Stretch marks are a common occurrence and are a source of self-esteem issue for people around the world. Despite the fact that almost every second person has experienced the appearance of stretch marks in their life, there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the topic.
There are very high chances that you might have come across a bulk of conflicting information regarding stretch marks, such as where they appear, who gets them, how their appearance can be minimized, or how they can be completely removed.
Well, we are here to bust some of the myths surrounding stretch marks, and give you all the facts the way they are!
So, without further ado, here are some myths and facts about the occurrence of stretch marks.
Myths About Stretch Marks
1. Only Pregnant Women Get Them
This is one of the biggest myths surrounding stretch marks! While it’s true that almost all pregnant women develop stretch marks, that’s not the whole truth. People of all ages, sizes and genders can get stretch marks. Some causes of stretch marks include puberty and growth spurts, quick weight loss or weight gain, and fast muscle loss or muscle gain.
Stretch Marks Go Away Completely
You don’t need to worry because stretch marks do fade away with time, but no treatment ensures their complete disappearance. When stretch marks first appear, they are often pink, red, or purple. However, over time, they fade to a subtler, more whitish color. There are various treatments that you can get to make your stretch marks fade away. Some of the serious treatments include laser therapy and plastic surgery, while a simple treatment would be to apply stretch mark cream.
While these treatments do help fade your stretch marks away, they don’t ensure that they will be gone forever! There is a probability that if you get pregnant, or gain or lose too much weight quickly, your stretch marks may return.
2. Thin People Don't Get Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are often commonly associated with rapid weight gain, which definitely is a genuine cause of this occurrence. However, this belief also leads to the misconception that thin or lean people don’t get stretch marks. That is not true at all. Individuals of all weight ranges can experience stretch marks due to various reasons, such as puberty and growth spurts.
3. Only Women Get Stretch Marks
Another big misconception that most people have is that only women get stretch marks. We hate to break it to you, but men are just as likely to get stretch marks as women are. The fact is that stretch marks don’t discriminate based on gender. All this boils down to one fact – where there is skin, there is a possibility of the development of stretch marks. Men who experience significant and rapid weight or muscle gain and loss tend to get stretch marks.
4. Stretch Marks Are All One Color
While stretch marks appear on the body as stripes, they may vary from individual to individual. Some factors that affect the shape and color of stretch marks are how old the stretch marks are, their location on the body, and their severity. Since every individual’s skin is different, stretch marks react and appear differently.
When stretch marks are less than a year old, they are usually red or purple in color because of the blood vessels under the skin. As time goes by and they begin to settle in more, their tone changes to a more purples hue. If you don’t get any treatment during this time, your stretch marks will age and turn silver or white.
Stretch marks, medically known as striae, are a common skin concern surrounded by various facts and myths. A key fact is that stretch marks are essentially scars that form when the skin stretches or shrinks quickly, disrupting the collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis. This rapid change can be due to growth spurts, pregnancy, weight gain or loss, or muscle growth from exercise. While often associated with pregnancy, stretch marks can affect anyone, regardless of gender.
A common myth is that they can be entirely prevented or eliminated; while their appearance can be minimized through topical treatments like retinoids, hyaluronic acid, and laser therapies, no method can completely remove them. It's also a misconception that only overweight individuals get stretch marks; in reality, anyone can develop them, and factors like genetics play a significant role in susceptibility.
Another myth is that tanning can hide stretch marks; while tanning might temporarily mask them, UV exposure can actually degrade skin collagen further and make stretch marks more pronounced. Moisturizing the skin can keep it supple and may help reduce the risk of developing stretch marks, but it's not a guaranteed prevention method.
Stretch Marks Disappear With Weight Loss
Since weight gain is typically associated with the appearance of stretch marks, most people believe that losing weight will help get rid of them. However, this is just a myth. Although losing weight keeps your skin from stretching too much and helps reduce extra tension from it, it doesn’t help stretch marks too much as they are deep-rooted within the layers of your skin. Therefore, no amount of weight loss can undo the damage that has been sustained by the deeper layers of your skin.
Facts About Stretch Marks
1. Stretch Marks Are Caused by Stretching
As the name suggests, stretch marks are caused by the stretching of your skin. Whether you lose or gain too much weight, experience a growth spurt, or are pregnant, your body undergoes a major transformation during all these cases that affects your skin. Moreover, if your skin isn’t hydrated enough, you can expect them to get even worse.
2. Stretch Marks Are Just Scars
Another name for stretch marks is striae, which are basically scars. When the underlying tissues grow faster than the dermis layer of your skin can manage, tiny tears occur in the dermis. These tears typically lead to scars that become visible on the top-most layer of your skin as lines or stripes. So, stretch marks are basically scars that can occur anywhere on your body, including your arms, stomach, thighs, butt, backs, legs, and even breasts.
3. Stretch Marks Are Hereditary
A research study shows a prominent link between your genetics and the appearance of stretch marks. So, if your mother or grandmother had stretch marks during their pregnancy or at any other time, there is a higher likelihood that you will develop them, despite looking after your skin.
4. Stretch Marks Can Itch
Stretch marks can be really itchy. When these tiny tears in your dermis occur, your body instantly begins to attempt to repair them. This healing process often registers as an itching sensation of your body, which gets worse if you have dry skin. In such cases, you need to resist the urge to scratch your stretch marks if you can. Instead, apply a moisturizing cream or a stretch mark cream that works. Amongst various other organic skincare products, ML Delicate Beauty offers a great stretch mark cream.
5. Stretch Marks Can Be Treated
There are various targeted stretch mark treatments that vary when it comes to potency and effectiveness. While they don’t ensure that your stretch marks will completely damage, they do help them fade away and reduce their appearance. Moreover, some stretch mark creams and treatments also help avoid the occurrence of future marks.
Most of these stretch mark treatments minimize the appearance of stretch marks by boosting collagen and elasticity in the skin. While you can opt for expensive treatment options, such as laser or plastic surgery, they are almost as good as other affordable, convenient and effective options, such as stretch mark creams.
Any can get stretch marks, regardless of their age, gender, and size. While they don’t completely vanish, you can treat them via moisturizing and regularly applying a natural cream for stretch marks. Stretch mark creams contain hydrating properties that can help make your skin soft and elastic, preventing the appearance of stretch marks. You just need to ensure that the cream you use is made of organic and natural ingredients like the natural stretch mark cream by ML Delicate Beauty.
Do you have stretch marks? What treatment are you currently using? Let us know in the comments below!
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Christine Wright is a trusted beauty expert and an esthetician who is loved by editors and bloggers. She is a prolific writer on the topics of natural, chemical-free skin and body care. She also does reviews on store brand beauty products, with fairness and a real point-of-view. She is well-known of creating products for specific skin types, especially to those with ultra-sensitive faces.