When I was 16 I became severely depressed and started over eating, in 90 days I gained 110 lbs of fat. Beyond the fact, that this was extremely unhealthy for my body, I only gained a few minor stretch marks.
I felt lucky to have avoided extreme stretch marks that many people get with extreme weight gain. I dove into transformational work on myself and healed the childhood wounds. This addressed the root cause of my unhappiness and eating problems, I “released” all the unwanted fat I had gained, yay!
Six years later I became pregnant with my first daughter, I gained 30 lbs, and no stretch marks! Yay, another win in my book!!
Three years after her birth I attempted to go back on birth control again (every time I tried to be on it, I had severe side affects and had to come off immediately). They had just come out with YAZ, a low dose hormone, my doctor thought may work…
In only 10 days after starting the pill I almost died and was covered in stretch marks. I became obsessed with what was happening to my body, what causes stretch marks, and why did it baffle my doctor…
I discovered that stretchmark’s are caused by a hormone imbalance which reduces the elasticity of the skin. Many of my symptoms I was being put on birth control for are symptoms for hormone imbalances, the doctor should have known better.
Most traditional MD’s are not educated in the root cause of disease and healing the body. They are educated in prescriptions and surgeries (which is why I now only work with DO’s aka holistic doctors).
While totally frustrated, and somewhat depressed that my body was now covered in stretchmark’s after less then 2 weeks of what could have been prevented had my doctor preformed a simple hormone tests.
It was valuable in learning more about my body, imbalances I had, what causes stretch marks, prevents stretch marks, how to heal them, and qualifying quality doctors.
The Stretch Mark Journey Begins…
Our bodies are living scrapbooks of our different experiences, showcasing the different stages of our lives, from the moment we’re born. From youthful freckles to body art and laugh lines, our skin captures each stage in our lives as a living snapshot.
Our skin captures our stories, often in ways that we may not necessarily love— documenting our experiences, each rite of passage and each step along our evolving journeys.
What Causes Stretch Marks
Skin is naturally supple so it can grow with the body. It expands and contracts, allowing for bones and muscles to grow. This elasticity is particularly beneficial for women, allowing the skin to expand easily during pregnancy.
Stretch marks essentially document changes in the body. They appear, oftentimes, along the sides of the torso during pregnancy, as well as on the breasts during puberty. And what most people don’t know, is that they are preventable; in the normal course of life, almost everyone will get a few stretch marks when hormones hormones become unbalanced.
Weight fluctuation is frequently accompanied by stretch marks, and thus for get blamed for what causes stretch marks, but they can appear during periods of weight loss as well as weight gain. Stretch marks typically occur where weight is gained therefore people create a false association with stretchmark’s and the weight gain.
Teenagers going through adolescent often experience hormone surges and some imbalances. Women’s hormones change dramatically when pregnant, or getting on/off birth control. Bodybuilders who use steroids also alter their natural hormone balance.
But why do some people get stretch marks and some don’t… Even with weight gain, the root cause is the lack of elasticity of the skin. This is not genetic, while some people make that mistake because “their mom had stretch marks, so it’s genetic…”. No, the common denominator is lifestyle that led to an imbalance. This is great because it give everyone power in their life.
While stretch marks are just ascetically unappealing there are long-term disease tendencies associated with hormone imbalances.
We can view what causes stretch marks as a warning sign to us that our bodies are not functioning properly and we need to make a huge shift. Personally I work with several health practitioners, nutritionists, and naturopaths yearly.
Stretch marks may appear when the body produces elevated levels of Steroids. Steroids are produced by the adrenal glands. The body creates a wide variety of different hormones, each with different purposes. Steroids are used in almost every part of the body, from the reproductive organs to the immune system, the central nervous system and the lymphatic system.
During pregnancy, for example, the body produces more estradiol, one of the female sex hormones. Placenta nourishes and maintains healthy baby development during pregnancy; this essential nutrient is made from estradiol. Excess production, can result in imbalanced hormones and the appearance of stretch marks.
Widespread stretch marks can also be due to diseases, such as Cushing’s syndrome and adrenal gland diseases, as well as hereditary diseases, including Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Treating Stretch Marks Naturally
While stretch marks may be relatively common, they tend not to be a cause for celebration. Women are far more likely to develop stretch marks, in general. Combined with body and self-esteem issues, stretch marks can upset women far more than validate their personal progress. And so we strive to eliminate them by any means necessary.
In an effort to eliminate stretch marks, many turn to harsh, unsuccessful treatments. But treating stretch marks doesn’t have to be invasive or dangerous. Vitamin E and wheat germ oil can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks while stimulating the body’s ability to fade them over time.
While taking Vitamin E supplement and applying topically can help the elasticity and appearance of stretch marks. Other recommendations are applying coconut oil or avocado oil. Personally have been able to greatly reduce the appearance of my stretch marks with the use of dry brushing.
Some Natural Remedies
Coconut oil or Avocado oil, in particular, can be very helpful when skin is dry and painful. Stretched skin is typically dry and itchy. Both coconut and avocado oils are natural alternatives to chemically-laden lotions and creams, and does double duty, soothing painfully dry skin while helping to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Sugar scrubs can also help get rid of stretch marks. You can make your own powerful sugar scrubs using just raw cane sugar, almond oil and lemon juice. Rub the mixture in for a few minutes before bathing and simply rinse clean.
The scrub only works when the stretch marks are old and healed. Fresh or new stretch marks are actually still open wounds of microscopic torn skin and any sort of scrub will make the stretch marks worse.
And, most importantly, learn to love your body and all of its many bumps, marks, scars and signs of aging. You’ve earned every single one of them and they’re an important part of your ongoing life story!
For all my mommies reading this with tiger stripes that came with your babies, they are beautiful! Many women are unable to conceive their own child, being able to create life is truly a miracle and you should view every single mark as a beauty mark. You’re a powerful tiger, who earned your stripes!!
Preventing Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are simply our bodies communicating to us that we have an imbalance, and they are not functioning optimally. Lets treat the root cause of the problem and balance our hormones. I recommend finding a specialist that you can work with directly for your own bodies unique needs.
Hormone balance is deeply connected to the food we eat, the exercise we get, the toxins we absorb, the weight we carry, and the stress levels we put up with. Eating specific foods which are dense in nutrients needed for hormonal function, production and balance and avoiding foods negatively affect hormones is a great start!!
Food to Eat:
Eat a lot of organic vegetable. Conventional produce contains harmful herbicides and pesticides which have been shown to negatively effect both male and female fertility.
Organic, grass-fed, whole fat, raw dairy. Organic, grass-fed, whole fat, raw dairy is nutrient dense and doesn’t contain inflammatory and allergenic contaminants like pasteurized.
Cold water fish. Fish contain important essential fatty acids (omega 3) to our diet. These fatty acids aid in the production of hormones, reduce inflammation, and is a great source of protein and vitamin A. Wild salmon, Cod, and Halibut are great selections.
Grass fed, grass finished, organic meat. These meats are incredible nutrient dense (eat the fat) and directly support healthy hormones. They are a great source of essential fatty acids, are low in saturated fat. Read here how Good Fats are Phat
Pasture raised Organic Chicken. These meats are nutrient dense as chickens are carnivores and their natural diet consists of bugs.
Water. Our bodies need a significant amount of water for healthy organ functioning, be sure to use a glass bottle with filtered water.
Grass-fed Collagen. Collagen is an amino acid that is the connective tissue for the heart, lungs, muscles, joints, blood cells, and arteries and skin! Just to name a few… It’s kinda a big deal!! When collagen is digested, the peptides are attracted to cells that synthesize collagen in the human body, and are the most common cells of connective tissues in the skin. Click here to read more about Collagen.
Foods to Avoid:
Factory Farmed Beef. Conventionally raised cattle contain high levels of added hormones (hence contributing to throwing yours off) and antibiotics which can contribute to challenges. These cattle are also fed nutrient poor diets contains many toxins and fattening foods, which are directly passed to you.
Farmed and High Mercury Fish. Farmed fish contain antibiotics, toxic food dyes, consume a nutrient poor diet (which leave you nutrient poor fish. Fish like Ahi, Swordfish, and Chilean Sea Bass contain highest levels of Mercury, a heavy metal and know hormone disruptor.
Factory Farmed Chickens. These animals are raised in unclean, cramped housing conditions and are fed non-organic and often, genetically modified feed, and given steroids and antibiotics which directly contribute to hormone imbalance.
Soy. All forms of soy foods have been shown to contain estrogen-mimicking properties (direct correlation to hormone imbalance). It is best to avoid all soy including: soymilk, soy burgers, soy protein powder, soy chips, soy meats, soy cheeses. Check ingredient labels, soy is used in many foods as a cheap filler.
Refined sugars or fruit juices (unless freshly juiced). Pasteurized juices such as bottled apple juice, orange juice, and other bottled fruit juices contain concentrated sugar, which can throw off your system. Avoid any processed/refined and artificial sugars. Some great alternatives are maple sugar, honey, and maple syrup or date syrup.
Plant Based Diet. While consuming organic produce is recommended for balancing hormones, the lack of specific nutrients found only in mean results in hormone imbalances. Naturally occurring Vitamin A is only found in animal meat, beta carotene is found in some produce that can be converted to Vitamin A, but it requires bile salts, which are produced by our liver when we consume fat, making fat an essential part of healthy organ performance (the need for animal products). Plant based diets also lack vitamin B-12, Omega 3’s, DHA, and quality fats. Want to know why Good Fats are Phat? I was a vegan for many years which contributed to my hormone imbalance. I still struggle to consume meat, even ethically raised, but my choice to live wins.