What exactly is a stretch mark?
A stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin, which support our skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.
Not everyone develops these narrow bands on their skin. Fluctuating hormone levels seem to play a role. You may also have a higher risk if people in your family get stretch marks.
If you develop stretch marks, you’re most likely to do so during these times:
Growth spurts that happen in puberty
Rapid weight loss or gain
Weight training when you have rapid muscle growth
Applying a corticosteroid to your skin for a long time can also cause stretch marks. If you have Cushing’s disease or Marfan syndrome, you may see stretch marks.
When stretch marks first appear, they tend to be red, purple, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. Early stretch marks may feel slightly raised and can be itchy.
In time, the color fades and the narrow bands sink beneath your skin. If you run your finger over a mature stretch mark, you often feel a slight depression.
What can get rid of stretch marks?
Like any scar, stretch marks are permanent, but treatment may make them less noticeable. Treatment can also help alleviate the itch.