Stretch Marks

stretch marks causes

What are stretch marks?

A good many of us, women more than men, have stretch marks somewhere on our bodies. Stretch marks are particularly common in women who have undergone pregnancy. These are striations or lines that form in certain areas of the skin that have suffered sudden stretching. These marks are actually scars that result from the breakage of the middle layer of the skin when it is forced to stretch without being adequately prepared for it. Normally, the skin has the natural ability to stretch to a certain extent. Stretch marks appear when the stretching forces exceed the normal capacity of the skin or when the person has a medical condition that compromises the elasticity of their skin.

The medical term for stretch marks is ‘striae’. Those that appear as a result of pregnancy are known as ‘striae gravidarum’. The marks themselves are entirely harmless and will not cause you any further problems. However, if there is an underlying medical problem that is responsible for the marks, then you may suffer from symptoms as a result of that disorder.

What causes stretch marks?

Our skin is composed of three layers. The outermost layer is known as the epidermis while the middle layer is called the dermis and the innermost one is known as the hypodermis.

When you gain weight rapidly or when, for a range of possible reasons, the skin is forced to stretch beyond its natural capacity, the dermis develops tears in certain areas.

This is what shows up in the form of stretch marks.

A pregnant woman will most likely develop stretch marks around her midsection. This is an outcome of the rapid expansion that her midsection undergoes over a relatively short period of time as the fetus develops and grows larger in the womb. The pressure exerted on the skin from within forces the dermis to tear in certain areas to be able to cope.

However, pregnancy is not the only reason for stretch marks to appear. In fact, even men can have them. The general rule is that any condition that involves significant changes in weight can potentially be a cause for stretch marks to form. So, even if you are a young person with normal body weight, the rapid growth spurts that your body underwent during puberty may have resulted in stretch marks in a few different areas. A rapid gain of weight is another common cause.

Additionally, having elevated levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol alters the elasticity of the skin and makes it more prone to developing stretch marks. Cortisol is converted into a form known as cortisone which has the tendency to weaken elastin fibers that impart stretchability to the skin. Hence, endocrine disorders that affect the activity of the adrenal glands are known risk factors for stretch marks.

 

What factors increase the probability of developing stretch marks?

stretchmarksThere are quite a few factors that may be responsible for the formation of stretch marks. You are more likely to develop these marks in the following instances:

  • Adolescent growth spurt.
  • Rapid weight gain or loss.
  • Being obese.
  • Having a familial tendency to develop stretch marks.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Your baby is particularly large, causing your skin to stretch more.
  • Being older at the time of pregnancy is a risk factor because your skin loses elasticity and suppleness as you age.
  • Corticosteroid abuse or prolonged use of corticosteroid-based medications.
  • Cushing’s disease.
  • Marfan syndrome.
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
  • Bodybuilding.

What do stretch marks look and feel like?

Stretch marks usually appear in the form of clusters of long and short striations across a certain patch of skin.

This is usually an area that has undergone rapid stretching.

The marks may be lighter in color or reddish in comparison with the surrounding skin.

Sometimes, they may itch and feel irritated. They may fade with time but it is rare for them to go away entirely on their own.

Such marks are usually present in areas such as the hips, breasts, thighs or buttocks.

When you touch them, they may appear slightly ridged or different in texture as compared to the normal skin surrounding them. The exact pattern of arrangement of these scars differs depending on the cause. For instance, pregnant women often develop stretch marks around the base of the belly or in the form of lines radiating outward from the bellybutton.

 

I have stretch marks. Should I be concerned?

The marks themselves are benign and you should have no concern about that account. Most people have some stretch marks and this is very common and natural to a certain extent. The marks may remain as they are or they may fade slightly with time. You are not going to develop any health problems or skin disorders as a result of your stretch marks.

However, if your marks were actually caused by an undiagnosed medical disorder affecting the functioning of your adrenal glands, then you will likely develop some symptoms as a result of the disorder itself and not because of the stretch marks. In your case, the marks are an outward indicator that there is something wrong with the endocrine system. They are not the problem in themselves but they are one of the symptoms of the problem.

 

What should be done about them?

Assuming you are not actually suffering from an endocrine disorder or any other problem affecting cortisol production in your body, then you do not need treatment for the stretch marks. However, many women often feel embarrassed by their stretch marks and attempt to take steps to correct existing ones and prevent new ones from appearing. Many companies advertise creams and topical applications designed to prevent stretch marks or fade existing ones. Do not use these without consulting a dermatologist first.

There exist several different options for cosmetic removal of stretch marks. You could use tretinoin applications to improve collagen production in the skin in order to restore its elasticity. Other options include laser treatment and microdermabrasion. The efficacy of each method varies and it is best to consult a dermatologist on which would best suit your needs and your budget. A much simpler and economical option is to merely cover up the marks with foundation and makeup, should you feel the need to hide them.

On the internet, you will find dozens of home remedies or advertisements for creams and lotions that claim to smooth over and eliminate your stretch marks. Take these with a pinch of salt. If you have sensitive skin, do not implement these methods without prior approval of a dermatologist. However, you should know that stretch marks are harmless and, to some extent, nearly everyone has them. You could even choose to let them remain as they are. However, if you are also experiencing symptoms indicating an endocrine disorder then it would be best to get yourself checked.

 

Facts

  • Hormonal fluctuations are largely responsible for the creation of stretch marks. Collagen and elastin fibers keep the skin tight and supple. Due to hormonal issues, the production of these substances is hampered.
  • It is not necessary that only obese and over-weight people will have the issue of stretch marks. Even slim-bodied people can develop stretch marks.

Facts

  • It affects both genders equally.
  • Certain illnesses such as Cushing’s syndrome and Marfan syndrome lead to the formation of stretch marks on the skin.

Facts

  • Almost 75% to 90% pregnant women will develop stretch marks.
  • Stretch marks can appear on the skin even because of steroid intakes.

Related Conditions

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep yourself well-hydrated.Moisturising the skin regularly will help prevent stretch marks.
  • Include more of vitamin A and vitamin C in your diet (not through supplements).
  • If the stretch marks are too deep, you can follow up with microdermabrasion and chemical peel treatments. Laser treatments are also quite helpful as they heal the collagen under the skin.
Don'ts
  • Count on these to provide a permanent visible solution.Topical ointments are not significantly helpful for treating this condition.
  • Start exercising vigorously and abruptly.It is better to have regulated exercising routines.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
low carb foods spinach
Low carb vegetables: A complete list of what to pick from during a keto diet Is your plate of veggies making you fat? Are all vegetables created equal? Research reveals that these low…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
MANUKA HONEY child
Manuka Honey Manuka honey is a specific type of honey produced by honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers…
waking up tired
10 reasons why you might be waking up tired Do you feel you are not getting enough sleep? Sleep-deprived and frustrated? Read on discover the real reasons…
anal sex
Anal sex: Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
canola oil cooking
Canola oil: How safe is it to consume this popular cooking oil? Extracted from rapeseeds, Canola oil derives its name from Canadian Oil. Did you know that some forms of…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
cold flu sinus treatment
How to beat the common cold, flu, and sinus infection instantly? Can you guess some of the easiest tricks to treat cold and sinus infections? How are these different…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
chia seeds weight loss
Chia seeds: How to consume this staple Aztec food to get a leaner body Chia seeds: What is the actual reason for its sudden popularity? Why are celebrities swearing by its amazing…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
Whole30 diet fad
Whole30 Diet – Why eliminating certain foods just doesn’t cut it Whole30 Diet: Is this the ‘whole’-y grail of a disease-free body? Read more to find out the truth…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However, how much fluoride…
Nitric oxide: Why is this heart-healthy supplement every sportsman’s first choice? Once considered a vastly toxic substance, nitric oxide is now deemed to be a great health supplement. Find…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Ketosis bad breath
Ketosis: A potentially dangerous side effect of the popular keto diet? Ketosis occurs when you have too low carb intake. Though it means rapid fat loss, it could also…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
stress adverse effects
Fight, flight, or freeze: 8 ways stress can ruin your body Did you know that stress is in-built in our systems? It helped our ancestors respond to danger. How…
top 5 deadliest cancers
A sneak peek into the top 5 deadliest cancers and the true nature of their origins Did you know that cancer is the 2nd leading cause of deaths globally? Among the 100s of different…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
Potassium healthy
Potassium: How only 100 mg a day can dramatically increase your lifespan! The word potassium comes from the process where wood ashes were stored in pots for extraction. What else…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
CBD oil safe
Cannabidiol benefits: Evaluating the “highs” of CBD Oil The word cannabis paints a picture of addicts. But did you know that CBD oil, extracted from the…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep going in vain?…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Healthy pregnancy tips
How to have a healthy pregnancy: Essential tips to remember What to expect when growing a life within you? How important are prenatal vitamins anyway? Don't make these…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Military diet
Military Diet : Why following a highly restrictive diet is a bad idea Is seiging your calorie intake the right way to attack fats? Read more about Military diet, a highly…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
kale
Kale: With more iron than beef, this superfood is the ultimate way to lose weight Checkmate meat-eaters; with kale, vegans now have the ultimate iron-rich superfood as their ally that can protect from…