I was in my 20’s! So why not show a little pride? If you’re feeling confident, secure, and super jazzed about your adorable bikinis…then WEAR THEM. Wear them until you’re old and wrinkly and then keep wearing them if it makes you feel good! It shows confidence, pride, and that it’s OK to love the skin you’re in!
So what is your take, should I pack the bikini for my trip? Do you prefer to cover up or embrace your epidermis? Have you tried any stretch mark mitigation? Let me know, I’d love to hear!