Can Toning Up Your Body Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

Toning the muscles in your body is an effective method to improve your appearance. Doctors and other experienced professionals often recommend strength-training activities, such as weightlifting, to add muscle mass and to improve bone strength and balance that otherwise diminish as you age. Learn about the relationship between toning and stretch marks to ensure your overall health, and alert your doctor before taking any supplement that claims to cure stretch marks or other skin problems.

Maintaining a healthy weight helps your skin stay smooth. (Image: Staras/iStock/Getty Images)

Understanding Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, also called striae, form on your body when your skin stretches to accommodate the rapid growth that typically occurs during puberty and in the later stages of pregnancy. Most stretch marks are purple, red or pink and resemble scars. Your risk is highest for stretch marks on your breasts, stomach, thighs, buttocks and the upper portions of your arms. Most stretch marks will diminish naturally over time, although in some cases, striae signals an underlying medical problem.

Removal and Concealment

Although numerous products are marketed as stretch-mark removers, the only effective way to eliminate the marks is by seeking surgical care, microdermabrasion or laser treatment from a trained plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Avoid the cost of medical procedures through concealment methods that include the application of sunless tanning lotion over your stretch marks or makeup that matches the tone of your skin. Toning your body will not get rid of stretch marks.

Healthy Stretch Mark Prevention

Dermatologist Ellen Marmur reports that maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding both rapid weight gains and losses, can help prevent stretch marks. Toning the muscles in your body with strength training can be beneficial when approached safely and in moderation, as the workouts give your body an enhanced power to burn calories. Aim to lift weights, stretch resistance tubing or perform pushups and abdominal crunches two to three times weekly for at least 30 minutes. Aerobic exercise also aids weight loss and includes walking, bicycling or swimming. Complement your increased activity by drinking plenty of water and consuming whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy products and vegetables. While some weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy, your doctor can suggest an ideal body weight and a safe exercise plan that will minimize your risk for stretch marks.

Seeing a Doctor

Ask your doctor for help if stretch marks cover large areas of your body or represent a threat to your self-esteem. Your doctor can review your overall health and recommend potential treatments, as well as rule out any potential medical concerns.

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