Stretch marks are often a thing of concern for lots of people. It often appears as lines, streaks or marks on the surface of the skin in areas like the chest, upper arms, thighs, belly and hips. Medically, the condition is known as striae.
These marks often get formed on the skin as a result of stuff like puberty, high steroid intake, rapid weight gain, bodybuilding and high intake of toxins.
Even though females are at more risk of getting stretch marks, this doesn’t mean men aren’t prone to getting stretch marks.
When the stretch marks are first formed, they appear pink or red, sometimes purple. However, when they get mature, they turn grey or off-white.
These marks form on the second layer of the skin, the dermis.
When the skin is stretched excessively beyond its capacity, the collagen fibres get damaged. This therefore causes the dermis layer to become broken or damaged.
The appearance of these marks are not always the same. They’re different because of the varied skin texture, complexion or nature of the stretch marks.
Fair people typically have pink or red stretch marks while the dark complexioned people have darker stretch marks.
Myths about Stretch Marks You Probably Believed
1. Only Women Get Stretch Marks
Even though majority of the people who get stretch marks are women, it is untrue that only women get stretch marks.
Men too, can be affected by stretch marks with same causes as in women. Infact, even teenage boys can be affected by stretch marks during puberty.
2. Thin people don’t get stretch marks
Since part of the reasons stretch marks occur is because of hormonal changes, it of course makes no sense that thin people do not go through hormonal changes too, because they absolutely do.
Genetic diseases like Cushing’s syndrome could make a thin person get stretch marks too.
3. Stretch Marks Cannot be Prevented
It is infact possible to prevent stretch marks from happening. You would simply need to eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
Also, exercising regularly and moisturizing your skin will help prevent the formation of stretch marks.
4. Stretch marks can be Completely Eliminated
This cannot be entirely true considering stretch marks occur on the dermal layer of the skin, which is the second skin layer.
Stretch marks could fade though but there’s no treatment that eliminates stretch marks 100%.
5. Stretch marks heal on their own with time
Stretch marks, like other scars will not entirely heal on their own if you do not make conscious efforts to get rid of them with your habits, lifestyle and diet.
Elastin fibres do not heal on its own with time unless efforts are made towards its healing.
6. Stretch marks go away as one loses weight
This is not true. Stretch marks do fade, however, they never fade with weight loss. This is because skin that gets thin and stretched to develop stretch marks cannot easily get back to normal.
The colours of the stretch marks do fade, but the stretch marks never fade completely.
7. Stretch marks can occur only on stomach
Stretch marks occur is several places, especially areas that store high fat. These areas include the breasts, upper arms, thighs and hips.
8. Stretch marks are caused by stretching of the skin and tears due to weight gain or pregnancy
It’s true that a sudden weight gain could lead to stretch marks. However, lots of other reasons can also cause stretch marks. These reasons include stress, intensive hormonal activity, sudden growth, lack of vitamins, high intake of toxins and steroidal drugs. These factors are also well-known causes of stretch mark formation.
9. The colour of stretch marks do not change
We’ve said before that stretch marks at the initial stage as often purple, red or pink. This is because the red vessels become visible and their colour obvious as a result of the tear on the dermal layer of the skin.
When the stretch marks get mature, they often fade and become grey or off-white depending on the colour or tone of your skin.
Tanning can Remove stretch marks
It’s not true that tanning can remove stretch marks. It may cover it up for a while though.
In other cases, tanning may actually worsen the appearance of stretch marks, particularly the white ones because those scars don’t tan.
The stretch marks may also become visible with a tan as the skin surrounding the marks get tanned, leaving the stretch marks to stand out.
11. Your diet does not affect stretch marks
According to dermatologists and dietitians, a nourishing and healthy diet that is rich in vitamins has huge effects on both appearance and health. The diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are ideal for the prevention of stretch marks.
Knowing this will help prevent stretch marks, even though your risks are higher as a result of genetics.
12. Keeping yourself hydrated has no effect on stretch marks
Clinically, keeping your body hydrated has been found to have huge preventive effects on stretch marks. Ways to keep yourself hydrated include drinking at least eight glasses of water, taking herbal teas and staying away from caffeine.
14. Only pregnant women will get stretch marks
This is untrue. Firstly, we already established that in women alone don’t get stretch marks, men do too (men do not get pregnant so…). Plus people who rapidly gain weight are at risk of getting stretch marks and it doesn’t matter if they’re teenagers, adults or pregnant. Those who have a genetic diseases or who are undergoing hormonal therapy may also be susceptible to getting stretch marks.
Another group of people who are prone to get stretch marks are the body builders as their body changes rapidly.
15. Hormones have no role to play in the formation of stretch marks
Genes are a catalyst for stretch mark formation, according to studies. Since stretch marks are often formed as a result of hormonal imbalances, these changes may target certain skin proteins that are involved in proper skin cell function.
Hormonal changes in teenagers can also lead to stretch marks. Therefore, hormonal changes are known to be a main cause of stretch marks.