Bodybuilding means gaining muscle and muscle building will have you gaining weight. During a good bulking cycle it is not uncommon to gain 20lbs. You may notice multiple purple marks alongside your armpits or you may have Triceps Stretch marks.
You cringe because bodybuilders are trying to build sculpted, beautiful bodies and here you are with ugly purple or reddish marks!
To understand why you have these marks, you need to understand about they layers that make up your skin. There are three layers to the human skin.
Layers of Skin
The top layer is called the Epidermis and has the purpose of keeping out all those toxins in our environment from entering our bodies through the skin. The second layer is called the Dermis. This second layer of skin is responsible for producing collagen and elastic fibers that give your skin that smooth look. It is in this second layer, that stretch marks occur. The third layer of skin is called the Hypodermis and this is where the fat and connective tissues are located. We need all three layers of our skin to function together to protect our body. The skin is the largest organ of our body.
Stretch marks are actually tears in the dermis layer. They are gaps in the dermis left by stretched and possibly torn fibers. They occur when our skin grows faster than its capacity to stretch. When skin is overstretched, it can lose its elastic property and this is when the connective fibers can break, causing a stretch mark.
When you first get a stretch mark it is usually pink, reddish brown or dark brown depending on your skin tone. They then turn to red, dark red or purple in color. As time passes, the stretch mark will fade to a lighter shade than your natural skin tone.
Bodybuilding is not the only cause of stretch marks, you can get stretch marks from rapidly gaining weight, going through puberty, pregnancy, obesity, due to heredity, your skin type, stress, poor diet and sudden changes in the environment.
There are some things you can do to prevent stretch marks. Eating a balanced diet is one way of preventing stretch marks. Another important way to prevent stretch marks is to exercise daily to improve your circulation. Stay away from unhealthy habits like cigarette smoking (can cause skin to lose its elasticity) and alcohol use.
You may not be able to get rid of stretch marks but you can improve their appearance.
You can apply Vitamin E, Cocoa butter, and fish oil.
Laser Therapy can remove the stretch mark.
Dermabrasion can also remove the superficial part of the skin.
Your dermatologist may give you a prescription for Tretinoin Retin-A. This product removes the dad skin cells from the epidermis and can stimulate the dermis to manufacture more collagen. The two together can help make the skin smoother and the stretch mark appear less noticeable.