Does Working Out Cause Stretch Marks?

Many people ask if working out causes stretch marks. The answer is no, but there are some things to keep in mind if you’re concerned about them.

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are a type of scarring caused by rapid stretching of the skin. They develop when the skin stretches or shrinks quickly, such as during puberty, pregnancy, or periods of rapid weight gain. Stretch marks are common, especially among women, and recent studies suggest that working out can have an impact on the development of stretch marks. Let’s take a look at what we know about the topic.


Stretch marks, also known as striae or striae distensae, are long, narrow streaks or lines that develop on the skin and typically occur after sudden changes in the skin’s flexibility. This could be due to pregnancy, puberty, weight gain or significant muscle mass gain. These marks often start off as purplish or reddish in color then fade over time to a white, silver or even glossy appearance. While they don’t usually cause pain and rarely pose any health risks, many people choose to seek treatments for them because of how they look.


Stretch marks, medically known as striae, are red, purple or white lines that occur on the skin when it is stretched too far too quickly. Most commonly found on the hips, stomach, buttocks and thighs, stretch marks form when skin collides with extreme stretching forces. When the dermis — or middle layer of the skin — tears due to excess stress or strain, the underlying blood vessels begin to show through and create a distinct stripe-like line in the skin’s upper layers.

There are a few common causes of stretch marks:
-Pregnancy. rapid weight gain or weight loss, hormonal changes and over-exercising can all contribute to an increased risk for developing stretch marks during pregnancy
-Hormonal changes associated with puberty can trigger a sudden increase in growth hormones in kids and teens
-Rapid shifts in weight due to nutrition or exercise can cause strain on otherwise healthy tissue
-Corticosteroid treatments like those prescribed for eczema or asthma can cause thinning of the skin and eventual damage when there is additional stress placed upon it

If you’ve ever wondered whether working out could lead to stretch marks, it’s worth noting that this is more likely caused by overworking than by working out itself. It’s possible that diligent exercise can lead to increased stress on tissue — such as muscle fibers — resulting in stretch marks if targeted areas grow quickly enough.


Stretch marks are thin lines that form when the skin is stretched rapidly. They can appear on different parts of the body; however, they are most frequently found in areas with higher fat content such as the stomach, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. Stretch marks have a variety of causes including puberty, pregnancy and sudden weight loss or gain. Although stretch marks may appear to be a similar color to the surrounding skin, they often appear more red or purple when first appearing. As time passes their color usually fades to more pale than their groups of color of the skin tone.

There are several types of stretch marks:
-Atrophic: These typically appear during rapid weight gain or growth spurts and tend to be found in teens and pregnant women. Atrophic marks often start as purple or red streaks that fade into lighter colors over time.
-Striae distensae: These types of stretch marks typically form during pregnancy when contours change suddenly due to rapid weight gain or swelling during delivery. They can also form at other times in life such as after taking steroids or following bouts of excessive exercise.
-Striae rubrae: This type results from severe stretching which is usually associated with rapid weight gain/loss or muscle growth/atrophy during intense physical exercise like bodybuilding training regimens. This type almost looks torn and appears redder than other types.
-Striae gravidarum: Commonly known as “pregnancy stretch marks” these tend to show up on the abdomen area during the second half of pregnancy due to rapid weight gain caused by water retention. They tend to fade into whitish silver tones after childbirth but can still affect self confidence if left untreated for long periods of time

Does Working Out Cause Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are a common concern for many people and can be the result of a variety of factors, including weight gain, puberty, and even exercise. While it is true that working out can cause stretch marks, the actual cause is usually related to the intensity of the workout, and not necessarily the workout itself. This article will examine the potential link between working out and stretch marks and discuss potential solutions for preventing and treating them.

Factors that Contribute to Stretch Marks

Although there is no definitive answer as to whether working out can cause stretch marks, research suggests that certain types of physical activity can contribute to their formation. Stretch marks are formed when the skin expands more than its elasticity allows, resulting in tears in the dermis layer of the skin. Exercise and activities that involve a rapid gain and/or loss in muscle or fat can contribute to the formation of stretch marks.

When muscles expand rapidly during weight training or other types of exercise, there is an increase in muscle size and tension on the skin. This coupled with perspiration results in an excessive stretching of the skin which causes microtears. Similarly, any type of weight loss that causes either a sudden increase or decrease in fat deposits can cause these tears as well.

Additionally, genetics play a role in whether an individual experiences stretch marks after working out: some people may be naturally predisposed to developing them while others may never experience them at all despite engaging in strong physical activity. Identifying factors such as family history and lifestyle habits will help guide individuals when they’re making decisions about exercising.

How to Prevent Stretch Marks from Working Out

Many people wonder if working out can cause stretch marks. While it is true that increased muscle activity can increase the risk of stretch marks, stretching alone cannot produce them. Stretch marks are tiny tears in the surface of the skin caused by rapid stretching of skin beyond its normal limits – an activity you don’t typically do while exercising. However, if you’re prone to stretch marks, adding intense muscle gain activities to your workout routine could leave you with unsightly lines in unwanted places.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent stretch marks from developing when working out.
-Start your fitness routine gradually and progress slowly over time so your skin has time to adapt alongside your muscles.
-Focus on activities that involve smaller ranges of motion and fewer sudden movements that can place a strain on the skin, such as running or bodyweight exercises instead of plyometrics or powerlifting.
-Choose clothing that fits snugly but isn’t overly restrictive – tight clothing won’t support the stretching process and may contribute to the development of stretch marks over time.
-Stay hydrated with plenty of water while exercising by drinking 8-10 glasses each day and monitor food intake levels: Dehydration can lead to dry skin which further increases risk for developing stretch marks.
-Try using lotions or creams each day after exercise containing vitamins A, E or K which may help reduce staining and encourage proper healing beneath the surface such as a blend containing rose hip oil (logicofbamatural’s Transformative™ Scar Balm).

Treatments for Stretch Marks

Stretch marks can be caused by many things, including sudden changes in weight, puberty, pregnancy, and in some cases, even exercising. While there is not a surefire way to prevent them, there are a few treatments that can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. These treatments can range from topical treatments to laser therapy and other medical procedures. Let’s take a look at a few of these treatments.

Home Remedies

Home remedies are a great way to help reduce and prevent stretch marks from forming. However, it is important to remember that these treatments will differ from person to person depending on the skin’s natural healing process.

The best-known home treatment for stretch marks is massage. Massage helps break down the scar tissue in the skin, improving blood flow and releasing tension, thereby loosening any tightness caused by the stretching of the skin. This helps reduce new stretch marks or fading existing ones. To ensure effective results, it is best to massage the area for at least 7 minutes daily for two weeks, using oil or cream with vitamin E and/or natural ingredients such as cocoa butter and almond oil.

Another common home remedy is exfoliation. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of the affected area and exposes softer layers beneath them; this helps promote healthy cell regeneration in that area while facilitating absorption of healing ingredients used in topical creams. It is advised to exfoliate stretch mark areas around twice a week using a gentle scrub containing lactic acid or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are natural exfoliants found in many products like facial cleansers and body scrubs.

Aloe vera gel is another natural remedy often used topically to help soothe irritated skin and make existing stretch marks appear less prominent by reducing their width and depth over time when applied regularly onto affected areas twice daily for two months or more as directed. However, it should be noted that results will vary from person to person since effectiveness depends on individual skin types and conditions.

Medical Treatments

Medical treatments are available to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, although they may not be suitable for everyone. Depending on the severity of the marks, your doctor may recommend one or more of these treatments:

1. Laser therapy: This procedure involves using a laser to break down existing stretch marks and stimulate collagen production in the lower layers of skin. Treatments are usually done as a series over 6 to 8 weeks for best results.

2. Microdermabrasion: This treatment uses tiny particles that “sand” away the upper layer of skin to remove scars and discolorations, including those from stretching or pregnancy. Multiple treatments and follow-up sessions may be necessary for optimal results.

3. Topical creams: Products such as tretinoin cream may help restore elasticity in the skin if used shortly after stretch marks form; however, they may not be effective if used several years later when scars have already formed. In some cases, steroid creams are used when other treatment options have failed.

4. Intense pulsed light (IPL): IPL is a type of light therapy that directs high intensity pulses over small areas of skin to reduce discoloration caused by stretch marks or scars from injuries or illness. The individual treatments are also relatively quick and painless, with little or no downtime afterward.


After considering all the factors, it can be concluded that there is no clear answer on whether working out causes stretch marks or not. While there is some evidence that intensely working out could cause stretch marks, the research is not conclusive and other factors such as genetics may play a role as well. It is important to note that it is always best to consult with a health professional before starting a new workout regimen, as they will be able to give the best advice regarding how to prevent stretch marks from developing.


In conclusion, exercise itself does not cause stretch marks to occur; however, the associated weight gain and rapid muscle growth can trigger the formation of stretch marks. It is important to monitor your weight, especially if you are doing weight training, in order to reduce your risk of developing stretch marks. Proper nutrition and healthy hydration are essential components of any exercise routine, as they can help to optimize muscle growth while reducing the amount of skin stretching involved with large-scale changes in mass. Additionally, supple skin can fight against stretching and reduce your chances of developing Stretch Marks. Furthermore, adding skin-nourishing supplements and “stretch mark” creams into your daily regimen as soon as you detect new development can help improve their appearance and prevent them from worsening over time. Ultimately, taking care of your body should be a priority when it comes to exercising, as putting it through extreme physical stress for extended periods of time can have long-term impacts on overall health and appearance.

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