Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez. Photo: Georgina Vaughan Photography
Stretch marks: the one body flaw women are conditioned to fear from the time they hit puberty. It isn’t unusual to hear an expectant mother express concern over the possibility of gaining stretch marks. However, few young women realize that stretch marks are not reserved simply as a side effect of bringing a new life into the world. “Tiger stripes,” as some refer to them, can affect women of any age and ethnicity. Unfortunately, stretch marks may detract from the overall confidence of a contestant. Luckily, there are many tricks that can help an aspiring pageant queen hide these blemishes during the competition.
About Stretch Marks
Stretch marks occur when the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching. When the skin is overstretched, the normal production of collagen (major protein that makes up the connective tissue layer of skin) is disrupted, which results in scars known as stretch marks. Women are often surprised or even shocked to see stretch marks appear on their body. Personally, I remember finding out I had stretch marks after a friend pointed them out while I was wearing a bathing suit. I was extremely confused at first because I hadn’t noticed them before. I still remember the immediate sense of embarrassment I felt. At only 15 or 16 years old, I was confused as to how I could even have stretch marks.
As someone who has suffered from stretch marks since her teens, I completely understand the emotional anxiety one may feel displaying these during a pageant competition. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to hide or even heal stretch marks before you compete.
1. Medical camouflage
I talked to expert aesthetician Renata Roddy of Roddy MedSpa about some of the ways to hide the dreaded stretch marks. Roddy said that contestants may opt for a "medical camouflage," a service offered by Roddy MedSpa, and other medspas, to hide his or her stretch marks.
Medical camouflage for a stretch marks, and even scars, is a tattooing method in which different color flesh tone pigments are used to camouflage the stretch marks. This pigment is used to disguise the area that is missing color.
2. Use a body cover up cream.
There are various makeup creams on the market that can temporarily hide your stretch marks. The most well-known, Dermablend, is available at large makeup stores such as Sephora or Ulta Beauty. It comes in a multitude of shades which allows women to perfectly match it to their skin tones. It works great at covering up a wide range of skin blemishes including bruises, scars, stretch marks and even tattoos. Creams are perfect when you need a quick fix during the swimsuit or evening gown competition.
However, I cannot stress the importance of being careful when using such methods. I had a HUGE mishap at my last pageant because I put my bathing suit on before allowing the cream to fully dry. I ended up having a huge brown stain on the back of my peach colored bathing suit bottoms. Thankfully, one of my fellow contestants allowed me to use her stain remover pen which completely removed the stain. Always put your article of clothing on before applying the cream so you can be sure to stay clear of the edges or be sure to allow it to dry completely before getting dressed. Just remember that a huge stain will look a thousand times worse than a couple of stretch marks on stage.
2. Improvise with concealer and powder.
If you don’t have time to purchase a cover up cream you can improvise using a waterproof concealer. It is best to choose a concealer with green undertones because it will work best to cover up red toned stretch marks. Definitely use a foundation brush to help apply the product to the desired area. Also, try using a setting spray or powder after applying to your body. We've heard Kat Von D's Lock It Foundation is really good, check it out!
Using a deep body scrub containing coffee grounds the night before competition may give off the look of tighter, leaner skin during the pageant. Coffee grounds contain caffeine which draws out extra moisture from your skin leaving it feeling firmer. Here’s a quick DIY coffee body scrub recipe: Ingredients: 1 cup coffee grounds 1/2 cup white or brown sugar 1 cup coconut oil Directions: Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Gently massage the scrub onto wet skin and rinse with warm water. The scrub will help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite and leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated.
Using an over the counter streak-free self-tanning product can help cover up stretch marks especially on your legs. This may be the best choice if you are trying to conceal older white colored stretch marks.
5. Removal Creams
There are loads of lotions on the market claiming to remove or even heal stretch marks. Although I have not tried any of these myself, others have claimed to see improvements in the appearance of their stretch marks when using these medicated lotions. Just remember that changes to the skin take time. Even the best creams on the market won’t be able to remove your stretch marks overnight. If you do decide to choose this option you will need to begin this regimen at least a couple of months prior to your pageant. Even so, there is no guarantee that changes will be seen.
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