Stretch marks are essentially scars that occur when severe damage is done to collagen and elastin fibers; rapid growth of the skin or rapid weight loss is what causes this damage. When skin stretches or changes very quickly, especially if it’s dry, the proteins can’t hold their natural structure and end up tearing. Stretch marks look like uneven lines going across your skin, usually, there are a few right next to each other. These marks are usually raised or have some texture to them. The size of the stretch marks and texture looks a little bit different for everyone. While these can appear anywhere on the body, they are most commonly seen on hips, stomach, upper legs, and upper arms.
scrub me secret: women more commonly see stretch marks on places like breasts, hips, stomach, and thighs. men commonly experience stretch marks on upper arms, stomach, and chest.
Causes of stretch marks.
Rapid growth or change in the skin’s surface area is what's going to cause stretch marks. Gaining weight quickly is the main cause of these; a large amount of weight loss can also result in stretch marks. Women more commonly have these marks because breasts, hips, and butt often fluctuate size due to puberty, hormones, and pregnancies. Men can also see them from rapid weight change. Rapid fat gain or loss could cause stomach or back stretch marks while gain from muscle will typically give men marks on their upper arms, shoulders, or chest. Dry and sensitive skin types are more likely to see stretch marks. When our skin is lacking moisture and hydration our collage and elastin cells can’t handle changes as well.
scrub me secret: keeping your skin well nourished with a water-binding moisturizer like shea butter will help keep collagen and elastin cells healthy and stable. This will help keep stretch marks at bay. If you know you’re about to go through a big weight change make sure to load up on the moisturizers!
Different colors of stretch marks.
If you have stretch marks or have seen them before you may have noticed they come in a different range of colors. In lighter pigmented skin typed pink or reddish stretch marks indicate that this damage is newer. These generally may feel raised or have some texture to them. New stretch marks show up as a red/brown color in darker pigmented skin types. When we can catch this damage is a fresh stage and treat it, it’s a bit easier to soften and fade the markings. As the stretch marks get older they will darken a bit. Eventually, stretch marks will turn white and become hypo-pigmented, these marks can be softened but can’t be fully faded with skin care. There are now options to get your stretch marks tattooed with the color that matched your skin tone, this is something that can help mask the white marks.
scrub me secret: if you notice some new stretch marks on your body start treating the area with daily, mild exfoliation like a body scrub or dry brushing and a moisture-rich hydrator afterward. this can help fade the new markings and prevent more in that area. you can also ask your esthetician about body treatments!
Stretch mark love!
Stretch marks can be a tough skin care concern to deal with. Not only are they difficult to fully soften and fade, but they are also often seen as “unsightly”. Most commercial photos and media airbrush away stretch marks to give skin a smooth looking complexion. But let's be real! Most of us have a couple or quite a few stretch marks. If you don’t, consider yourself blessed! With wanting our skin to look, feel, and function at its healthiest we also have to embrace the imperfections we have. All skin is different and all skin has some type of imperfections, all that matters is that your skin is healthy and happy. Let’s embrace our stretch marks and treat them with the care they deserve!