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  • Writer's pictureDr. David Della Morte Canosci

STRETCH MARKS AND NUTRITION: ARE THEY RELATED?

Stretch marks, also known as striae, are a common concern for people of all ages and genders. These unsightly marks are often the result of rapid weight gain or loss, pregnancy, or growth spurts during puberty.


While many factors contribute to the development of stretch marks, nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health and elasticity. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the connection between stretch marks and nutrition, and how proper nutrition, combined with a service like Palazzo Fiuggi's with Doctors, Aesthetic Doctors, treatments, thalassotherapy, and tailored aesthetic treatments, can benefit in reducing and preventing stretch marks.


WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS?

Stretch marks are the visible signs of skin stretching due to rapid weight gain or loss, pregnancy, or growth spurts. They form when the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, is torn due to the breakdown of elastic fibers. Stretch marks usually start as pink or purplish lines, which are signs of capillary damage, and eventually become lighter and shinier over time. They are most commonly found on the thighs, abdomen, hips, breasts, and arms.

While individual characteristics play a significant role in the development and healing of stretch marks, it is important to note that these "scars" are almost indelible once formed. However, prevention is possible through various measures, such as adopting a specific diet to promote skin elasticity, engaging in physical activity, and applying topical products like oils or creams.


THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET MODIFICATION

A diet aimed at preventing stretch marks focuses on increasing the intake of essential nutrients for skin elasticity. This type of diet serves a primarily preventive and protective purpose. The synthesis and adjustment of elastic fibers are regulated by the histological functions of the dermis, which actively support tissue. In essence, regardless of how many nutrients are consumed through food, if the body does not actively intervene, the margin for improvement is significantly reduced.

The fundamental principle of a diet for stretch marks is to ensure that dermal cells (fibroblasts) receive adequate amounts of the necessary nutrients for the synthesis of macromolecules that provide firmness and elasticity to the skin. If the consistency of the reticular dermis is compromised by malnutrition, the likelihood of developing stretch marks increases.


KEY NUTRITIONAL COMPONENTS

Stretch marks tend to be more extensive and noticeable in individuals who follow an unbalanced diet or have certain nutritional deficiencies. The most important dietary factors that should never be missing from a stretch mark prevention diet include:

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids: Especially essential omega-3 fatty acids, which have a significant correlation with skin health. A deficiency in these fats can lead to dry skin and reduced dermal elasticity.

  • Phenolic compounds: Powerful antioxidants that combat free radicals, which can compromise the stability of fats in the skin's cellular membranes and break down hyaluronic acid.

  • Zinc: An antioxidant that is crucial for collagen synthesis.

  • Selenium: Another antioxidant.

  • Vitamin A and provitamin A (retinol and carotenoids): These play a key role in protecting the skin from UV rays, which can activate skin enzymes that degrade elastin. Carotenoids also serve as potent antioxidants.

  • Vitamin PP or niacin: Responsible for many enzymatic processes at the skin level and improves the skin's barrier effect. It can stimulate fibroblasts to synthesize collagen.

  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid: An antioxidant that is directly involved in collagen synthesis and regenerates vitamin E from its oxidized form.

  • Vitamin B2 or riboflavin: A deficiency in this vitamin can cause seborrheic dermatitis, indicating its importance in maintaining skin health.

  • Vitamin E or tocopherol: A powerful antioxidant that blocks the action of UV rays, which can compromise the integrity of elastin.

  • Amino acids: The building blocks of proteins, a deficiency in essential amino acids could lead to reduced synthesis of collagen and elastin in the dermis.

  • Water: Hydration is essential for maintaining skin elasticity. Dehydration increases the likelihood of developing stretch marks.

  • Coenzyme Q10: A direct antioxidant that acts at the mitochondrial membrane level and regenerates vitamin E from its oxidized form.

  • Hyaluronic acid: A polysaccharide (sugar) vital for connective tissue.

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin: Famous for their protective effects on cartilage, they also promote collagen synthesis.


WHAT TO EAT?

All the nutrients and molecules useful for preventing stretch marks can be consumed in the right amounts by following a balanced diet. Let's take a closer look at which food groups are associated with the various nutrients. The table below simplifies and summarizes the various nutritional sources.


Food Group Nutritional Content for Stretch


Marks Meat, fish, and eggs Egg yolk provides a unique chemical concentration and supplies most of the essential nutrients for humans (including those useful against stretch marks): carotenoids, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, zinc, B vitamins, coenzyme Q10, etc. Egg white is rich in hyaluronic acid.


All foods in this group contain high-quality proteins and are rich in essential amino acids. They also contain a lot of vitamin PP and selenium. Fish have an excellent concentration of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Meat contains a good amount of zinc.


Some recipes that involve long cooking times, such as boiled dishes and broths, have a good concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin. Organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys, etc.) are the richest foods in coenzyme Q10. Dairy and dairy products Milk is rich in riboflavin or vitamin B2, contains a fair amount of vitamin A, and provides many high-quality proteins, thus essential amino acids. Dairy products also contain selenium.


Aged cheeses have a higher concentration of all these nutrients. Fats, cooking oils, and oilseeds Oils mainly provide vitamin E.


Oilseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phenolic antioxidants, and vitamin E. Vegetables and fruits Depending on the specific product, they can be rich in vitamin C or carotenoids (provitamin A). They are the main source of phenolic antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. Along with milk, they represent the largest source of dietary water.


Even cereals, tubers, and legumes (including derivatives) contain some of these nutrients. However, they are all present in lower concentrations compared to the list above. A diet for stretch marks must be varied and should not overlook the consumption of any of the food groups discussed.

In summary, here are the recommended frequencies and portions of consumption:

  • Meat: twice a week

  • Fish: two or three times a week

  • 3 whole eggs a week

  • Milk: once a day

  • Plain yogurt: once or twice a day

  • Cheeses (as a dish): once or twice a week (grated on pasta every day, one or two teaspoons)

  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of raw oil on each plate

  • Oilseeds: 30g once (replacing three teaspoons of oil) or about 10g a day

  • Fresh fruit: two or three times a day

  • Vegetables: two or three times a day (at least one raw)

The frequency of consumption for these foods considers the use of a large portion that can also be divided into two smaller portions spread throughout the same day.


THE BEST CREAMS TO USE FOR STRETCH MARKS

In addition to proper nutrition and a balanced diet, using creams and oils specifically designed to prevent and minimize stretch marks can be beneficial. Some of the most popular and effective ingredients found in these products include:

  • Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, retinoids can help improve skin elasticity and stimulate collagen production.

  • Hyaluronic acid: As mentioned earlier, hyaluronic acid is crucial for maintaining skin elasticity and can help improve the appearance of stretch marks.

  • Centella asiatica: Also known as gotu kola, this herb is known for its skin-healing properties and can help stimulate collagen production.

When choosing a cream or oil for stretch marks, look for products containing these ingredients and apply them consistently as directed.


PALAZZO FIUGGI: A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO STRETCH MARK PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

Palazzo Fiuggi offers a holistic approach to stretch mark prevention and treatment, combining expert knowledge in nutrition, skincare, and aesthetic treatments. With a team of Doctors, Aesthetic Doctors, and tailored aesthetic treatments, clients can benefit from personalized care and guidance on maintaining skin health and elasticity.


Thalassotherapy, a treatment that uses seawater and marine products, can also be beneficial in reducing and preventing stretch marks. This therapy helps to detoxify the body, enhance circulation, and promote overall skin health, making it an excellent addition to a comprehensive stretch mark treatment plan.


By following a balanced diet, using appropriate creams and oils, and seeking professional guidance from services like Palazzo Fiuggi, individuals can effectively reduce and prevent the appearance of stretch marks, promoting healthier and more radiant skin.



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