If you’ve been in the gym working hard to get your body to look a certain way, it can be frustrating if you find stretch marks on your arms or shoulders.
Most people work out to look and feel better, but stretch marks can ruin this.
Does Muscle Growth Cause Stretch Marks?
Yes, frequent fat or muscle gain will stretch the skin and can cause stretch marks. Those using performance enhancing drugs or dirty bulking are more susceptible. Here’s all the methods you can apply to reduce and prevent the appearance of them.
Causes Of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are caused due the skin stretching. Their severity depends on genetics and the degree of stress put on the skin. The stress hormone, cortisol plays a big role as it weakens elastic fibers in the skin.
They occur when the elastic middle layer of skin called the dermis is stretched. This results in a breakdown of connective tissue and inflammation which causes a scar to form.
They can vary in appearance, from indented steaks or lines, to pink, red, black or blue purple streaks. They can be found all over the body including the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, arms or other places.
You can contact a doctor if they cover very large portions of the body.
Pregnancy, rapid adolescent growth, rapid weight gain or loss, intense bodybuilding or weightlifting are all causes of stretch marks.
Bodybuilders try to put on as much mass as possible, stretching the skin rapidly and increasing the possibility of stretch marks. Note that anabolic steroids increase this possibility as they cause even greater amounts of muscle growth.
Stretch marks don’t have any negative effects on the body and are just aesthetically unappealing for most.
There are a few different types. First are small micro stretch marks that are usually from a growth spurt in adolescents and can’t be helped.
Bodybuilders are also susceptible to these as they gain fat quickly over their entire body. This will usually happen in dirty bulking phase where packing on as much size as possible is the goal.
These usually appear on the upper arm area.
The other type is dermal tears which happen from very quick growth, usually from quick muscle gain, rather than fat gain. Those taking anabolic steroids have a high chance of experiencing this as their muscles are growing at a very fast rate.
There are cases of them becoming so serious that they can bleed and puss.
How To Reduce Stretch Marks
A high percentage of people in the gym are there to look a certain way. They wish to put on muscle and have an aesthetically appealing physique. However, if you have big stretch marks across your skin due to muscle gain, this can really contradict the looking better part of working out.
Note that the easiest way to deal with them is to just leave them. They won’t affect your health in any way and aren’t dangerous to you. This is not the case though and many people do not want them.
This is understandable. If you’re willing to put all this effort in at the gym to get a nice looking body, you don’t want stretch marks to ruin this goal.
How do you mitigate the appearance of them if you’ve already got them?
There are many stretch creams available on the market. I would suggest checking out this one for a very affordable price on Amazon.
It’s Palmer’s Cocoa Butter which is rated as the best stretch mark cream by byrdie.com. It contains plenty of different ingredients proven to reduce the look of stretch marks.
Look for ingredients such as Aloe Vera, coconut oil, vitamin E. Aloe Vera is a natural skin healing agent and a skin softener. It may also help minimize the appearance of stretch marks.
Vitamin A is a reinoid which means that it makes skin appear smoother or more youthful. Taking vitamin A or applying it can make the skin look healthier.
Coconut oil helps heal the skin, which is great when treating stretch marks. It has been studied and proven to help skin wounds heal faster. It is also anti-aging and encourages collagen production.
Collagens are a protein in the body that help repair body tissue.
Sugar can also be applied directly onto stretch marks and used as an exfoliant. It will scrub away dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of the stretch marks.
Try using a derma roller. They cause micro-tears in the skin that causes it to secrete collagen fibers which helps heal up the tears. This also increases blood flow which furthers heals up scar tissue.
Self-tanners and makeup can also be used to cover up and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Laser therapy is always an option if scar tissue persists. The lasers will stimulate collagen or elastin in your skin to grow.
Tretinoin cream can also be used as it works by restoring collagen. It’s a topical cream containing retinoic acid that can be used to treat early stretch marks.
Now you’ve learned what to do if you have stretch marks. What if you are wondering how you can prevent them?
Nutrition is key. Eat less processed foods and aim for more nutrients dense foods. Note that women, overweight people, having pale skin, being pregnant, or using corticosteroid medications all increase prevalence of stretch marks.
Avoid performance enhancing drugs as they can dry out the skin and alter hormonal levels, increasing the possibility of stretch marks.
They will also cause accelerated growth which is too fast for the skin to handle and results in stretch marks.
Avoid sudden weight gain or weight loss. To do this, only eat in slight surplus if you are trying to gain weight of 200-300 calories above you maintenance calories. The same is true for a deficit.
Losing weight in a gradual manner can reduce stretch marks and provide plenty of health benefits. If you’re looking for a great product to assist you in your weight loss journey, I couldn’t recommend this one enough. It actually increases your metabolism and has amazing reviews.
Moisturize your skin daily using products with cocoa butter and vitamin A and E.
Staying hydrated is a great way to keep your skin hydrated and soft as dry skin tends to develop stretch marks more frequently. If you are drinking beverages that dehydrate you such as coffee, make sure to drink extra water.
Keep stress levels low as cortisol is a factor leading to stress marks. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising, reducing stress triggers, practicing relaxation techniques, and examining your values are all ways you can reduce stress in your life.
Leave ant questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!