Muscle Growth Stretch Marks – Prevention and Treatment
Who Can Get Stretch Marks?
A huge amount of people believe that stretch lines are an ailment that only occur because of huge weight gain – whether this be because of an unhealthy gain in fat, or else an unfortunate side effect of the more healthier gaining of weight that occurs with pregnancy.
Some people actually even also believe that such tears in the skin are something that only females can suffer from. They believe this because they associate this skin ailment with pregnancy. Now, it is true that stretch lines are a common side effect of being pregnant. This then obviously has the knock on effect of resulting in women being more susceptible to this ailment than their male counterparts.
However, to believe any of the above is factually incorrect. Men too are susceptible to gaining skin marks. Also, this skin issue is not just limited to gains associated with the gains of becoming obese or pregnant. It is very possible, and quite common, to have stretch marks appear on your body because you gain large amounts of muscle over a short period of time.
But why does this happen? Gaining muscle mass is a healthy body change isn’t it? I’ll look at these questions next!
Why Do Stretch Lines Appear?
Well, firstly, let me explain how they occur. For a broader article on this topic, please look at my Complete Guide on this issue - Stretch Marks: Prevention and Treatment. For now, let me give you the short and sweet version.
Stretch marks occur when our bodies undergo great change in a short period of time in terms of weight or size. This great change causes our skin to expand at a rate that is too quick for our collagen production to keep up. Collagen is a protein in our skin that is responsible for keeping that skin strong and flexible. So, when this protein fails to adapt to a sudden growth in the skin, tears can appear.
These tears occur deep within our skin – this is why we don’t feel them happening. Then, when our skin returns to a more normal version of itself, we will see that anomalies have appeared in the form of dark lines on our skin. This is why stretch marks will only be evident when the weight has been lost in terms of pregnancy or obesity. But they can also appear when the swelling in our muscles dissipate after training.
This last mentioned occurrence is why we’re here discussing this issue so let’s get to it!
So, Why Do Tears Occur After Hard Training?
As alluded to at the end of the previous section, tears in our skin can appear on a person’s body after a heavy duty weight session. This is because the body has undergone severe stress and change in a very short period of time.
When a person does a serious weight session, the result is that our muscles expand well beyond their normal size. This is why people look absolutely jacked immediately after a training session!
The problem is that this rapid growth can sometimes cause our collagen mechanism to become strained. Lines in our skin can then be the result. They will appear when the muscles return to a more normal size as your skin does the same.
Who is Affected by Such Tears?
Again, there is a common misconception when it comes to this topic. Many believe that it is just bodybuilders who are open to stretch marks appearing because of the intensity and regularity in which they train. This is half true – this issue is indeed a common occurrence and everyday threat for bodybuilders.
The muscles and skin of a bodybuilder undergoes dramatic change when he or she is training. This is especially true for those bodybuilders who are constantly training in the buildup to competitions. So, therefore, it is correct to say that bodybuilders are quite susceptible to this skin ailment.
However, and this is something that isn’t generally known, anybody who is doing heavy training can have a stretch line appear on their body. True, it’s not as common as with bodybuilders because the training isn’t as extreme, but yet it’s still possible for the average gym goer to gain such marks.
Where Will They Occur?
Such areas that are constantly under threat from stretch marks for bodybuilders or any weight lifters are the biceps, shoulders, and thighs. These are the areas that undergo the greatest muscle expansion which then leads to a rapid stretching of the skin.
Though, in saying this, these tears can occur in pretty much any area that experiences a quick muscle expansion. It’s rare for them to occur on places like the back, chest, or abdomen because these muscle areas are either quite large or else have plenty of skin in which to adapt to the temporary muscle swelling.
Ways to Avoid Training Related Stretch Lines
It’s important to note that the very nature of bodybuilding, or any muscle growing endeavor, goes against common logic regarding stretch lines. The goal of lifting weight is to grow your muscle mass in a short period of time – this is the aim of the game. However, as explained, increasing muscle mass in a quick fashion is a sure fire way to gain skin tears along with your muscle!
Don’t lose all hope just yet, though. 😉 This article would be pretty useless if I didn’t mention some methods that could help you prevent this issue from occurring after your training! Below are some tried and tested methods that will help you with your prevention efforts.
Method 1: Maintain a Nutritious & Varied Diet
This is something that goes hand in hand with bodybuilding or indeed any type of training regime. Food is fuel and if you are not putting the right fuel into your body then you won’t see the results that you were aiming for.
However, when it comes to prevention, there are a few specific foods and nutrients that are needed in order to keep your skin healthy and supple. As explained before, keeping your skin strong and flexible is key to keeping stretch marks at bay.
But which foods are the ones that supply this strength and elasticity? In particular, foods or supplements that are rich in Vitamin C and D; zinc; and anti-oxidants are a brilliant way of giving your skin those badly needed nutrients. These will boost your skin’s overall health and ability to accommodate any muscle growth.
In addition, staying hydrated is absolutely vital to maintaining healthy skin. The majority of people do not drink enough water on a daily basis; it’s actually quite a tricky thing to maintain a healthy water intake! It takes a conscious effort but it’s one that is definitely worth it.
Method 2: Aim for Gradual Muscle Growth
This method can be quite difficult to adhere to. I’ve mentioned how bodybuilding and weight training is very counterproductive when it comes to trying to avoid skin tears – the aims of both inevitably clash, with the result being that the former usually results in the latter appearing.
The best way of trying to grow your muscle mass in a controlled, gradual manner rather than an explosive one is to adopt a steady, progressive workout program. It’s far better to have a weight program that will result in long term results rather than super hard in the beginning and not lasting the test of time. This secondary approach also can result in skin tears.
Training at a steady and clever pace will importantly allow your skin to adapt more naturally to the changes that are occurring because of the weight training. The key to such a program is to incorporate plenty of rest in it. This will allow your body to grow and to hopefully avoid any skin lines cropping up.
Method 3: Moisturise Regularly
Forget about prevention, moisturizing on a daily basis is something everybody should being do regardless! A top quality moisturizer is a must have in a health and beauty regime. Such a product supplies our skin with those badly needed nutrients as well ensuring that we stay hydrated.
I like to think of a moisturizer as something that works with a healthy diet. The diet supplies everything that we need on the inside of our bodies, while the moisturizer makes sure we’re kept healthy on the outside.
In terms of stretch marks, ingredients like Vitamin A and E; shea butter; and cocoa butter are often found in top quality moisturizers. These particular ingredients are brilliant for helping the skin stay supple and strong.
For an example of a top class moisturizing agent, take a look at Zenmed’s version. It’s listed as Product No. 7 in the table of contents.
What if Lines Have Already Formed?
If it’s the case that stretch lines are already present on your body, then the preventive methods outlined above obviously aren’t as helpful. Though, in saying this, they are still good ideas to follow in order to avoid future issues.
However, if you have lines, then there are options that you can take to minimize them to the point which they are pretty much invisible. Below are what I believe are the best steps that you can take to achieve this.
1: Quality Stretch Mark Cream
(Our Top Choice)
This is probably the most effective way of dealing with existing stretch lines. Such creams have been specifically designed to treat such an ailment by nullifying the damage caused by your skin tearing. This will greatly reduce the appearance of the line.
A key note to remember is that you treat this issue as a soon as you can. This will greatly increase the effect that the cream has. Though, in saying this, the top creams on the market today are quite capable of minimizing marks that have been present for years.
The top creams, and the application of one, help to promote recovery in your skin by supplying it with oxygen and vital nutrients. While the damage of skin tears can never truly be healed, a quality cream can do wonders in aiding your skin to recover to a sufficient level.
During our research into this topic, myself and the Health Base Team tried and tested quite a few of the leading brands. Personally, the one that stood out for me was the cream created by TrilAstin. You can read about this product in my TrilAstin-SH Review if you’re interested. This particular brand have a package that is specifically designed to target muscle related skin tears.
2: Light Therapy Treatment
This one is a bit of a hit and miss in that there isn’t a whole ton of medical research or customer testimonials to back it up. The principle behind this treatment is that certain wavelengths of light have been proven to aid in the healing of skin wounds.
This type of light is infrared in design as this type penetrates deeply into the skin. This means that the deeper levels of skin can be warmed which will then encourage the natural healing process of the body. In theory, this should then promote the production of collagen and elastin which are key in maintaining skin strength and flexibility.
3: Home Microdermabrasion Kit
Microdermabrasion is a technique that has come on leaps and bounds in the health and beauty industry. It is one of the most modern and effective ways of treating a variety of skin issues – for a full in-depth look at microderm treatment feel free to view our comprehensive guide on microabrasion or else our article that outlines the Top 5 Benefits of Microdermabrasion - both these links can be found at the bottom of this page.
Microderm treatment can effectively reduce the appearance of stretch marks by manipulating the skin that has been affected. This can result in the offended area becoming softer and more even in skin tone to the surrounding skin.
It must be pointed out that it’s best to use a microdermabrasion kit in conjunction with something like a top level cream. The microderm machine works to soften the area where the tear has occured which then allows for better levels of penetration for the cream.
Click the following if you’d like to read our short review of the best microdermabrasion kit on the market today.
I hope this article has eased your worries in regards to stretch lines. These tears are in no way threatening to our health, proven by countless people having them and not being all that bothered about it!
However, there is an aesthetic element to tears in skin and it’s no shame if you want to avoid, or get rid of, them. This can be achieved by following the methods and steps that I’ve outlined in this article. If you have any queries or bits of advice, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 🙂
Until next time, stay healthy & happy,