Rather than tell you about what stretch marks are and how they form, I'm going to talk about how to prevent and treat them. For those of you who don't know how stretch marks form, read this article.
First off, there are several factors that contribute to how many stretch marks you will get, and where they will form. These include rapid weight gain, nutritional deficiencies, heredity, and skin type.
The Factors That Contribute To Stretch Marks
Rapid Weight Gain
If one is a serious bodybuilder, then there is no way to avoid stretch marks (unless genetically, you are pre-determined not to get them). When you bulk and put on muscle/fat, the skin obviously has to stretch. However, you can regulate how many stretch marks you get during the bulking session. By not gaining as much weight, your skin won't have to stretch as much. You might be asking why you wouldn't want to add as much weight possible during bulking.
Well, the answer is to do it smartly. Instead of eating whatever you want in the off-season, consume lean sources of protein, complex carbohydrates, and avoid saturated fat. This way, you will be gaining all the muscle, while limiting the fat that you put on.
If your bodybuilding, chances are you already are getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats. With that being said, that leaves vitamins. Even if you don't have stretch marks, everyone should be taking a multi vitamin every morning. I could write an article all about different vitamin properties, but instead, I will write about the ones that directly affect the skin.
Vitamin A is very important for the growth of skin, and maintaining healthy bones, nails, and hair. It helps to repair injured skin, and improve dry, scaly skin. It is absorbed through the skin, and helps the skin remain soft and plump. When Vitamin A is topically applied, it stimulates the skin mitotically, and metabolically, therefore maintaining the skin in a youthful condition. Experiments have showed that Vitamin A applied topically keeps the epidermis saturated with the vitamin.
Vitamin A also stimulates the renewal process of the epidermal cells which causes thickening of the epidermis. At the same time, collagen content in the skin was increased and improvement in skin elasticity could be seen (very important!)
One of the most important roles of vitamin C is to help heal wounds and scar tissue. It is required for the synthesis of collagen, and acts as a cementing substance between skin cells. The most important role of collagen is to provide barrier for infections and diseases, and to promote healing of wounds. (Vitamin C looses its potency very quickly which can make it worthless unless used immediately. It also oxidizes very quickly when exposed to air and light. Look for vitamin C in an airtight brown glass bottle or metal tube which can block out sunlight.)
Another very important vitamin when trying to prevent stretch marks. Vitamin E is needed for the maintenance of normal body metabolism and in the protection and healing of body tissues and skin. For skin care, vitamin e is most beneficial as an anti-oxidant in preserving the health of skin tissue and membranes. It is also used to help the recovery process of post surgical scars. There are two ways to take Vitamin E. These include orally and topically. Based on personal experience, I have never gotten any good results applying the Vitamin E topically onto the stretch marks. Instead, I like to take the pills.
Quite possibly, the most essential supplement to take in the prevention of stretch marks. The most important property of zinc is the production of collagen.
Collagen holds the bodies skin tissues together. It is the most abundant structural protein and makes up 80% of all connective tissue. In fact, 75% of the dermis consists of collagen and it makes up 90% of its volume. When a person has enough collagen, it is near impossible to get stretch marks. Collagen is not available in food, so it's very essential to supplement with zinc. If you're going to supplement with it, you might as well take ZMA. Along with prevention of stretch marks, ZMA also has several muscle building qualities and can even aid with sleep.
One problem that many people have with ZMA is that they notice an increase in acne. Before I started taking it, I never got a single pimple. When I started using it, I haven't gotten anything bad, but I still get some pimples. I just think to myself "would I rather get some pimples that will go away in a week or so or get stretch marks which will never totally go away and take years to fade?" After that, I have no problem taking it.
There isn't much to say about heredity. Some people will never get stretch marks no matter how bad their diet is or how many vitamins their bodies lack because of their genetics.
Skin type is mostly hereditary but it can be improved. Stretch marks are most likely to occur where skin is dry and chapped. When it's in this condition, the skin looses its elasticity. To improve this, make sure to take enough vitamins and apply a moisturizer or vitamin E to the skin once or twice a day.
Recently, I have come across a ten page method on how to get rid of stretch marks and how to make the fade much faster. It uses the same principles as laser/chemical peel in a natural way with different household products. There is no pain felt unlike the laser and chemical methods used to get rid of stretch marks. I have been using it for 2 weeks and have seen some very good results though it usually takes 6 months to fully fade them.
If you have any questions about this article or further detail about the method I have come across feel free to email me at MarkBodyBuild@aol.com.