by Kimberly Perez
Yep, men can have stretch marks too!
WHAT CAUSES STRETCH MARKS?
The skin can endure a lot of stretching—thanks to collagen. Although incredibly flexible, it does reach a point where it can no longer stretch (or stretch fast enough) without causing the tears and scarring we recognize as marks. When this happens, your skin’s collagen production is disrupted, resulting in visible damage to the skin. At their core, stretch marks are fine lines that develop around parts of the skin. Stretch marks in men most commonly appear on the arms, shoulders, chest, back, buttocks, and thighs, however, they can occur virtually anywhere on the body. Stretch marks occur when the skin is overstretched by rapid weight or muscle gain, but have several other reasons that include but are not limited to weight loss, skin composition, age, dehydration, long-term corticosteroid use, and heredity factors. It takes time for them to develop and even more time to fade.
Feeling self-conscious about your stretch marks? It doesn’t matter whether you got them from working out in beast mode for months on end or from putting on weight fast. The permanent streaks on your skin can have a long-lasting impact on your emotional well-being. While stretch marks are notoriously difficult to eliminate, here are some ways to reduce their appearance while keeping your skin tight.
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Rapid fluctuations in weight are a major cause of stretch marks. A healthy rate of losing weight or gaining muscle is 1-2 pounds per week, any more than that and you increase the risk of stretching your skin too fast. Be leery of any diets that promise “10 pounds per week.” Many of these are built on starving the body of nutrients and depriving the skin of hydration. Whether you want to lose fat or gain some muscle, the key is to do it gradually. KEEP IT COOL
One of the worst things you can do for your skin is to take hot showers. While they may feel good, the heat from the water can strip the top dermal layer of collagen. In addition, cracking and scaling can occur as a result. Your best bet is to take warm showers. The goal should be to clean your body while locking in moisture. Our Natural Turmeric Soap not only smells amazing, but the soap itself does not contain harsh chemicals that dry out the skin.
USE A BODY SCRUB The use of a body scrub may seem like a silly idea as it relates to stretch marks but dermabrasion will do wonders. If you use an exfoliating scrub regularly, then you probably know how it works already. Using a body scrub helps remove dead skin cells, helps to stimulate collagen, and encourages the growth of new cells, which helps to keep your skin youthful and flexible. While exfoliating can’t fully erase stretch marks, it may help improve and minimize their appearance. Dermabrasion and other exfoliating techniques have been used to treat damaged skin (such as acne scars) with varying degrees of success, so it might just work for your stretch marks. The key thing to keep in mind with a scrub is to exfoliate regularly (once or twice per week). If overused, you may unintentionally do more harm than good.
MOISTURIZE In addition to preventing stretch marks, moisturizing helps reduce the appearance of existing ones. Using a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid and vitamin A can help prevent stretch marks on men’s skin. The key is to make it a habit – moisturizing once or twice a week isn’t going to cut it, at least twice a day is ideal. Areas to focus on include your abdomen, chest, arms, and shoulders. Our Men’s Moisturizing Cream is fragrance-free and devoid of harsh chemicals.
AVOID SUN EXPOSURE
You have probably heard this a thousand times, but it is worth repeating. The sun can do great damage to your skin. Not only do radioactive rays destroy nutrient-giving cells, but they also zap your dermis of collagen. The worst thing you can do to stretch marks is exposing them to the sun; they’re resistant to tanning and can become more purple – or even black – from excessive sun exposure. Make sure you have adequate skin protection when outdoors: Use an SPF 30 sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. As with any sunburn, applying Aloe Vera to your stretch marks will soothe and relieve redness and itchiness. VITALIZE! Your skin’s appearance is the direct reflection of your diet. Your skin loves vitamins (especially antioxidants such as vitamin A and E) and so should you. If you are like most men, you probably don’t get enough nutrients through eating. This is where a multivitamin can help. Make sure to not only load weights on your barbell but fruits and vegetables on your plate, too.
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Did you know alcohol is terrible for your skin? We’re not saying give up beer, whiskey, and wine, but to the extent possible, reducing alcohol intake can help your skin look a lot better. When you aren’t properly hydrated, you deprive your skin of the moisture that is required to maintain its elasticity. Over time, this can cause fine lines to become more pronounced – to the point that they transform into folds. To help prevent stretch marks, you’ll want to drink plenty of H20. The Mayo Clinic suggests men drink around 15 cups (3.7 liters) per day. Make sure to stay hydrated and remember to satiate your daily need for water.
As far as topicals go, tretinoin may be your best bet for getting rid of stretch marks. Tretinoin, which is a derivative of vitamin A, has shown some evidence of reducing the appearance of early stretch marks.
HAVE PATIENCE Stretch marks don’t appear overnight and they certainly don’t disappear overnight either. Give your stretch marks time to heal and be realistic, though they may never fully disappear, the white lines will be far less noticeable. If your stretch marks are red and angry-looking right now, rest assured that they will likely fade from red to purple and then white over time. Make the most out of your skin routine and check out our full line of men's skincare.
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