Getting Rid of Stretch Marks

By Dr. Jennifer Hanes

Several months ago, I sat down to play action figures with my children.  I noticed the Wonder Woman doll was missing a leg.

I inquired, “Do either of you know what happened to Wonder Woman’s other leg?”

I held my breath as I waited for the blaming to start.  But instead, my younger daughter responded,

“Mom, her legs don’t bend and it was impossible for her to sit like a lady with her legs together.  So, I just took off her leg so she could sit without them being apart.”

Radical, yes. But it was a good example of thinking outside the box!  She did not just give up or run to me to solve the problem.  The answer might not have been the ideal, but it met her criteria and assuaged her concern.  And that, is what led me to my super stretch mark solution.

I used to be so fat I was just a few pounds shy of morbid obesity.  And while I knew I should  lose weight, I dreaded that my body would always be plagued by ugly stretch marks.  When the Wonder Woman incident occurred, I had lost around thirty pounds (today, more than seventy), and it was disheartening to see the ever present stretch marks.  Short of surgery, there is no cure for these marks, but thanks to inspiration from my daughter, I began to search for new paradigms.  In other words, step outside the box.

I began a daily regimen of easy abdominal exercises that I can do anywhere, and anytime.  I just tense my tummy as tight as I can and hold it for a few seconds.  I also began holding myself in a “plank” position (illustrated here) which helped to firm me up as well and it only takes a minute or two.  Finally, I began a yoga class, just one time per week.  That is all.  Within just two weeks, these small changes dramatically helped my abdomen change appearance thanks to firmer muscles underneath.

As for the skin, it seems that many of us avoid touching those parts of our body we find to be less than ideal.  If stretch marks are plaguing you rub them with lotion, a lot.  Not only will you soften the skin and give it a firmer appearance, but the action of rubbing also brings more blood flow to the area helping deliver oxygen and nutrients.  The best time to do this is just after bathing, and remember, the more the better.  Additionally, about once a week apply a facial scrub to stretch marks to help any dead skin cells to slough leaving behind softer skin.  And of course, drink lots of water to stay well hydrated from the inside as well.  Dehydrated skin appears dull and old.  These easy steps can change the appearance of your body.

And while I still have stretch marks, they are no longer noticeable from across the room.  I am no longer embarrassed if my shirt rises up and my midsection is bare for a few moments.  For me, that is a huge victory.  I had a problem, but was able to improve it so that I no longer expend mental energy thinking about it.

If stretch marks are plaguing you, here is my prescription;

1. See your doctor.
If your stretch marks are new, they could be a sign of an underlying condition.

2.Lose weight.
As the area shrinks, the stretch marks will reduce dramatically.

3. Tone the area.
Firming the underlying muscle will help to give the area a more even appearance.

4. Improve your skin.
Stay hydrated, use a scrub once per week, and apply lotion to the area twice daily.

While there may not be a complete cure for the common stretch mark, there is definitely room for improvement.  With some simple steps, we can all feel like Wonder Woman.  Here is to the superhero within each one of us. . .

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A board certified emergency physician, Jennifer Hanes, D.O., discovered that patients have greater success when they understand their bodies.  With that unique philosophy, she founded Empowered Medicine, PLLC, where knowledge is powerful medicine.  She empowers patients with her articles, motivational speeches and private consultations.  You can learn more at www.DrHanes.com