Stretch marks are a common problem and can be embarrassing and unsightly. These might occur on various body parts, specifically around the thighs, stomach, breasts, hips, lower back, upper arms, and even around the calves. Stretch marks are not only common among women, but can appear on male skin as well for different reasons.
What are Stretch Marks?
Often referred to by its medical name ‘striae’, stretch marks are long reddish lines appearing on the skin. These generally occur on the middle layer of the skin, known as dermis. The root cause of these stretch marks is rapid growth when the skin stretches past its normal capacity. For men, these stretch marks occur when muscles bulk up too fast. Many males see stretch marks on their skin at the beginning of a new weight training program.
Although it is hard to make them disappear completely, there are ways and remedies to prevent these scars or make them lighter.
About Male Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are purplish/reddish fine lines that occur due to overstretching of skin. Overstretching of skin disturbs the production of collagen, the main protein found in connective tissues. It also performs the function of keeping the skin taut.
Any disruption in this process leads to a lack of necessary support to the skin thus leading to tearing up of skin. This further leads to scars known as stretch marks.
As mentioned earlier, stretch marks are more common among bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes.
Causes of Stretch Marks in Men
Stretch marks are quite common with bodybuilders, athletes, and other individuals who have either reduced weight or gained muscle mass at a rate that is not acceptable by the skin. Besides rapid weight loss or rapid weight gain, some other causes of stretch marks on male skin are:
- Weight Lifting
Weight lifting and rapid gain of muscle mass, can be a cause for stretch marks, in spite of being in good shape. This is the reason that stretch marks cannot be identified with only obesity or weight problem, for these can occur even on fittest people. Those who get stretch marks due to muscle mass tend to feel the scarring primarily around the shoulders and arms.
Hormonal imbalance has been one of the most common causes of stretch marks. Since these changes occur during puberty or obesity, it is difficult to point out the exact cause of the problem. The hormonal imbalance during these times can lead to tearing of elastin and collagen over stretched skin, thus causing the appearance of stretch marks.
- Growth Spurts
Many times, the teenagers are alarmed to see stretch marks spread around some areas, specifically when they are not overweight or have not experienced rapid weight gain. This is because of rapid growth spurts occurring due to puberty. Akin to rapid weight gain and obesity, the body grows and expands faster than the skin elasticity thus leading to stretch marks.
Remedies for Stretch Marks in Men
It is not difficult to do away with the stretch marks. There are some simple home remedies that can help you get rid of these stretch marks. Have a look at the following:
Potatoes are loaded with minerals that are essential to restore skin cells. This makes it easier to get rid of stubborn stretch marks. To use, take a fresh potato and cut it into medium slices. Just make sure that each slice contains sufficient juice. Rub these slices over the affected areas. After you are done with rubbing, wait for the juices to dry up and get absorbed by the skin. Conclude the process by washing it off with lukewarm water. Regular use would gradually cause the stretch marks to fade away, thus making the skin fresh and supple as ever before.
White sugar, when combined with almond oil, proves really beneficial for the skin. It helps to fade away the stretch marks to a great extent. This homemade natural sugar scrub is one of the most natural ways to exfoliate, soften and freshen up the skin as well. The fine texture exfoliates gently without leaving any harmful residue that can lead to clogging of pores. Moreover, the moisturizing properties prevent drying up of the skin.
Just rub the mixture over the stretch marks and let it stay for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water once it dries up. The results are simply amazing!
- Egg Rubbing
Eggs are loaded with proteins. Egg whites contain astringent properties that work to shrink pores by tightening the skin. Rubbing the white part of an egg over the stretch marks can show effective results. You will soon notice these marks fading away.
Another way to use egg white for stretch marks is in combination with lemon juice. Mix a teaspoon of egg white with squeeze of 1 lemon juice. Apply it over the affected areas. Allow the mixture to stay for 15-20 minutes, followed by a tepid rinse. Regular application will make the skin tighter and firmer thus reducing the occurrence of stretch marks.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is also referred as ‘liquid gold’. It has amazing antioxidant properties and prevents free radical damage to the skin. It helps prevent pore clogging and enhances exfoliation.
Heat a specific quantity of olive oil in a microwave, depending upon the area of application. Massage it onto the scars and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes.
An alternate option is to use olive oil in combination with equal quantity of coconut oil and some lemon juice on stretch marks. Apply the mixture over affected areas followed by a thorough massage with cocoa butter.
Regular application will exfoliate dead skin cells while leaving the epidermis renewed and glowing.
[ Read: How To Use Olive Oil For Your Beauty ]
- Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is known for its amazing skin benefits. Aloe Vera contains a complex carbohydrate called acemannan. This nutrient allows the nutrients to reach the cells while nourishing them and relieving from toxins at the same time.
It has an exceptional healing power and soothing properties. To use, prepare a mixture with ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup Aloe Vera gel, vitamin E oil, and oil from Vitamin A capsules. Blend together and store this mixture in an airtight container in refrigerator. Rub it onto the skin until it gets completely absorbed. Regular use would show desired results in a week’s span.
Moisturize your skin daily. This not only helps prevent the occurrence of stretch marks in men but also reduces the appearance of existing stretch marks.
Although there are numerous promising men’s moisturizers available in the market, you can prepare one at home with ingredients like basic Vaseline, olive oil, vitamin E oil, cocoa butter and some essential oils. You can also include oils from vitamin A capsules to boost skin health.
Some other options that can be used to moisturize the skin are:
- Vitamin K cream
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Rose hip oil
- Lanolin oil
- Jojobo oil
- Natural Shea Butter
- Emu oil
- Castor oil
- Increase Vitamin Intake
Whatever you eat reflects on your skin. You might have a favorite face cream or treatment. But, remember that beautiful skin starts with internal nourishment. Eating the perfect balance of foods will provide all the vital nutrients required to keep the skin soft, supple, and blemish free.
Increasing vitamin intake, specifically those good for your skin health, can help a lot in reducing the stretch marks by preventing cellular damage. These include vitamins like A, C, E, and K. Also, instead of taking them in the form of supplements, stress on natural sources. These can be fruits and veggies that contain the required vitamins for the skin.
And the bonus! Increased vitamin intake would also improve the overall health.
[ Read: How Multivitamins Are Great For Health ]
Exfoliation is known to improve the skin texture. Exfoliation or dry brushing softens the skin, thus making it look fresh with removal of dead skin. The marks that are difficult to reach can be massaged using a loofah.
To prepare an exfoliate, you can use ingredients like sea salt, baking soda, oatmeal, ground coffee, or apricot scrub in combination with a wet washcloth. Make a paste by mixing any one of these ingredients with olive oil. Massage the affected areas with this mixture in circular motions to reduce stretch marks. Regular exfoliation would keep the skin smooth, supple, and maintain the shine as well.
- Drink Water
Water is known to make a big difference to skin health. Insufficient water intake will leave your skin dull and dry. Even the pores become more prominent. Hydrated and plump skin is less viable to cracking or stretching of inner tissues and cells.
The best remedy to reduce stretch marks is to increase water intake. Water has amazing benefits for skin as well as overall health. It is also considered as an internal moisturizer. Sufficient intake of water helps to keep the skin soft and supple by maintaining healthy collagen levels. Drink 10-12 glasses of water per day to keep the skin and tissues hydrated.
[ Read: How To Increase Your Water Intake ]
- Flaxseed & Linseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is known for its detoxification properties. It also helps to clear away the blemishes and pigmentation marks. This is because it moisturizes and hydrates the skin from within. Topical application diminishes skin rashes, pigmentation, and stretch marks as well. It contains essential fatty acids that smoothen the appearance of skin by removing all sorts of scars.
Flaxseed and Linseed oil are also known for scar removal properties. Apply a mixture of these two, taken in equal quantities, over the stretch marks to get desired results. You can also add flaxseed oil to yogurt, salads or shakes to get better results.
[ Read: How To Include Flaxseeds In Your Diet ]
- Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E contains effective antioxidants like Alpha Tocopherol and Squalene. These antioxidants help in promoting the growth of cells. These cells enhance the regeneration thus enhancing the effect of vitamin E.
Moreover, vitamin E is highly effective in the removal of scars from the skin, be it acne or any other form, like stretch marks. It also speeds up the cell regeneration process. The dead and damaged skin cells get replaced with new cells, thus removing the scar tissue.
To use, cut open the vitamin E capsules and discard it. Rub the oil over the affected areas. You can also use it in combination with avocado oil to boost the effectiveness of the remedy.
In addition to the above mentioned remedies, it is also important to make some changes in your lifestyle. These include making some changes in your diet and exercise regimen. Stress on low fat dairy products, meat, fish, liver, almonds, tomatoes, citrus fruit, carrots, pumpkin seeds, spinach, green leaves, broccoli, turnip greens, kale, and collards in your diet.
Also make some lifestyle changes! Try to avoid stress and anxiety. Follow a healthy exercise routine. Regular exercise, in addition to dry brushing and exfoliating, can help to reduce these stretch marks. Exercise helps to tone the muscles that become flabby because of rapid weight loss.
Instead, if you even want to gain some muscle weight, make it gradual. A healthy rate of weight loss or muscle gain is 1-2 pounds a week. Any more than this can increase the risk of getting stretch marks. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!
Change your workout routines. Make sure to lift lighter weights and do more reps in your exercise. This would help to promote lean muscle mass rather than size. Also keep your diet under control. Remember, gaining fat and muscle together can exacerbate the stretch marks.
Well, there are numerous stretch mark creams cannot reduce or prevent stretch marks. It is, therefore, important to be cautious while buying and using these creams. It is always better to go the natural way.