Stretch marks are like a scar that arises when your skin shrinks or stretches quickly. They appear suddenly, causing the collagen and elastin – which support skin – to rupture. They usually occur during puberty, when there are fluctuations in weight or pregnancy. Some skin products can also cause stretch marks.
Anyone can develop stretch marks. Fluctuation in hormone levels majorly plays a role in its occurrence. You can also risk having these narrow bands on your skin if people in your family have them.
If you are fond of applying corticosteroids on your skin and probably using it for a long time, you’re opening the door for stretch marks to set it. You may also see them if you have Marfan syndrome or Cushing’s disease.
The first thing you’ll notice when they appear is a red, pink, dark brown, purple, or reddish-brown colouration based on skin type. Early stretch marks can be itchy, causing the “marks” to become swollen and red.
After some time, the colour fades away, and the narrow bands sink underneath your skin. If your finger runs through a mature one, you’ll usually feel a slight depression in the affected area.
Why do stretch marks happen?
Stretch marks result from sudden shrinking or stretching of the skin. They can appear on the hips, abdomen, breasts, thighs, upper arm, and other body parts. Though they can fade over time, they may never vanish entirely. They often happen based on the following;
— Growth spurts in puberty
— Rapid weight loss or gain
— Weight lifting or bodybuilding
— Breast enlargement surgery
— Steroid use
How to treat them
Stretch marks are not harmful to your physical health and usually vanish without treatment. However, if you are uncomfortable with the appearance, it’s crucial to note that there is no magic bullet to eliminate them.
Similar to scars, they are permanent, but treatment may make them less detectable. Treatment can also help relieve the itch. If pregnant or nursing a child, talk to a doctor before treating stretch marks. Some products contain ingredients like retinol that can harm your baby. Speak to a doctor if you’re concerned about getting rid of it.