I am starting to get stretch marks on my arms. They are on the inside of my biceps and they look terrible. I train my arms a lot and I’m wondering if I’m overtraining or doing something wrong. What caused this and is there anything I can do to get rid of them?
First off, congratulations on making some serious gains! Stretch marks are a sign of muscle growth and they go hand in hand with weight lifting and bodybuilding. Even though they are not cosmetically the nicest thing to look at, they are like a badge of honor that you receive when you put in the time and dedication to the muscle game.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur when the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching. Even though your skin has a fair amount of elasticity, when it’s rapidly stretched the normal production of collagen is altered. Stretch marks are partial tears in the skin from the inside and are essentially scars. As with all scars, they are red to purple in color early on, and they generally do fade to a more pale color over time.
Many bodybuilders as well as obese individuals have issues with stretch marks due to rapid growth in both cases. For the bodybuilder, the skin is overstretched due to the growth caused by muscle hypertrophy (increase in size of a muscle). Common areas of stretch marks are usually located around the frontal area of the deltoid which is right above the armpit, along with the inner part of the biceps. For the obese person, the skin is stretched from the excess accumulation of adipose tissue (body fat) which expands the skin drastically. Common areas of stretch marks on obese people are usually located on the stomach and love handles.
How To Get Rid of Stretch Marks
Unfortunately, the only way to completely remove stretch marks once they have formed is by seeing a dermatologist. There are treatments like microdermabrasion and laser therapy that will help to drastically reduce the appearance but they can be expensive and they are not guaranteed to remove 100% of the skin damage caused by them. If you don’t want to spend the money on costly procedures to remove your stretch marks, there are a few inexpensive steps you can take to help reduce the appearance of them. Also, remember that over time your stretch marks will begin to slowly fade but most people don’t want to wait several years to deal with this unsightly cosmetic issue.
The first thing you can do to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and to help decrease the creation of new marks is to make sure your diet is rich in vitamin E. The reason vitamin E is important for helping to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks is due to its powerful antioxidant properties and the ability to protect the collagen fibers in your skin from free radical damage. Having strong collagen fibers means you will reduce the possibility of the collagen being deteriorated which results in tears in the skin and stretch marks.
Foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried apricots, green olives, spinach and even paprika and red chili powder are excellent sources of vitamin E. If you don’t like eating these types of foods, you can opt for a good multivitamin supplement to get the optimal amount of vitamin E each day. Shoot for a daily dosage of around 100-400 IU for the best results.
Another great thing to do is apply vitamin E oil directly to the skin of the affected areas. Place a small amount of oil onto your hand and slowly rub the affected area using a circular motion for 30-60 seconds. Apply the vitamin E oil 2-3 times per day for the best results. Don’t worry about breaking the bank since a bottle of vitamin E oil is very inexpensive and will only cost you a couple of dollars.
The best way to help cover up stretch marks is to use sunless self-tanners. You can try regular sun tanning or using a tanning bed but many times the marks are less likely to tan. If none of these options work for you, another way to cover them up is to use body makeup that matches the normal color of your skin tone.
Make sure to be aware of all the products you see advertised on TV and in the magazines proclaiming they have the miracle cure for removing stretch marks. Most are completely ineffective and they are usually very expensive. So, save your money and make sure your diet is high in nutrient dense foods that contain vitamin rich properties and plenty of vitamin E to make your skin as strong and healthy as possible.