Stretch Marks on Calves

care of a skin
Woman putting lotion on her calf (Image: Lev Kropotov/iStock/Getty Images)

Stretch marks are a common result of rapid growth in the body. The dermis layer of the skin helps to keep your skin elastic, but as the skin stretches, the dermis layer may be damaged and collagen deposits break down. Stretch marks are common in the hips, underarms, breasts and thighs. Occasionally, they develop on the calves. Stretch marks may never permanently go away, but you can take some measures to reduce the appearance.

Growth Spurts

Stretch marks can be seen in the calves for individuals who have experienced rapid growth spurts or weight fluctuation, including adolescents and pregnant women. Stretch marks that appear horizontal on the calves are due to horizontal growth, most likely from a height growth. Stretch marks that appear vertically on the calves are due to vertical growth, most likely due to rapid weight gain, either from increased fat or muscle size in the lower legs. Stretch marks first appear dark red or purple, but eventually fade into a light color.

Muscle Building

People who do significant amounts of lower-leg and calf strength training may witness stretch marks on their calves. This is cause by rapid stretching of the skin as muscle size increases. Athletes such as runners might see the development of stretch marks on their upper calves due to increased calf musculature.

Genetic Factors

Skin tone, skin color, elasticity and collagen makeup and hormonal imbalance of the skin may be factors that can cause stretch marks and are difficult to change. It is possible for fair-skinned women to develop more stretch marks than women with darker skin tones. Individuals with dry or rough skin can also be prone to developing stretch marks. These stretch marks may show up either horizontally or vertically may never completely disappear, but the overall appearance can gradually become less and less evident.

Stretch Mark Solutions

Make sure you are getting a well-balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals, as vitamins and minerals can help the overall look of the skin. Maintain hydration and eat a balanced diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. If you are a body builder, build your muscles slowly and do not try to bulk up in your calves in a short period of time. Instead, gradually increase the number of sets and repetitions you perform. Steroids may contribute to the development of stretch marks, so avoid using them. Topical creams and lotions are available for stretch marks after scarring has occurred to help diminish their appearance. You may have to try several types, as individual experience with topical creams vary. Talk to a doctor about surgical options that may be effective in treating stretch marks, including laser treatments, dermabrasion and fractional laser resurfacing

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