What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are set-in streaks that show up on your stomach, breasts, hips, butt, and thighs. These long, thin, rippled marks are also called stria. 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.
And even though they’ll never really go away, they might fade over time or with help from certain products and procedures.
Stretch Marks Causes and Risk Factors
Stretch marks happen when your body grows quickly for any reason. Your skin can’t stretch enough to keep up.
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.
You may get stretch marks because of:
- Quick weight gain (this affects both men and women)
- Childhood growth spurts during puberty. Make sure kids know this is normal and that childhood marks may fade as they get older.
- Pregnancy as a result of stretched skin and a surge in hormones that weakens skin fibers. They might fade as you shed pounds after the baby is born.
- Breast implant surgery
- Bodybuilding,even those who have little fat can get them where their muscles bulge
- High amounts of steroids, either from steroid medications or illnesses like Cushing’s syndrome
- Marfan syndrome, a genetic disease that weakens your skin fibers and causes unusual growth
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a group of conditions that result from genetic changes to collagen, a protein in your body
They also run in families.
Stretch Mark Symptoms
New stretch marks may feel slightly raised and itchy. These rippled, streaky lines in your skin come in different colors. They fade from red or pink to purplish-blue to thinner, pale, more scar-like streaks over time. You may not notice them as much.
They can show up on many parts of your body:
- Stomach or torso
Stretch Mark Diagnosis
The doctor only has to look at your skin to diagnose them. But they’ll probably ask about your medical history. If you’ve taken either oral or topical steroids for a long time, high cortisol levels in your body might be to blame.