How To Prevent Stretch Marks 2023: 4 Tips To Know 

Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

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How To Prevent Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are a common feature among many individuals worldwide, with approximately 90 percent of Americans reporting stretch marks on their bodies[1]. They are not life-threatening nor do they negatively affect the body in any way, shape, or form but in spite of this, their presence can make some self-conscious.

Stretch marks happen when the skin is forced to stretch rapidly to accommodate different changes that may be happening to the body. These changes can range from growth spurts among adolescents to pregnancy; to counteract these, there are several natural remedies and dermatological technologies. In this blog, we will be sharing tips you can try on how you can not only prevent stretch marks but how to get rid of stretch marks as well.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are often caused by stretching of the skin as we have previously seen, and one of the most common ways our skin stretches is through weight gain. If you are pregnant, a time when your skin needs to stretch quickly in a short period of time. The stretching of your skin can significantly increase your susceptibility to getting stretch marks. This happens to around eight out of 10 pregnant women according to the NHS[2].

How To Prevent Stretch Marks
There are several ways to prevent stretch marks

What Causes Stretch Marks? 

Stretch marks happen when the middle layer of your skin otherwise known as the dermis becomes stretched and broken in several places. When your skin is subjected to expansion or rapid growth it can cause the collagen and elastic fibers that maintain its elasticity to tear. After the tearing when the skin starts healing itself, scar tissue forms. The scar tissue surrounding the tear is what becomes stretch marks[3].

The several factors that contribute to the appearance of stretch marks on your skin are as follows:


As the body changes and expands to accommodate the baby, there is a high chance that the skin of the mother will stretch hence causing stretch marks. The skin will stretch particularly around the abdomen, thighs, hips, and sometimes the mother’s breasts making the knowledge of how to prevent stretch marks when pregnant essential.

Additionally, hormones are also contributors to stretch marks among pregnant women. The two main hormones are cortisol and estrogen; the rising levels of estrogen in the body during pregnancy affect collagen production making the skin more prone to damage such as tearing when stretched.

The body needs cortisol during pregnancy to help manage the stress of all the changes it is undergoing.  In spite of this, high cortisol levels break down collagen and elastin fibers on the skin increasing the susceptibility of stretch marks on the skin.

Growth spurts

This period of rapid growth when an adolescent’s height and weight increase significantly in a relatively short period of time is a great contributor to stretch marks for adolescents. The sudden changes in body size cause the skin to stretch in order to accommodate the growth.

Weight gain or loss

Loose skin may also appear after weight loss this is because gaining or losing weight quickly can cause the skin to stretch hence causing stretch marks.

Medical conditions

Due to hormonal imbalances or the decrease in skin elasticity that can be caused by diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) or Cushing’s syndrome. Remember that these are rare medical conditions so most people do not need to worry about them.

Who Tends To Get Stretch Marks? 

Those Who Are Pregnant 

As pointed out prior, pregnancy increases the susceptibility to getting stretch marks due to the stretching of the skin around the woman’s abdomen, thighs, and hips.[4]  It is important to keep in mind that not everyone gets stretch marks during their pregnancy. There are some who do not and this can be due to preventative measures taken or genetics.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks
Stretch marks usually occur during pregnancy

Those Who Are Overweight

Gaining or losing weight can cause the skin to stretch hence causing stretch marks. This is more prominent in people who have gained or lost weight in a very short period of time. So if you are on your weight loss or gaining journey and you do not like the appearance of stretch marks,  preventative measures.may be beneficial.

Those With Certain Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions increase the likelihood of getting stretch marks due to the effects they can have on the elasticity of the skin. Examples of these are Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome.


During puberty, adolescents experience growth spurts that can lead to rapid changes in height and weight. This sudden growth can cause the skin to stretch quickly, leading to the development of stretch marks.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks? 

Drink More Water 

Proper hydration has vast benefits and one of them is increased skin elasticity due to the skin being hydrated. When the skin receives enough water, it is easier for it to maintain its elasticity, therefore, reducing the likelihood of stretch marks.

Drinking more water also helps in collagen synthesis in the skin to ensure skin elasticity is at its peak. Additionally, hydration helps collagen work effectively in the body.

To help prevent stretch marks by drinking more water, aim to consume at least six to eight glasses of water per day, or follow the recommended daily intake based on your age, gender, and activity level. Additionally, eat water-rich fruits and vegetables to supplement your water intake and support overall skin health.

Take Fruit & Vegetable Supplements 

Fruits and vegetables are incredibly helpful in ensuring your skin is at its healthiest and can potentially prevent stretch marks. This is why it is advised to use supplements to ensure you are getting the right amount every day.

These supplements often contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that aid in the production of collagen which supports skin elasticity. Furthermore, antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, vitamins like Vitamin A, and essential fatty acids like Omega-3 are some of the many supplements that can add to your skincare routine.

Fruits and vegetable supplements are great for providing nutrients and are also incredibly accessible but they should not replace a balanced diet. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or your general practitioner for the best fruit and vegetable supplements for your body. Especially if you are pregnant or have any underlying conditions.

Apply Topical Cream 

Applying topical creams[5] can help prevent stretch marks by providing the skin with essential nutrients that promote skin hydration, and support collagen production. These are especially great for pregnant women who are more prone to stretch marks.

When searching for the right topical cream for you, consider natural, plant-based ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, and many others. Vitamin-rich formulations such as vitamin E and cruelty-free and ethically sourced products are great options as well.

Consistency is key when it comes to using topical creams and the earlier you start using them during pregnancy the more effective they will be. Be sure to follow the instructions given to you by your healthcare professional or dermatologist when using topical creams.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks
Applying cream is one way of preventing stretch marks

Eat Foods Rich In Zinc

Zinc plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and can aid in preventing stretch marks. Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and lentils can be incorporated into your diet to help promote healthy skin.

Consuming these foods regularly, in combination with other preventative measures, can help reduce the likelihood of developing stretch marks. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet especially if you are pregnant or have any underlying medical conditions.

Are Stretch Marks Dangerous? 

Stretch marks are not dangerous. They are just a physical manifestation of the stretching of your skin and you should not be afraid of them because they have no adverse effects on your health.


Preventing stretch marks is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing stretch marks as outlined in this blog.

Remember that stretch marks are a normal and natural part of the body’s changes, but if you’re feeling self-conscious about them, know that there are options for treating and minimizing their appearance. Focus on self-love and acceptance, and don’t let stretch marks hold you back from feeling confident in your own skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can exercise help prevent stretch marks?

Regular exercise can improve skin elasticity and blood circulation, which can help prevent stretch marks. Incorporating strength training exercises that target the areas where stretch marks commonly occur, such as the abdomen, thighs, and arms, can also help tone and tighten the skin.

Are there any foods that can prevent stretch marks?

Foods that are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and protein can help promote healthy skin and prevent stretch marks. Examples include citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, fish, and lean meats. It is also important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Can stretch marks be completely prevented?

While there is no guaranteed way to completely prevent stretch marks, there are several measures you can take to reduce their likelihood and severity. These include maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, using topical creams and oils, and incorporating skin-boosting nutrients into your diet. It is important to remember that everyone’s skin is different, and genetics can also play a role in the development of stretch marks.

+ 6 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. Al-Shandawely, A., Ezz Eldawla, R., Yassin, fatma E.-Z. and Aboeldahab, S. (2021). An update in the etiopathogenesis of striae distensae: A review article. Sohag Medical Journal, 25(3), pp.39–44. doi:
  2. NHS Choices (2023). Stretch marks in pregnancy. [online] Available at:,your%20bump%20starts%20to%20grow. [Accessed 24 Apr. 2023].
  3. Ud-Din, S., McGeorge, D. and Bayat, A. (2016). Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae. Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, [online] 30(2), pp.211–222. doi:
  4. Kaveri Korgavkar and Wang, F. (2015). Stretch marks during pregnancy: a review of topical prevention. British Journal of Dermatology, [online] 172(3), pp.606–615. doi:
  5. Brennan, M., Young, G.C. and Devane, D. (2012). Topical preparations for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy. The Cochrane library, [online] 2012(11). doi:


Christine VanDoren, Nutritionist
Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Health & Wellness Writer
Christine VanDoren created Edge of Longevity, an online personal training company, which helps people all over the world engage in a healthier lifestyle. After becoming an NSCA certified personal trainer and ACE nutritionist, she started spending her time training in the gym and online and creating content for Edge of Longevity, all of which is about how she has worked to better herself, and in turn, hopes to help others better themselves too. She believes the healthier one is, the happier one can be, and through Edge of Longevity, she hopes to spread that happiness to people in every country, every lifestyle, of every age and gender, and ethnicity. She warmly welcomes you to this community of people trying to make a change. In addition to sharing knowledge through her personal training and nutrition services, she enjoys writing articles and blog content over any health and wellness-related topic!


Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

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