What you eat affects your skin. That is why maintaining a proper diet should be a crucial part of your stretch marks prevention plan.
There are no studies establishing a clear connection between diet and stretch marks. However, you can’t deny that your food choices affect the amount of nutrients your skin gets to stay healthy and resilient. A proper diet can help boost collagen and elastin fibers, which helps maintain skin elasticity and prevent stretch marks.
In this article, we have discussed how vitamins and other nutrients can help prevent stretch marks and which ones you should choose.
Table Of Contents
Does Eating Healthy Prevent Stretch Marks?
There is a possibility that it may help.
Stretch mark prevention should involve a holistic approach. This includes proper treatment, using the right products and medication, following the doctor’s instructions, and, of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet.
There are no studies to prove that having certain foods or including certain vitamins and nutrients in your diet will prevent stretch marks.
It can also boost the collagen and elastin levels in your body. Both these fibres are crucial for maintaining the structure of your skin and its elasticity. Adequate levels of these fibres can help your skin stretch easily.
Preventing stretch marks may not be possible unless you help your skin by providing it with the right nutrients. In the following section, we have listed the foods and nutrients that you need to prevent stretch marks.
If you are pregnant, we strictly recommend not to change your diet without consulting the doctor. Follow the diet chart provided by the doctors and consult them if you want to make any additions or changes to it.
8 Foods That May Help Prevent Stretch Marks
Note: These foods mainly focus on supporting the skin in various ways to prevent stretch marks.
1. Foods Containing Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids (such as linoleic acid, gamma-linoleic, arachidonic acid, etc.) can help your skin by reducing inflammation and improving skin hydration (4). This is critical for both wound healing and preventing stretch marks.
If you want to include omega-6 fatty acids in your diet, consume foods like:
- Whole-grain bread
- Walnuts and almonds
- Avocado and safflower oils
- Peanut butter
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D contains some active metabolites that are crucial for maintaining the natural barrier of the skin. It also prevents photodamage caused by UV rays. Moreover, it has wound healing and tissue repairing effects (5). All these factors may help in preventing stretch marks.
Food containing vitamin D include:
- Egg yolk
- Cod liver oil
- Fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Beef liver
- Orange juice
3. Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
These are rich sources of all essential vitamins, nutrients, and dietary fibres. They help keep your body and skin healthy by providing them with all the crucial nutrients.
Healthy skin is much more resilient and can prevent the development of intense stretch marks. Consume lots of fruits and veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, oranges, berries, avocado, etc.
4. Collagen-Boosting Foods
Collagen is one of the major constituents of your skin. This protein is present everywhere in your body – connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
Collagen is the protein that gives structure and suppleness to your skin. Along with elastin, collagen helps your skin stretch. You can boost the collagen levels in your body with these foods:
- Bone broth
- Shellfish and fish
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Bell peppers
5. Food Rich In Vitamins A, C, And E
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is crucial for reducing excessive production of keratinocytes (in the case of psoriasis). Along with other antioxidants, vitamin C is said to improve skin hydration and reduce dryness (6).
Consume the following foods to include these vitamins in your diet:
- Cod liver
- Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
- Vegetable oils
- Brussels sprouts
- Citrus fruits
6. Drink Plenty Of Water
It is important to keep your body replenished and hydrated. Otherwise, it may cause skin dryness and dehydration. Apart from drinking water, you may also consume water-rich fruits and veggies that can keep you hydrated, such as:
You may squeeze some lemon in water and drink it. Or you may drink tisane teas or green tea to increase your water consumption.
7. Zinc-rich Foods
Zinc naturally occurs in your skin layers. The deficiency of zinc can affect skin health and the wound healing process. Zinc deficiency can also aggravate skin inflammation (9). Hence, consuming foods rich in zinc is crucial for maintaining overall skin health. Include these foods in your diet:
- Whole grains
8. Protein-rich Foods
Lack of protein in your body can affect your skin in many ways.
A study involving 98 patients found that about 68.4% of them who took less than half of the recommended daily allowance of protein had skin issues, such as pigmentation, acne, melasma, and premature ageing. It also affected the collagen content of the skin. The collagen was found to be fragmented and loose in their skin (10).
Protein-rich foods include:
- Tofu and soy protein
- Legumes and beans
All these essential nutrients may not directly affect the appearance of stretch marks, but they will keep your skin healthy. Healthy skin is important to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and prevent them.
Moreover, maintaining a healthy diet will also help you maintain a healthy weight, and your skin will not stretch unnecessarily. This is applicable for both pregnant women and those who tend to gain weight.
In addition to following the treatment and having a balanced diet, here are a few things you can do to protect your skin and prevent stretch marks.
Other Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks
- Exercise Regularly: This will help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercising under the supervision of an instructor will also help you lose weight/gain muscles gradually, without pressurizing your skin.
- Avoid Sun Damage: UV rays may damage the collagen and pigment the stretch marks and worsen them (if they are new ones). Apply sunscreen and avoid tanning beds.
- Keep The Area Moisturized: This helps improve the hydration levels of the skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Stretch marks fade away with time. You may not be able to prevent them all, but you can reduce their intensity and prevent them from worsening. If nothing is working out, talk to your doctor to find the best treatment option for stretch marks.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Can drinking water prevent stretch marks?
Nothing can stop the development of stretch marks. However, drinking water will keep your skin hydrated and reduce the intensity of the stretch marks. They may fade with treatment and time.
Will stretch marks go away with exercise?
No. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent unnecessary stretching of the skin.
- Katta, Rajani, and Samir P. Desai. “Diet and dermatology: the role of dietary intervention in skin disease.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 7.7 (2014): 46.
- Palma, Lídia, et al. “Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology 8 (2015): 413.
- Lim, Sunhee, et al. “Dietary Patterns Associated with Sebum Content, Skin Hydration and pH, and Their Sex-Dependent Differences in Healthy Korean Adults.” Nutrients 11.3 (2019): 619.
- Silva, Jéssica R., et al. “Wound healing and omega-6 fatty acids: From inflammation to repair.” Mediators of inflammation 2018 (2018).
- Mostafa, Wedad Z., and Rehab A. Hegazy. “Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review.” Journal of advanced research 6.6 (2015): 793-804.
- Cosgrove, Maeve C., et al. “Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 86.4 (2007): 1225-1231.
- Keen, Mohammad Abid, and Iffat Hassan. “Vitamin E in dermatology.” Indian dermatology online journal 7.4 (2016): 311. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976416/
- Menni, S., and R. Piccinno. “Vitamin A and vitamin E in dermatology.” Acta vitaminologica et enzymologica 7 (1985): 55-60.
- Ogawa, Youichi, et al. “Zinc and skin disorders.” Nutrients 10.2 (2018): 199.
- Garg, Suruchi, and Ankita Sangwan. “Dietary protein deficit and deregulated autophagy: A new Clinico-diagnostic perspective in pathogenesis of early aging, skin, and hair disorders.” Indian dermatology online journal 10.2 (2019): 115.
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