Stretch Marks in Different Places, on Radically Different Bodies
Stretch Marks Info
Are they all the same thing with all the same causes?
When you think about the extremely different people who get stretch marks, it can be tempting to consider that perhaps there are different causes. After all, the lifestyles of the obese and the gym buffs are virtually polarized, yet both types get the striations. Accordingly, the life stage of a thirteen-year old and that of a pregnant matron have almost nothing in common, yet they both get marked up, too.
So does it follow that the stretch marks on a bodybuilder are exactly the same as those on a person who needs to lose fifty fat pounds? Does the scarring on a womanchild or manchild exactly match the scarring on a grown woman having a baby?
The answer is yes. Even though these people are in lifestyles so different that they have little to say to each other, their stretch marks could be interchanged. The scars look the same and were caused by the same factors: rapid overstretching of the dermal layer of skin, and elevated levels of glucocorticoids.
The one and only difference may be where the scarring occurs. On pregnant women it’s the belly and breasts, and on pubescents of both sexes, it can be the hips, buttocks, and legs. The only place in common with the pregnant is the young girls’ forming breasts. The obese develop scarring wherever they store excess fat, and the weightlifters get the marks where they’re building muscle too fast, which are usually the arms, chest and shoulders.
Are the breast stretch marks on a pregnant woman any different in constitution than the stretch marks on her belly? Are the scars on a bodybuilder’s shoulders any different than the scars that form on his bulked-up arms? No, they are all the same, and the preventative measures that need to be taken are the same across the board.
No matter where stretch marks occur, no matter on what kind of body, they are all the result of the breakdown of collagen and elastin, the matrix of proteins that make up undamaged skin. The breakdown has been caused by the stress of skin extended too much, too fast. The stress has also provoked an elevation of cortisone, a glucocorticoid hormone that is believed to disrupt the perfect matrix.
The same rule applies for everyone at risk for getting stretch marks: they should try to preempt the damage. Weightlifters are urged to make muscle gains slowly. They should never use steroids or workout routines that cause them to bulk up fast. The obese should take the weight off slowly, as rapid weight loss can make the stretch marks that already appeared with the weight gain become even worse than they were. Pregnant women should faithfully follow the instructions on cream-rubbed-in treatments, and not slack off on the regimen either before or after giving birth. Kids on the brink of puberty should use the same creams as the pregnant, but because they’re kids, they may not. Time, however, is on their side; they’re so young that elastin is still reproduced in their bodies, so their skin is more likely than adults’ to regain their original texture and tautness, and their scarring will just go away.
A healthful diet is vital for all, and abstinence from tobacco, and alcohol used very lightly. Regular muscle-toning workouts are important, because they tighten the skin. But that’s not to say overdo it! Remember what happens to bodybuilders when they work out too hard! A careful balance is crucial.
The only difference between a pregnant woman and others who get stretch marks is that care must be taken to ensure that the treatment she uses to prevent the scars has no toxins that can harm the fetus, and that any massages she performs on her belly skin are gentle and extremely low-pressure. After the baby arrives, she must make sure that any substance she uses on her scars will have no ill effects on her breast milk.
Other than that, people whose bodies are swelling or bulking, no matter what the reason, and no matter what body part, are all in the same skin predicament, and need the same preemptive regimens.