Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Are you experiencing stretch marks and want to get rid of them? Do you want to know how and why they form?
Or are you a professional looking to get more information on stretch marks?
In this article, I'll discuss what stretch marks are, how they form, and some of the best ways to help get rid of them.
Table of Contents:
What are Stretch Marks?
The following is quoted from Wikipedia.
"Stretch marks, also known as striae, are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. Over time they may diminish, but will not disappear completely. Stretch marks form during rapid growth of the body, such as during puberty or pregnancy. In pregnancy they usually form during the last trimester, and usually on the belly, but also commonly occur on the breasts, thighs, hips, lower back and buttocks."
Stretch marks commonly appear on athletes such as bodybuilders and strength athletes, this is because they are forcing their body to grow at a rapid rate.
This can be exaggerated if a person uses supplements and illegal, muscle building hormones and chemicals such as anabolic steroids and IGF-1.
They are usually known as stretch marks, however, their medical and scientific name is actually "striae", there are a list of other names for stretch marks including striae atrophicae, vergetures, stria distensae, striae cutis distensae and more.
Signs & Symptoms of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks begin as reddish or purple lesions or marks, which can appear anywhere on the body, but are most likely to appear in places where larger amounts of fat are stored.
The most common places stretch marks form are the abdomen (especially near the navel), breasts, upper arms, underarms, back, thighs, hips, and buttocks.
In the case of bodybuilders and athletes, stretch marks usually form on and around the shoulders, chest, arms, legs and back.
Over time, stretch marks tend to shrink and lose some or all of their pigmentation and colour.
Causes of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are caused by the stretching of skin.
This can be due to rapid growth of body tissues, usually this happens during puberty when the body is growing rapidly.
Stretch marks can be caused by a range of reasons, such as:
Bodybuilding and strength training.
Using drugs such as anabolic steroids and other hormones.
Certain medical conditions.
You may be more likely the experience stretch marks if other genetically-related family members have had stretch marks before, if you often don't drink enough water and if you use a corticosteroid medication.
An increase in cortisone levels can promote the probability and the severity of stretch marks by reducing the skin's pliability; more specifically, it affects the dermis (a layer of the skin) by preventing fibroblasts forming collagen and elastin fibres, which is necessary to keep rapidly growing skin taut.
This can create a lack of supportive material as the skin is stretched, and therefore leads to the skin tearing, which will produce the stretch marks.
This is particularly the case when there is new tissue growth (which can interfere with the underlying physical support of the dermis or epidermis, by displacing the supportive tissue).
Medical conditions that can contribute to the production of stretch marks include Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, Marfan syndrome, and other adrenal gland diseases and conditions.
These are usually caused by increased cortisone and steroid hormones.
Stretch marks caused by pregnancy, also known as striae gravidarum, is a specific form of scarring of the skin of the abdominal area which is due to rapid expansion of the uterus as well as sudden weight gain during pregnancy.
About 90% of women are affected by these types of stretch marks.
Weight gain can cause stretch marks whether that's by fat growth or muscle growth, or even during puberty when adolescent growth spurts.
This is usually the type of stretch marks experienced by bodybuilders, athletes and people suffering with obesity.
This is caused by the physical stretching and tearing of the dermis and skin.
Do Stretch Marks Go Away?
Sometimes when the cause of the stretching is no longer a factor, stretch marks will slowly disappear over time and they will usually fade to a less noticeable scar.
However, they usually will not completely disappear.
Usually the only way to completely remove stretch marks and make them disappear is with the help of a dermatologist or other health professional.
How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
So you want to get rid of stretch marks?
Because stretch marks usually don't disappear fully, and there are really only a few good ways to help reduce them, such as the following.
Drink more water.
Use bio-oil on stretch marks.
Use a dermal roller on stretch marks.
Moisturise more often.
These most likely won't completely remove stretch marks, however they are probably your best bet in helping to remove them.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks
Preventing stretch marks is much easier than removing them.
To prevent stretch marks, you should try and use similar techniques as you would to remove them.
This means you should try to drink more water and use bio-oil on dry skin and any places which are likely to have stretch marks, and if any signs of stretch marks appear use bio-oil on them once or twice a day.
You should also use a dermal roller on weak areas of skin in order to promote growth of new skin and help thicken it up.
Finally, moisturising may help improve pliability of the skin, and if you are taking steroid medication, talk with your doctor about alternative options.
Written by Billy White
Billy White is a qualified Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer. He is an aspiring bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, and health and fitness researcher.
He has multiple years of experience within the fitness, bodybuilding and health space. He is committed to providing the highest-quality information.
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