It is a very common misconception that stretch marks affect women, especially pregnant women, and is not an issue for men. This misconception makes men with stretch marks feel uncomfortable, embarrassed and worried. Maybe even emasculated. The truth is different and it is important that men know!
Stretch Marks Men – A Real Problem
The truth is that men are just as predisposed to stretch marks as women. Obviously, men won’t get them from pregnancy, but during other periods of rapid body changes, which forces the skin to stretch. These periods can include growth during puberty, weight gain and loss, and bulking up by weight lifting.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
As mentioned, when the skin is forced to suddenly stretch, it might reach a breaking point, at which it can handle no more and will tear. Genetics will influence how adaptable the skin is, how much stretching it can withstand. This is because some men produce a lot of corticosteroid, a hormone that helps the skin keep flexible. It is also common to experience hormonal changes in different phases of life, which means that the risk of the skin not being able to handle stretching is larger within certain age groups.
How to Avoid Getting Stretch Marks
Prevention of stretch marks in men is difficult. Tests indicate that women going through pregnancy can reduce the risk by applying cream containing Centella asiatica, Vitamin E and Collagen-elastin hydrolysates daily. For men, however, its difficult to anticipate when the risk of getting stretch marks is high, if you know that you will experience substantial, rapid body change, for example losing weight or bulking up, applying a similar cream might reduce the risk. This has not been tested however. The best way to prevent stretch marks is probably a generally sensible and healthy lifestyle. Eat a varied and healthy diet. Exercise.
However, if your goal is to not get stretch marks, keep the weight training, and thereby muscle gain, to a moderate level. The body prefers change to occur at a moderate pace, both when losing and gaining weight. A cruel fact is that men, or more accurately soon-to-be men, often get stretch marks during adolescence, a period when the body goes through significant change and when the level of concern regarding appearance is already high. In this way, stretch marks can resemble the frustration of acne. It is naturally difficult to prevent this, again a healthy lifestyle is probably the best bet.
Can Stretch Marks be Treated?
A number of treatments exist, however the effectiveness varies greatly. It is important to be realistic about the result of treatment, getting your hopes to high will only result in disappointment. A common claim from people offering treatment, is that recent stretch marks are easier and more effectively treated. The scientific basis for this claim is dubious and it might be nothing more than a ploy to create a sense of urgency. Most over the counter products, typically creams, claiming to treat stretch marks have proven ineffectual.
Therefore it is recommended to consult your doctor, if you are serious about treatment. The most effective treatment using creams, is tretinoin creams, which has traditionally been used against acne. The cream replaces old skin with new skin, thereby making it lighter, and slows down the replacement of skin cells that might have been damaged by sunlight.
Laser treatment has increased in popularity and might be the most effective. When the skin is zapped by the laser, it responds by producing new collagen and epithelium, improving the texture and appearance of the skin. Make sure that the clinic offering the treatment is well respected, and always seek the advice of your doctor before committing to it.
Stretch marks can be damaging for a man’s self-confidence, especially as it is not thought of as something affecting men. If you feel it weighing heavy on your mind, you should consult your doctor to hear about the possible treatments. While it might not be all you hope for yet, advances are made at a steady pace. However, it is always important to stay realistic about how much improvement you can expect.