As bodybuilders, we are trying to create a beautiful, well sculpted body. Imperfect scars are the last thing we want to see. To some, these are "badges of honor". But, if you're like me, you would rather not have them. In this article, we are going to discuss, what exactly stretch marks are, the reasons people get them, and possible ways to treat them.
The second layer of skin is called the Dermis. The Dermis is responsible for producing collagen and elastic fibers, which give our skin that smooth look. This is the layer where stretch marks occur.
The third layer of skin is called the Hypodermis. This layer is made up of fat and connective tissues.
What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks, also known as stria atrophica and striae distensae, are tears in the dermis. Stretch marks are often falsely classified as scars, though they are not. "... they are not scars because they are not comprised of fibrotic tissue. Instead, stretch marks represent a flattened, thin epidermis overlying gaps in the dermis left by stretched or torn elastin fibers."(1)
Our skin has elastic properties, but growing too fast can "overstretch" the skin's elastic limit. A good way to illustrate this is with a sock. Most socks have elastic in them, so they tightly form around your ankle. This elastic is stretched when we put on and take off the sock.
After time, and wear, the sock's elastic becomes overstretched and no longer fits tightly on out ankles. It looks pretty stupid when you're wearing shorts and your socks are hanging off your ankles. This goes the same for stretch marks. When the skin is overstretched, it loses its elastic property and its connective fibers break, which creates a stretch mark.
Stretch Mark Coloring
The skin tone determines what color your stretch marks will be. The usually start as pink, reddish brown, or dark brown lines. The stretch marks could turn to red, dark red, or a purplish shade. As time goes by, stretch marks do natural fade to a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone. Making them less noticeable.
What Are Some Causes of Stretch Marks
- Rapidly gaining weight (Bulking cycle)
- Skin Type
- Poor Diet
- Sudden Environmental Change
Ways to Help Prevent Stretch Marks
A Balanced Diet - Drinking water and taking your vitamins can prevent stretch marks.
Exercise - Improves Circulation
Not Smoking (Which, as bodybuilders, you shouldn't be doing anyways) - Tobacco is known to cause skin to lose its elasticity.
Remedies for Stretch Marks
Most people will tell you that you cannot get rid of stretch marks, but you can improve there appearance. Some common remedies for stretch marks are:
Medical and Surgical
Laser Therapy - Has the possibility to permanently remove stretch marks
Dermabrasion - Removing the superficial part of the skin
Peeling - Chemical peels used to try to renew the skin
These products remove the dead cells from the epidermis and cause the dermis to make more collagen. This can help smoothen out the skin's appearance.
Remedies I Have Tried
Vitamin E - No noticeable change
Cocoa butter - No noticeable change
Fish Oil - No noticeable change
Vitamin E and Fish Oil - No noticeable change
Vitamin E and Cocoa Butter Cream - Applying now
Mederma - Mederma is a product that is supposed to get rid of scars and stretch marks. I applied this product for two months with no results at all.
Well, it's almost fall, which means most of us are going to begin bulking. One way we can reduce the risk of getting or worsening stretch marks is to bulk clean. This will reduce the amount of fat we put on, and the extra unwanted stretch to out dermis.
Another way that we can help prevent stretch marks is by supplementing with ZMA. Zinc promotes the production of collagen. By increasing the production of collagen, our skin can keep its elasticity. It's important to take care of our bodies, especially are skin. You can always buy new socks, but you can't buy new skin. Stay smooth.
I will be trying Barmon's Skin Care Stretch Mark Cream, check back for updates!!