Try to think of balloons. When you stretch or blow them up, you would see a part of them that would get thin or fade in color. Also, when you exhale too much air into them that is beyond their capacity, they’ll explode. The same goes for one’s skin. When there’s too much tension exerted on your skin, it will result in skin weaknesses, that is, stretch marks. Dr. Michael Swann, who specializes in skin cancer and cosmetic procedural dermatology, defined stretch marks as holes in your dermis.
The American Academy of Dermatology  expounded that stretch marks are developed when one’s skin will quickly stretch or shrink. The sudden change causes elastin and collagen to rupture, causing stretch marks.
Stretch marks occur during growth spurts in puberty, pregnancy, and rapid weight gain and loss. If we’re talking about a time one’s skin stretches beyond its capacity, then we can say working out may lead to gaining stretch marks too.
If you’re already having exercise-induced stretch marks and don’t want to settle for topical creams and laser surgeries, the following easy remedies are worth giving a try.
1. Reduce Lifting Loads
The main reason why you have exercise-induced stretch marks is that you’re putting too much tension on your muscles, stretching your skin more than its capacity. Muscle tension doesn’t always mean you’re building up or endurance and burning calories.
Sometimes, you’re just doing things the wrong way and pushing yourself too much unsafely. That’s why it’s best to train with a professional who can guide you with proper measures. The first step is to reduce the weight of loads that you are working out, and gradually increase the weight as soon as your body can adapt.
No matter how much you want to gain a muscular physique, you can’t bulk up in a week, so don’t do things hastily; otherwise, you may hurt yourself. The safest way to build muscle is to lift lighter weights at higher repetitions.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water is a must, as well. Staying hydrated will turn your skin to be softer and more resilient against damage. For optimal skin elasticity, bear in mind that your skin has to remain hydrated.
3. Avoid yo-yo dieting
While there are some instances when your fitness trainer would ask you to gain weight or lose weight, yo-yo dieting can cause stretch marks. Yo-yo dieting is the cyclical gaining and losing of weight like the up and down motion of a yo-yo. The sudden changes in weight will also lead to sudden changes in the skin, which will eventually lead to getting stretch-marks.
4. Have a Nutritious Diet
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best and easiest way to prevent having more stretch marks from an intense workout. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: collagen. It fills in the gaps where the tensioned, over-stretched skin dip and dents.
You should include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains that can boost collagen production and promote skin health. The following are what you need to stimulate collagen production.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Vitamins C provides oxygen and hydrogen, which process called hydroxylation, to the amino acids within collagen cells so they can work their parts functionally during collagen production. If you don’t get enough amount of Vitamin C, your collagen production will slow down.
Oranges are rich in Vitamin C. It can fill the spaces between cells that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, turn skin to be more supple, heal the body from damage. Apart from oranges, here are a few Vitamin C-rich foods that can improve collagen production and supports skin health:
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
One research suggested that maintaining enough amount of Vitamin D may decrease the risk of stretch marks. However, there are only a few scientific evidence to date that shows the correlation between low levels of vitamin D and the increasing possibility of having stretch marks.
Further, vitamin D has a role in skin regulation. Hence, it may play an essential role in preventing the epidermal atrophy, which occurs from sudden growth or overstretching. That’s why many best women’s vitamins  contain this micronutrient. Aside from vitamins, sun exposure, egg yolks, fish oil, and tuna are the primary sources of Vitamin D.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that promotes healing in your skin, so it may reduce or prevent the tension in your skin that may lead to stretch marks. It mainly protects the skin from damage caused by free radicals and gives your skin a youthful look.
The following are some foods that are high in vitamin E.
- Beet greens
- Butternut squash
- Some oils (e.g., Wheat germ, Rice bran, Grapeseed, or Safflower oils)
- Sunflower seeds
- Swiss chard
Zinc reduces skin inflammation and works in the wound healing process. It’s the one that avoids your skin to be damaged and broken. There is a small number of studies to date that show the relationship between stretch marks and zinc; however, zinc-rich foods support skin health and collagen production.
Here’s a sample plan-based list of foods that are rich in zinc, mainly recommended by a registered dietitian, Julieanna Hever in her book The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition:
5. Don’t get stressed
We all wanted not to get stressed, of course. In fact, there’s another reason why you shouldn’t be! Studies show that stress may interfere with your skin’s collagen production. This may be one of the reasons why your stretch marks aren’t getting any better.
Trying not to get stressed is not only to prevent stretch marks  but also for your overall mental and emotional health. If you have a bad day at work and have been worn out from hitting the gym, take a rest.
- How to get rid of stretch marks – American Academy of Dermatology
- Women’s Multivitamins – Barbend.com
- Avoiding Stretchmark – Healthfully.com