Does Exercise Make Stretch Marks Go Away?

Exercise has a lot of benefits to your skin's health, but eliminating stretch marks is not one of them. Stretch marks are made up of scar tissue and can cover a large swath of skin. Many people develop these in regions where weight gain is common, such as the thighs, hips, buttocks, stomach and arms. Stretch marks can still be treated to reduce and even eliminate their appearance, but unfortunately exercise has no positive effect.

People are exercising in a gym. Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images

Stretch Mark Cause

Stretch marks occur when the body mass underneath the skin rapidly expands or shrinks. The skin is adaptable and can stretch or constrict to meet the needs of the body, but sometimes body mass changes occur so fast the skin is not able to keep up. This leads to stretching of the skin that damages it and leads to scar tissue growth -- in the case of an expanding body mass -- or skin that becomes saggy and useless when the body's fat and muscle decreases quickly. Surgeries, excessive weight gain and extreme dieting are common reasons that stretch marks occur.

Exercise for Treatment

Unfortunately, exercise is not acknowledged by medical experts as a method of treatment for stretch marks. Exercise can help make changes to the body's mass, whether it is increasing muscle mass to fill in loose skin or burning fat to curb the effects of stretching from body mass gain. In that sense, exercising can be used to slow down the effects of stretch marks, but any stretch marks that already exist will not be affected by physical activity.

Prevention

Many factors go into your odds of developing stretch marks. Drink water regularly to provide vitamins and minerals to the body to keep the skin elastic and adaptable. You may also want to moisturize the skin daily if you think you are at risk of developing stretch marks. According to MedicalNewsToday.com, regular exercise can help regulate your body's weight and prevent excessive gains or losses in body mass. This can reduce your likelihood of developing stretch marks.

Considerations

While it can't treat stretch marks, exercise can actually contribute to the growth of stretch marks if you are losing body mass rapidly. In most cases, exercise contributes to this problem when a person is crash dieting at an unhealthy rate while also exercising throughout the day. In addition to easing up on your dietary restrictions, reducing or even halting your regular exercise may help you minimize the development of stretch marks on the body.

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