Stretchmarks - Why Do They Happen?
Stretch marks happen when your body grows quickly for any reason. Your skin can’t stretch enough to keep up. These long, thin, rippled marks are also called stria.
Collagen is a protein that makes your skin more elastic. If your skin doesn’t have enough, the marks may show up as it stretches.
The skin consists of three key layers. Stretch marks form in the dermis, or middle layer, when the connective tissue is stretched beyond the limits of its elasticity. This is normally due to rapid expansion or contraction of the skin.
As the body grows, the connecting fibers in the dermis slowly stretch to accommodate slow growth. However, rapid growth leads to sudden stretching. This causes the dermis to tear, allowing deeper layers of skin to show through. This can form stretch marks and contributes to the way they look.
Stretch marks eventually fade to a silvery, white, or glossy appearance, due to the pale fat beneath the skin becoming visible instead of the usual blood vessels.
They are more likely to develop and become more severe where there are high levels of circulating cortisone, or when cortisone is applied to the skin. Cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is converted into cortisone. This weakens elastic fibers in the skin.
Who Gets Them?
- Stretch marks are more common in women, especially during pregnancy. As your tummy grows to make room for a baby, your skin stretches. Hormones that surge when you’re pregnant may also weaken skin fibers and cause stretch marks.
- Any body part that gets bigger during pregnancy could get stretch marks. They might fade as you shed pounds after the baby is born.
- Both women and men who are overweight can get the marks. Even bodybuilders who have little fat can get them where their muscles bulge.
- Kids might get them if they suddenly get taller or gain weight, like during puberty. Make sure they know this is normal. Childhood marks may fade as kids get older.
You may get stretch marks because of:
- Quick weight gain or childhood growth spurts
- Breast implant surgery
- Marfan syndrome, a genetic disease that weakens your skin fibers and causes unusual growth
- Genetics - yes, skin issues run in DNA too
What Do They Look Like?
Stretch marks are long, narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin. They occur when the skin is suddenly stretched and are extremely common.
Anyone can develop stretch marks, although they tend to affect more women than men.
They can occur on a range of body parts, including the stomach, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, and lower back.
This type of scarring happens when the skin cannot resume normal form after a period of intense growth, often due to pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, or puberty. Over 50% of women experience stretch marks during pregnancy.
They can show up on many parts of your body...
The most common areas affected include:
- butt/upper and lower
- back of knees
- arms/underarm area
What are signs I could be getting stretch marks?
Before stretch marks begin to emerge, the skin can appear thin and pink. It may also feel irritated or itchy.
The marks initially develop as wrinkly, raised streaks that can be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown or dark brown, depending on skin color. The streaks eventually fade and flatten and tend to change to a silvery color over time.
Stretch marks may gradually become less noticeable, but this can often take years. If you have stretch marks, you probably wish they’d go away. These grooves or lines in your skin aren’t harmful to your health, but they aren’t great to look at, either.
Why wait when you can take action now?
Shop Belli Pregnancy Safe Products to prevent Stretchmarks.