Stretch Marks From Working Out: Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Stretch marks are associated with pregnancy or rapid weight gain; however, they may also develop if you build muscle too quickly. When you do this, your skin stretches beyond its capacity and this leads to the formation of stretch marks.

Common areas where you could develop stretch marks when you work out are arms, back, thighs, and chest.

Prevention is always the best remedy, but, if you have already developed stretch marks, here’s what you can do to get rid of them.

What Causes Stretch Marks From Working Out?

Stretch marks are formed when the elastic mid layer of the skin known as the dermis gets stretched. Stretching results in a breakdown of the connective tissue, inflammation, and scar formation as the injury begins to heal. Scarring causes stretch marks to develop.

It’s rather common that they develop when your muscle mass increases too quickly and stretches the skin and occasionally when body builders use high doses of steroids for several months they manifest stretch marks. They are not a health risk, but are cosmetically undesirable.

How To Prevent And Treat Stretch Marks?

Topical creams and lotions are essentially ineffective and costly too; and there is no medication to prevent or remove them.

Since the stretch marks are due to a rapid increase in your muscle mass due to weight lifting you need to confer with your health care provider as well as gym instructor. They may recommend decreasing the intensity of the workouts in those areas of the body which have been afflicted, so as to prevent the muscle mass from increasing rapidly. Use lighter weights and increase the number of repetitions to build muscle.

  • In case the stretch marks have developed on the arms, you should try reducing the weights during biceps curls, triceps press-downs and kickbacks, and other forms of exercises that work the muscle under the skin where the stretch marks appear.
  • Alongside, reducing your body fat will be helpful, given that, stretch marks appear more in fatty areas of the body.
  • Make sure that you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins are vital for good skin health and they pep up collagen production too. This is important as collagen is crucial for a healthy skin and fills in the gaps where the over-stretched skin dimples and dents. Vitamin C rich foods, such as, citrus fruits, bell peppers, guavas, and berries boost collagen production.
  • Visit your dermatologist to get a prescription for tretinoin cream. Apply tretinoin directly to the stretch marks every day. This helps enhance the production of collagen beneath the skin, and helps fill in stretch marks to some extent.
  • Laser therapy is advised by a lot of experts too. Undertake laser therapy with a non-ablative laser; a pulsed dye laser heats up the deeper layers of the tissue and stimulates the manufacture of elastin and collagen. You may require several sessions.
  • Consult your health care provider before embarking up on any treatments for stretch marks.
  • Remember that with all these treatments, in time the red – purple stretch marks will fade away to white and become less obvious.
  • Also, always use sun block until the stretch marks have healed. They turn dark if exposed to the ultra violet rays.

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