Fitness (2)

What to Do With Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are unsightly. They are lines that appear on the skin and never go away.

What Causes Stretch Marks?
There are six common causes of stretch marks.

1. Pregnancy
Some women develop stretch marks on the sixth month of pregnancy. The ligaments around the pelvic area as well as the fibers in the skin stretch because of hormones.

2. Puberty
Puberty sometimes comes with growth spurts. Hormonal imbalances might also be a culprit. Girls often get stretch marks on the thighs, hips and breasts while boys might have some on their back and shoulders.

3. Weight Changes
Gaining or even losing weight within a short period of time can affect the fibers which need time to stretch. Marks appear when these fibers are broken or over-stretched and thin. Weightlifters are also prone to stretch marks.

4. Family History
Family history also plays a role. You will likely develop stretch marks if family members also have them. Women are more likely to have them than men.

5. Medications
Medications like corticosteroids decrease the amount of collagen in the skin. Collagen, the protein in the skin fibers, affects the elasticity of the skin.

6. Health Conditions
Cushing disease is the term for the condition in which the body produces excessive amounts of cortisol. Cortisol decreases the amount of collagen in the skin. Marfan Syndrome causes the connective tissues in the body to weaken, including the skin which affects its elasticity.

Where Do They Appear?
Stretch marks usually appear on the abdomen, upper arms, buttocks, thighs, shoulders, and breasts. These appear as lines or streaks on the skin. They show up first as pinkish, purplish or blue lines then fade to a lighter silvery color. Called striae by doctors, they are technically considered scars on the skin. They form because the collagen and elastin that support the dermis and epidermis are broken.

What Happens?
Normally, the dermis should be able to stretch but sudden changes will cause fibers to become too thin and break. The broken dermis show up as stretch marks. They first appear as reddish because the blood vessels can be seen through the skin. When these vessels contract, the fat becomes visible and the color gradually fades. They should not cause alarm because they are not life-threatening, but they appear ugly on the skin. Sudden appearance of stretch marks might also be symptoms of Cushing’s disease or Marfan’s Syndrome.

Can They be Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no proven method to get rid of stretch marks completely. However, they can be reduced and managed with some treatments if the marks are light. Some also fade over time. The earlier they are treated, the more effective the treatment is.

You can apply creams and lotions such as retinoids to help them fade. At home, you can apply lotions and creams that contain vitamin E, aloe vera, and cocoa butter. Diet, water intake and exercise will also help. Some people also hide stretch marks using cosmetics.

Medical treatments involve laser stretch mark removal, surgical stretch mark removal, chemical peels, blue light therapy and microdermabrasion.

Hydrate the Right Way During Your Workout  

60 percent of our body is made up of water, and we can lose a good amount of it when working out. When excessively sweating and doing strenuous activities, it is important to stay hydrated to help the body system function properly. However, many of us don’t drink enough. If you want to know how to get hydration right while working out, here are some of our tips.


  1. Choose the Right Liquid

If you do average exercises, around one to two hours at a time, water after workout is just enough. However, if you do more intense exercises and spend more than three hours working out, it’s best to have chocolate milk as it has calcium and sodium, which we lose when we sweat. It also has the right amount of carbs to refuel your energy.

  1. Consume the Right Amount

There isn’t really a prescribed amount of water that you should consume when working out, rather we recommend drinking whenever you feel the thirst. However, if you tend to sweat a lot, or if you just want to get a definite amount to be sure, four to six ounces of water every 15 minute of exercise is good enough.

  1. Pack In Some Carbs and Protein

While working out is good for the health, it’s common to get minor tissue and cell damage afterwards. Protein helps in the repair of these damages, so it’s recommended to rehydrate with protein drink after a workout. Also, the body uses up substantial amount of energy, therefore carbohydrates should also be replenished along with protein. Flavoured milk is a great substitute for water as your body’s fluid replacement.


  1. Drink Before You Exercise

We recommend drinking plenty of fluids before you start your routine, especially if you’re doing something more intense. Start drinking water about one to two hours before, say, a 30-minute run on a treadmill.

Drinking water during workout is important to replenish the lost body fluids. Remember that a dehydrated person is more prone to fatigue. Not drinking enough water makes your blood thicker and stresses the heart to work harder, which is never a good thing for your overall physical health.