Contrary to what photoshopped ad campaigns in the media would suggest, almost everybody gets stretchmarks.
According to one study about 90% of pregnant women get them. But that’s not all, during puberty around 70% of women and 40% of adolescent males can expect stretch marks to show up at some point.
For something that’s so popular across all races and body types, we don’t hear stretch marks being talked about very much. Here’s what you might like to know…
Understanding Stretch Marks
Stretch marks (also known as striae), are caused by the stretching of your skin past the limits of its elasticity. These stripes form on the sub layer of your skin called the dermis, but are seen through the outer layer called the epidermis. As the skin attempts to heal after stretching, the result is what we see on the outside as a stretch mark.
They’re not painful, though can sometimes be itchy or sore around the time they develop. Just like a scab, you don’t want to scratch or pick at stretch marks since you could end up damaging the skin. It’s recommended to use moisturizer to help stop the itchy sensation.
You might be surprised to know that no two stretch marks are the same. Typical sites for stretch marks are on the abdomen, hips, and thighs, though it’s possible to get them just about anywhere one has skin.
Why Do We Get Stretch Marks?
They often occur during adolescence, so we tend to associate stretch marks with puberty, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Genetics play a role in developing stretch marks, as does gaining or losing weight, developing muscle mass, and of course with the growth of the baby during pregnancy.
Stretch marks are a natural part of human development, so there’s no conclusive way to avoid them.
Most often when we hear people talk about stretch marks, they’re looking for ways to get rid of them. But since they’re a part of growth that we have little control over, perhaps a better solution would be to embrace them as much as possible.
Can You Get Rid of Them?
If you’re really wrapped up in getting rid of your stretch marks, the good news is that they fade over time. That’s good news because when they first show up they’re often in a pink or purple tone. Though they might not go away entirely, often with time they’ll fade in colour and become much less noticeable.
There are topical treatments and options like laser therapy and microdermabrasion (which should always be done by a professional) that you can consider if you really dislike your stretch marks. If you’re interested in reviewing your options, talk to your doctor to see what would be safe and most effective for you.
No Shame in the Skin You’re In
Feeling good in your skin is about confidence and self-love that comes from the inside out. Sometimes we get hung up on things on the surface, like stretch marks.
The bottom line is this – you can let something on the surface determine how you feel about yourself, or you can change the way you feel about your stretch marks. After all, they’re a part of life (and the majority of the population has them in one place or another). Since you can’t control them, direct your attention to the beauty that is you inside and out, and don’t let them control you.