Stretchmarks or "striae" are a harmless skin condition where the dermis (inner layer of the skin) or the collagen and elastin tear. As a result of this damage, the body heals itself and leaves behind a red or pinkish scar on the epidermis (outer layer of skin). Stretchmarks are a totally normal part of having a body that changes and grows.
It’s not a severe health condition, but people are often self conscious of what they wear and how they look. One of the places where the scars are most visible are the arms.
Causes of Arm Stretch Marks
Stretch marks on the arm are normally caused either by muscle or weight gain. They are most common in teenagers, pregnant women, and people that lift weights.
Our skin slowly adapts to growth, but when the shift happens at a faster rate than normal, the connective tissues lying underneath the skin are unable to keep up and it can result in stretch marks.
For instance a teenager going through a growth spurt may end up getting stretch marks, as limbs like the arms and legs are prone to rapid growth.
While pregnant women often get stretch marks on their abdomen, thighs, and hips they may also get them on their arms, as fat deposits are more prominent in the arms.
People who lift weights are breaking down muscle tissue. Your new muscles might cause the collagen to tear as the skin can't keep up with the muscle gain.
Arm Stretch Mark Treatment
As much as it hurts to say, there is no foolproof way to completely erase stretchmarks. Luckily, in a lot of cases stretch marks will diminish over several months without any treatment. It's important to remember that stretch marks are essentially a scar from the inside out, so there is no specific treatment that makes them disappear entirely.
As far as products go, Retinoid cream is the most popular. It is derived from Vitamin-A retinoids like tretinoin. Tretinoin helps to repair collagen and makes the stretch marks appear more like your regular skin.
For people that aren't apt to try Retinoid cream, castor oil is a more natural substitute. Start by applying the castor oil to the scar and massage gently. Use a cloth to wrap the scar and use a heating pad on the cloth for 20-30 minutes.
Lastly, if you have the money there’s also light and laser therapies. These therapies usually work best in the early stages of the stretch marks and may even reverse them and prevent scarring.
Lastly, it’s always important to consult an expert first. For instance a dermatologist can help lead you in the the right direction in regards to your arm stretch marks.
Preventing Arm Stretch Marks
Firstly, it's important to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Consider using a coconut or vitamin E oil cream as they help keep the collagen fibers strong. Also ensuring that you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated inside and out.
Your lifestyle is also quite important. You want to ensure you're eating a nutrient dense diet consisting of Vitamin E, C, zinc and other nutrients to help keep the skin healthy. Vitamin E specifically helps protect collagen from damage by promoting elasticity. Foods high in Vitamin E are: almonds, spinach, and avocados to name a few.
Prevention is better than cure they say. So if you haven’t experienced any arm stretch marks yet, then do yourself a favor and consider making a few lifestyle changes. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and consider using a coconut oil or vitamin E oil cream to help promote skin elasticity.