Cause of Stretch Marks

When do stretch marks happen?

Simply put, stretch marks occur when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with.  As most of us know, our skin is very elastic and can maintain it’s shape well tPregnancy stretch markshrough minor changes in body mass.  But in periods of relative rapid size change in our bodies such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Puberty
  • Rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Family history
  • Chronic use of corticosteroid medications.

These cover the vast majority of the causes of stretch marks, with pregnancy, puberty and rapid weight gain being the primary cause of an estimated 80% or more of all stretch marks.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks or striae are caused by the dermis, or center layer of the skin tearing. The dermis is comprised of strong, interconnected fibres that can stretch or move as your body moves.  But when the body changes quickly such as during pregnancy, the dermis layer often cannot stretch quickly enough and will tear.  This is often due to a lack or low collagen levels.

Skin layers diagram showing stretch marks on the dermis layer

Most often, the onset of stretch marks is marked by a feeling of itchiness.  If and when this occurs, it is advisable to start using a prevention cream such as the ones we focus on on this website in order to prevent or minimize the occurrence of stretch marks.  Leaving it too late will almost undoubtedly result in stretch marks forming; over 80% of all women get stretch marks from pregnancy.

When stretch marks first occur, many people will find they are quite red and very noticeable against the paler skin beside it.  This of course depends on your natural skin color.  The redness in the stretch marks will almost always fade somewhat over time; your body will rush blood to the affected dermis layer in an attempt to heal it.  When this has stabilized, the stretch marks tend to be much more white in color.

Where do stretch marks occur?

Stretch marks can occur on virtually any part of the body that exhibits relatively quick change in size or weight gain/ loss.  The most common areas of the body for stretch marks to appear are:

Stomach

Breasts

Buttocks

Thighs

– Generally occur from pregnancy, rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss. – Usually occur during pregnancy or puberty. – Occur during puberty, pregnancy or rapid weight gain/loss. – Common to pregnancy and rapid weight change.

 

Other common areas for stretch marks to appear are hips, lower back, underarms and upper arms.

As a final note, it is important for you to understand that stretch marks pose NO health risk and do not effect the body’s natural abilities in anyway.  While many of us do not like the look of stretch marks nor want to see them on their body, there is no cause for any health concerns.  On this site we delve into the topics of reducing or eliminating stretch marks as well as steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place; This is not necessary for our physical health but for many of us it is important for our mental health.

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