How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks in Men
In this article, we’ll lay out the Groom+Style guide to stretch marks, including what they are, why men get stretch marks, and how to treat them.
Most people have seen stretch marks, or know someone who’s complained about having them, and while they are harmless they can cause a lot of anguish, damaging confidence. The effects are even worse if you have a tattoo in the area or its easily visible. We tend to think of stretch marks as something which only affect women, too, but that’s not true. Stretch marks may be more common in women, due most likely to them putting on weight around the thighs and hips more easily than men, but men can, and do, get stretch marks — it all comes down to skin elasticity.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks appear in both men and women as lines, ribbons or bands of discolored skin, usually lighter than the surrounding skin, but sometimes light pink, reddish or brown. They can travel in any direction, but usually stretch marks travel down.
You can get stretch marks anywhere on your body, but they’re most common in places where fat accumulates and disappears quickly, including:
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Healthy skin has a lot of elasticity, which allows it to stretch when you move or gain weight, but if that elasticity is pushed beyond its limit — when a person gains a lot of weight quickly, for example — the skin isn’t able to accommodate the growth, and stretch marks appear.
Imagine it like a balloon with the word ‘SKIN’ written on it. You can fill the balloon with water up to a point and still have the word SKIN read pretty clearly. Begin to overfill the balloon, though, and the word becomes stretched and distorted, to the point where you may even be able to see the lines of ink in the print.
Need a More Scientific Explanation of Stretch Marks?
Skin relies on collagen to stay taut, elastic and healthy. When a person gains a lot of weight quickly, and then loses it again, the production and distribution of collagen is disrupted. Without adequate collagen to keep the skin healthy, stretch marks appear.
Are Stretch Marks in Men Different?
The short answer is no, stretch marks are stretch marks whether you’re a man or a woman. Stretch marks in men and stretch marks in women are the same. The reason people tend to associate stretch marks more with women, could be that the places in which stretch marks tend to form, are the places in which women usually gain weight more easily than men.
The hips, thighs and buttocks, are all common hangouts for stretch marks, and after pregnancy, stretching of the stomach and weight gain, followed by weight loss, can lead to stretch marks.
But, men gain weight and lose it again quickly just as much as women do, and because stretch marks tend to stick around unless you deal with them, it makes no difference whether you’re a man or a woman.
Problem Areas for Stretch Marks in Men
Men can get stretch marks anywhere the skin has been stressed and stretched beyond its limits, but men and women distribute fat differently, which means stretch marks on men usually appear in different places.
The most common areas for men to get stretch marks include:
While women put on weight more easily around the hips and thighs, men put on weight more easily around the belly, chest and lower back (love handles.) That’s not to say that men can’t get stretch marks elsewhere, however. Men can get stretch marks anywhere the skin has been stretched beyond its limits. Men who have gained a lot of weight can get stretch marks right away, or they may appear once the weight disappears.
What Causes Rapid Weight Gain?
There are a few things which can cause rapid weight gain, some of which can be controlled, others are more unpredictable.
Poor diet and lifestyle — Eating too much sugar and unhealthy food and not getting enough exercise can cause weight gain.
Type II diabetes — Usually a result of poor diet (too much sugar), one of the outward characteristics of Type II diabetes is excessive weight gain.
Hormonal imbalances — Caused either by a genetic abnormality, or lifestyle factors.
Lack of sleep — Not getting enough sleep plays havoc with your hormones, which can lead to weight gain even if you’re eating reasonably well.
Illness — If you’ve been sick and/or bed-laden for a long time, some weight gain is as a normal as weight loss.
Best Stretch Mark Treatments for Men
All’s not lost for men with stretch marks. There are treatments available if you’ve found yourself with stretch marks because of weight gain, and they range from longer-term topical treatments, to more extensive medical procedures.
For topical treatments for men with stretch marks:
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Laser treatment — Laser treatment works by breaking up scar tissue, which is essentially what stretch marks are, allowing new skin to form in its place. You can read more about laser treatment at the Harley Medical Group website.
Tips for Preventing Stretch Marks
Prevention is always better than cure, so here are Groom+Style’s top 5 tips for preventing stretch marks:
Avoid rapid weight gain — Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
Take your vitamins — Vitamins A, C and D, especially, plus a quality omega-3 supplement.
Moisturise — Helps to keep your skin supple and flexible
Avoid prolonged sun exposure — It’ll damage your skin and dry it out.
Avoid stress — Stress only makes skin conditions worse, so be patient.
Visit the Groom+Style Art of Skin Care section for more on taking care of yourself, and please drop any comments or questions below.