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Stretch Marks and Men

Striae (Stretch Marks)


Updated July 14, 2014

We tend to think of stretch marks as something that affect women much more than men but that is just not true. Men can get them too.

Even though the skin is amazingly flexible and adaptable it does get to a point where it can no longer stretch any more without showing the signs of wear and tear. Stretch marks most often occur when skin stretches faster than it can grow. The dermis (inner layer of skin) gets thinner as it stretches and tears. These small tears mean you can see the blood vessels and that is what gives stretch marks their pink to purple color. After a period of time, the dermis heals and the stretch marks return to a color close to that of the surrounding normal skin.

Also known as striae, stretch marks are not harmful. Some men do seem to be predisposed to getting them. In some cases, this may be due to a disease that causes their bodies to overproduce a hormone called corticosteroid. In addition to causing rapid weight gain, corticosteroid can decrease the amount of collagen, a protein in the skin fibers that keep it stretchy.

Causes of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are common in:

  • Adolescence when you have periods of fast growth. Not great for teens when appearance is so important.

  • Athletes training bulks up muscle. Stretch marks are very common in weight lifters.

  • In weight gain where the skin undergoes rapid changes.

  • The same principle of weight gain applies to women during pregnancy and that is why up to 70% of pregnant women get stretch marks.

    Straie (stretch marks) can also occur as a result of disease. These diseases include Cushing's Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, over use of steroid hormones, and sometimes in diabetes.

    Treatments for Stretch Marks
    You will need to consult your doctor. Although there are over the counter cosmetic products available many of them have minimal or no effect.

    Tretinoin creams used to treat acne have also be found to be effective for stretch marks. It is believed to work by increasing the amount of connective tissue in the skin and preventing the break down of existing skin.

    Dermabrasion, and laser treatment by qualified cosmetic surgeons can improve color and skin texture and help with severe unsightly stretch marks.

    Stretch marks can have a profound effect on men's behavior and self confidence so it is important to explore treatment options if you feel embarrassed or are worried by yours

    Prevention of Stretch Marks
    There are some things that may help prevent stretch marks, although things like rapid growth in teenage years is obviously unavoidable.
    Try to avoid rapid skin stretching that occurs with weight loss and weight gain with sensible dieting.

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