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Bulking up

The pros and cons...

Bulking up
Danielle de Wolfe
01 September 2011

Q: I recently managed to drop a couple of pounds around the waist and have bulked up around my arms too. While I’m happy with the results in terms of size, the skin around these areas has developed a weird texture and gone a bit purple. Which kind of detracts from all the hard work I’ve put in at the gym. Any suggestions?

Mike, Tyne and Wear

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

A: What you have, my friend, are stretch marks - the very same affliction that pregnant women moan about once they’ve popped a sprog and find that the skin around their lady stomach has gone kaput. Congrats on the new bod, though.

Stretch marks are caused by tearing of the dermis and can be pretty nasty depending on your age, race, diet and skin hydration. Basically the body expands too quickly for the skin to adjust so it breaks and leaves a scar as it tries to repair.

The bad news is you’re probably not going to be able to cure your stretch marks completely if they’re really severe or deep. Having said that, dedicated use of a topical product over a couple of months will make them a lot less noticeable. Some products marketed towards pregnant women might not be very appealing, but they’ll do the trick if you apply them religiously (see something like Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil £23 for 120ml from

The goal is to repair the broken skin layer, stimulate collagen production, improve texture and eradicate that weird purple colour – four very tall orders for one product to achieve with sporadic use.

I use a pretty common pharmacy product called Bio Oil (£8.95 for 60ml from any half-decent chemist; on my own dumbass-induced scrapes.

Bio Oil a dry vitamin-rich oil which is ideal for soothing any grazes and scars while speeding up the skin’s recovery time. An oil might sound high maintenance but it’s easily absorbed and, crucially, will penetrate farther down into the skin than a topical cream. Stick with it for a minimum of three months, applying it twice daily and see what happens.

Be patient, be disciplined and, most importantly, try and keep your size steady for the next few months so your skin has a chance to repair

(Image: Rex Features)

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