Stretch Marks - How do I get rid of them?
Simply put: I have a stretch mark problem. I've tried Barmon's stretch mark cream and Jimi Gel, but they just don't seem to work for me (they don't prevent new ones and do little to lighten the old ones, probably because they keep getting bigger!) My problem area is the inside of my arm at the chest/ biceps junction, where the marks extend about two inches in each direction. It kind of ruins the feeling of accomplishment I feel when I gain size, because my marks continue to get bigger in turn. Any advice at all? I want to get bigger still, but not if it means I'll have huge marks all the way down to my forearms.
Almost every bodybuilder or serious strength trainer gets stretch marks to some extent. The skin is incredibly elastic and will stretch and expand to an amazing degree. However, when muscles (or fat) grow too fast for the skin to accommodate the growth of the underlying tissues, tiny micro-tears occur in the skin. This leaves the red lines commonly known as stretch marks. In severe cases, several stretch marks appear together as parallel lines, like claw marks.
Stretch marks are even more common in bodybuilders who use steroids because the muscle growth occurs as such a rapid rate (although stretch marks are NOT necessarily an indication of steroid use).
You see stretch marks most often in overweight people and in bodybuilders who bulk up too quickly - although they can happen to just about anyone. (Women sometimes get them in the abdomen after pregnancy).
If you already have stretch marks, the good news is that they will fade in time. I have a couple stretch marks at the deltoid-pectoral tie in (the most common location in bodybuilders) and they have faded a lot since my early 20's (I'm 33 now). They were a bright rose color when I first got them, and now you can barely see them.
I tend not to believe in the creams, lotions and other remedies that are being hawked over the Internet. I know people who have rubbed on vitamin E and other lotions or creams for months with no results whatsoever.
It's possible there could be nutritional causes for increased susceptibility to stretch marks as well. Many nutrients are needed for supple, healthy, pliable skin. Make sure you take a multivitamin daily, eat plenty of antioxidant rich vegetables and fruits and get enough essential fatty acids (EFA's). Flaxseed oil and the fats found in cold-water fish like Salmon are two of the best sources of EFA's.
In my opinion, the only true remedy for stretch marks is to avoid getting them in the first place by maintaining a fairly stable bodyweight. In other words, don't bulk up to an unreasonable degree: The practice of "bulking up," that is gaining large amounts of body weight in the form of muscle and fat in an attempt to get a net gain of muscle over the long term is an open invitation to develop stretch marks. Gain lean mass slowly and never get fat.