During winter, when we tend to dress more heavily, it’s easy to overlook some of our bodily cosmetic concerns. Out of sight, out of mind. When the weather starts to warm, many suddenly find themselves seized of a “get ready for bikini season” mindset. Whether or not you intend to don a bikini, you should still seek to attain flawless skin.
Good thing for us, with the raw food diet and its anti-aging benefits, time is on our side. So let’s start now eliminating—or, better, preventing—those insidious little lines that appear for many of us as stretch marks. Get a jump on the season, and no matter what you’re wearing (or not wearing) this summer, your skin will look its glowing best.
Stretch marks, called striae, have their cause in rapid stretching of the skin, especially when the skin is not hydrated enough to withstand it. Avoiding rapid weight gain or loss is of utmost importance in their prevention. Striae most often look like shiny red or purple bands or stripes that become glossy, whitish, and resemble scar tissue. They might also be slightly depressed in relation to surrounding skin.
There are two theories as to exactly why striae develop. One is that the skin stretches so fast it tears, forming scar tissue. The other theory is that increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) prevent connective tissue from forming, weakening the dermal layer, which then tears.
Striae appear when someone gains weight quickly, or during pregnancy, or in the presence of some medical conditions such as Cushing disease, diabetes, or when someone has used cortisone compounds for long periods of time.
The second layer of your skin, the dermis, contains both elastin and collagen. Collagen is a structural protein making up about 75 per cent of the organ we call skin. Striae actually begin with the stretching and breakdown of collagen, causing interference in the natural order of the collagen fibers.
You want to ensure adequate collagen synthesis in your body by consuming foods rich in Vitamin C, if you are noticing stretch marks. Among its many other benefits, Vitamin C is a major player in collagen production. Fortunately, there are so many raw foods that are rich in Vitamin C that our job is easy. Try collard greens, kale, and red peppers. Add, of course an assortment of citrus such as oranges, grapefruit and lemon. The body doesn’t store Vitamin C, so you must consume it daily. Eating a good hydrating raw food diet, rich in Vitamin C, is your first line of defense against stretch marks.
Exfoliation is your next best friend. Stretch marks will respond quite well to consistent dry skin brushing. Out with the old, in with the new! Collagen production is stimulated by removing dead cells on the skin’s surface to encourage new cell production. You want to slough off the old, deformed collagen and allow new, healthy cells to take their place.
This takes time, but it will happen. In the meantime, some people have had success in reducing the appearance of striae by massaging regular 3% hydrogen peroxide into them daily.
The Rolling Bed of Pins is an invaluable aid to your skin’s natural healing process. Using it not only helps promote the breakdown of scar tissue, but the gentle action of the pins helps stimulate circulation and the production of new, healthier skin cells, filling in stretch marks and restoring elasticity.
Avoid overexposure to the sun, even though you want to gently sunbathe every day, especially during the hottest hours of the day, as this will only serve to further break down and damage new skin cells. Be responsible with your daily sunbathing—overexposure will do nothing but defeat your purpose.
As with most things, remember to be patient. Give your body time to make the improvements you are striving for. If it is too late for you to avoid stretch marks by practicing prevention, you can, with time, drastically minimize them by focusing on two simple concepts. First, form healthy skin from within with a hydrating raw food diet. Second, exfoliate to shed the old layers of less than healthy tissue. If you feel the need, apply a little pure coconut oil after your skin care regimen to keep your new healthy skin supple and glowing.
Now, where did you hide that bikini?