Stretch marks don’t just pop up overnight! They appear over time when the skin stretches too fast and loses its elasticity. Eventually, collagen production gets disrupted under the skin and stretch marks begin to become noticeable. This disruption can be caused by sudden weight gain or loss, pregnancy and/or puberty. The most common parts of the body that become stretched are the thighs, breasts, arms, stomach, buttocks and hips – basically all of our problem areas.
Because stretch marks are basically scars, it’s hard to brush them away completely. Women scramble for solutions to mask the appearance of stretch marks with different creams but EXERCISE works best.
Exercises work on tightening the skin and keeping it healthy with proper blood circulation. Let’s minimize those stubborn stretch marks with the next few exercises:
T Pushups (chest and core)
This exercise strengthens your chest and core muscles and tightens up the skin on your chest. This is what you need for firm cleavage and less noticeable stretch marks:
Start slowly in a normal pushup position with your hands placed under your shoulders; hold for a few seconds in a plank position. While your body is up, twist your torso towards the ceiling and raise your hand to the sky. Your ankles will naturally come together. Hold for a few seconds Roll back down to the initial pushup position and do 2 sets of 15 repetitions on each side. Don’t forget to keep your body straight and don’t let your hips hang down.
Lateral Leg Circles (hips and thighs)
This exercise helps you to build and tone your leg muscles, which will smooth out your skin. Kneel on a mat with your left knee against a balance ball and with the right leg extended; lift the right leg straight out and slowly make small circle movements with your lifted leg. Make a total of at least 10 circles going forward, and 10 going backwards. After the completion of 20 repetitions on the right leg, switch the legs. It’s very important not to move your hips because you want to make the muscles on your hips stronger and to firm up the muscles and skin underneath the stretch marks.
Single – Leg Pelvic Thrust (buttocks and glutes)
Exercise works great for stretch marks on your butt: lie on the mat with knees bent at 90 degrees with your feet on the floor. Extend your right leg 3-4 inches off the floor with foot flexed straight; lift the hips up, while keeping your upper back on the floor and hold for 3 seconds, then lower hips. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 repetitions on one side, and then switch legs.
While working out firms up the skin, there are also many concoctions on the market that improve the skin’s elasticity and suppleness. With these products, make sure they have some basic essential ingredients: cocoa or Shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E and A, jojoba, chamomile and lavender oils. Lavender oil stimulates the growth of new skin tissues and can slowly fade stretch marks.
Here are some nourishing creams easily found at your local drugstore: Mederna Stretch Marks Therapy™, Out Of Africa Organic Shea Butter Lavender™ (100% pure & unrefined), Palmer’s Organics Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter™, and CVS Skin Treatment Oil™ (it has chamomile and lavender oils).