Stretch Marks and Weight
I'm very worried because I noticed some reddish striations that
have been appearing where my deltoids and biceps connect above my
arm pit. What exactly are they and will they continue to get worse
if I keep working out with weights?
It sounds like you have stretch marks. This is common in the
shoulders and biceps area when you experience quick muscle growth.
Your skin stretches from the growth and stretch marks develop. Here
are some photos:
Stretch marks, medically known as "lineae albicantes",
are often an aftermath of weight training. These are probably the
most common side effects associated with bodybuilding, weight training
and even weight loss. While working out tones up your muscles and
makes them firm and muscular, it also leads to stretching of the
dermis (skin). The elasticity of the skin is the main reason why
stretch marks occur. Some interesting facts associated with stretch
marks and weight training along with tips on how to prevent them
are included below.
Gently massage the affected area with vitamin E, which is available
in most grocery stores in the form of oil or available in oil filled
capsules. If using the capsules, squeeze the capsule and mix the
vitamin extract in some olive oil. Then massage the area containing
the stretch marks with the oil in circular motions twice a day for
a few months. My personal experience with this has been great. A
couple of years ago, I lost 30 pounds but developed extensive stretch
marks. I was even embarrassed to wear short dresses but by using
vitamin E, the stretch marks gently faded away in a couple of months!
Use a good moisturizer daily after showering and before heading
to the gym for weight training is another great tip. When the cells
are properly hydrated, the collagen fibers in the dermis are quite
healthy. So, the chances of overstretching the dermis leading to
stretch marks are greatly reduced.
Try to gain muscle gradually over a period of time. Lifting heavy
weights in an effort to develop muscles overnight, which is often
seen in people who are newcomers in the world of fitness, accentuates
the problem. As a result, stretch marks and weight training go hand
in hand. Start with lighter weights and slowly increase the weights
by working at a slow but steady pace. This will not only help you
develop an awesome physique but it will decrease the development
of stretch marks. Its always great to progress quickly and pack
on muscle mass in a short amount of time but remember that the faster
you gain muscle, the quicker your skin will need to stretch in order
to accommodate for the new growth. The faster the skin stretches,
the greater chance you will develop stretch marks.
Glycolic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) are products which are
highly effective in reducing ugly stretch marks. They are available
in the form of creams and lotions. One can easily find them as they
are sold over-the-counter at most grocery stores. Although for a
stronger dose you should consult with your doctor before using them.
Laser treatments, especially a fractional laser, will help to remove
the stretch marks completely. Several sessions using the fractional
laser have resulted in miraculous results for most people. But the
high cost of the treatment and multiple sessions with the cosmetologist
can be a big negative for people with a strict budget.
Take ample ample amounts of vitamin C from natural foods or from
supplements. Vitamin C is found naturally in citrus fruits like
lemon, oranges and limes. This will not only keep your skin soft
and supple but will also help to flush out the toxins from your
body. Vitamin C also improves your immunity or resistance of the
body to fight diseases. The easiest way to get your vitamin C requirements
is through supplements which are very inexpensive and provides a
high amount of vitamin C per serving.
Another great tip to reduce stretch marks is to drinks lots of
water as it will replenish the loss of liquids during exercise.
Eat foods rich in healthy fats that contain omega-3 and omega-6
fatty acids like fish, almonds and walnuts. Zinc is a mineral found
in mushrooms and fish which is helpful in reducing the appearance
of stretch marks as it improves the skin's texture. Vitamin A, zinc
and vitamin E rich foods like pumpkins, wheat germ oil, carrots,
mangos and peaches are very good for overall skin tone and elasticity.
Try out several of these recommendations for 2-3 months and see
if they help. If you do not see any benefit from them and they have
not helped to reduce your stretch marks, you might want to contact
your local dermatologist to see if they can help you further.
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