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How Do Athletes Prevent Stretch Marks?

by
author image Edie Grace
Edie Grace has been writing and editing since 2008. Her work has been published in medical magazines and aired on radio. She has written about skin conditions, cardiovascular health and surgery. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and music and a Master of Arts in journalism.
How Do Athletes Prevent Stretch Marks?
A male bodybuilder at the gym. Photo Credit Hlib Shabashnyi/iStock/Getty Images

Stretch marks are a common skin problem. Certain types of people are more prone to developing stretch marks, which can affect self confidence. Athletes may be prone to developing stretch marks, especially if they build body mass and muscle quickly. Treatments are available for stretch marks, but if you are sensible in your sport routine, you may avoid the need to use these treatments.

Causes and Appearance

Stretch marks can occur as a result of quick weight gain or growth spurts in puberty. If there is a history of stretch marks in your family, you may be prone to developing stretch marks. Stretch marks are purple or red lines or bands beneath the top layer of the skin and can be unsightly. They usually appear on the stomach, breasts, hips, thighs and flank, according to MedlinePlus website.

Prevention

Do not overexercise in a bid to build muscle, if you wish to avoid stretch marks. Certain sporting disciplines, such as bodybuilding or American football may favor bulking up to increase prowess, but this quick growth can cause stretch marks to form. Stretch marks are commonly seen in bodybuilders, particularly on the upper arms. More measured muscle growth allow your skin to grow at pace with your muscles.

Misconceptions

Oils and creams are often marketed that claim to prevent stretch marks from developing. None of these creams have been proven to be effective. Moisturizing the skin will do nothing to prevent stretch marks from occurring, as the stretch marks occur in the dermis layer, while moisturizers work in the epidermis layer of the skin. Further study is needed to determine the effect, if any, of diet and any particular regime on the occurrence, but what little is known does not find any relationship between certain foods or exercises and reducing the incidence of stretch marks.

Steroid Abuse

Steroids should never be taken without prescription and, while the possibility of gaining muscle quickly may be an attractive prospect, steroids can have many side effects. Among these are stretch marks. Stretch marks are one of the most visible signs of steroid abuse. With steroid abuse, stretch marks are usually seen on the upper arms and shoulders. Steroids can also lead to liver damage, heart attack, cancer and osteoporosis so should never be abused.

Warning

If you develop stretch marks that do not seem to be associated with muscle growth, weight gain or steroid use, contact your doctor immediately. Unexplained stretch marks may be the sign of an adrenal gland disorder or diabetes.

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