Stretch marks are known medically as "striae." They form in the middle layer of the skin and they are caused from an excessive stretching when weight is gained too quickly. This is often times the case with weightlifting when new muscle is being built. These marks can be prevented by following some key steps that involve your performance inside and outside the gym.
Start drinking plenty of water during the day. Water offers many benefits to the body. When it comes to the prevention of stretch marks, it can help keep the skin cells hydrated and supple. If these cells are dehydrated, your skin will be more susceptible to developing stretch marks. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 2.7 total liters of water a day and men get 3.7 liters a day.
Keep your skin soft by adding moisturizing creams. Use some moisturizing creams on your skin every night right after a shower. The pores of your skin are open at this time and you will have a high absorption rate. This can keep your skin elastic and soft which can help prevent stretch marks from appearing.
Eat the right foods. There are several vitamins and nutrients that can promote skin health and elasticity. Some of these include vitamin E, A, C, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids. These can be found in foods like fortified milk, citrus fruits, carrots, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, salmon and walnuts.
Build muscle gradually. When you lift really heavy weights at a fast pace, you run the risk of putting on muscle mass quickly and stretching the skin. To avoid this, either build your way up slowly or just lift lighter weights.
Brush your skin every night in the shower. Exfoliating your skin will help remove dead skin cells on the top of your skin and it will promote circulation to keep your skin healthy and less prone to developing stretch marks. Use a soft bristled brush and go in circular motions starting at the areas of your body farthest from your heart.