Stretch marks, or striae, appear as pink/purple streaks on the skins surface and are associated with rapid growth or weight loss often experienced during pregnancy, growth spurts and bodybuilding. They are a form of skin scarring caused by stretching of the dermis (middle layer of the skin) which in turn causes abnormal surface structure due to the lack of support from underneath.
Pictured: stretch marks on the front felt and pec
Stretch marks are hereditary and the type of collagen and elastin you have can predetermine the likelihood of a person developing them. They can affect any area of the skin that is exposed to rapid stretching, however they do most commonly occur in the following areas: arms, chest, abdomen, lower back, hips, thighs and buttocks.
Unfortunately stretch marks cannot be prevented, however there are ways that you can reduce your risk of developing stretch marks as well as treatments for those who already have them. They are:
Reduce your risk:
- Keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Additionally use a rich lotion or cream to hydrate problem areas i.e. Vitamin E cream
- Supplement with multivitamins and minerals that promote healthy skin i.e. vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc & silicon
- Avoid rapid weight gain and weight loss i.e try increasing or reducing calories slowly over time
- Avoid heavy bulking in the off-season. We suggest you try reverse dieting and make it your goal to increase your lean muscle mass rather then fat
- Laser stretch mark removal has produced positive results for many patients however it can be expensive
- Apply a rich lotion or cream such as Vitamin E cream to problem areas- coconut oil has also been reported to assist the appearance of stretch marks. Generally these are not as effective as laser removal but may improve the appearance of stretch marks with regular use.
- Stretch marks will fade with time and eventually appear less aggressive in colour
- Get a fake tan! Fake tan is great for a quick, temporary fix.
If you have developed stretch marks you are not alone! A lot of people suffer from stretch marks and most bodybuilders we know have them! So really, if you don't have stretch marks... do you even lift?
Pictured: Adam Rochester training in the Platinum Hoodie and Lift Shorts
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