Stretch marks are a normal part of puberty
for most girls and guys. When a person grows or gains weight really quickly (like
during puberty), that person may get fine lines on the body called stretch marks.
Stretch marks happen when the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching. Although
the skin is usually fairly elastic, when it's overstretched, the normal production
of collagen (the major protein that makes up the connective tissue
in your skin) is disrupted. As a result, scars called stretch marks may form.
If you're noticing stretch marks on your body, you're not alone. Most girls and
women have them, usually on their breasts, thighs, hips, and butt. Many women get
them during pregnancy. Stretch marks are more common in girls, but guys can get them,
People who are obese
often have stretch marks. Bodybuilders are prone to getting stretch marks because
of the rapid body changes that can go with bodybuilding. People who use steroid-containing skin
creams or ointments (such as hydrocortisone) for more than a few weeks may also get
stretch marks. So might people who have to take high doses of oral corticosteroids
for months or longer.
At first, stretch marks may show up as reddish or purplish lines that can look
indented and have a different texture from the skin around them. Stretch marks often
turn lighter and almost disappear over time.
Making Them Less Noticeable
Here are some things to consider if you want to make stretch marks less noticeable:
Some people find that sunless self-tanners can help cover up stretch marks. This
isn't true with regular tanning
or tanning beds, though:
Stretch marks are less likely to tan so may end up looking more obvious. Plus, the
sun and tanning beds do more harm than good when it comes to the long-term health
of your skin.
Try using body makeup matched to the tone of your skin to cover stretch
marks. Although some manufacturers make these cover-up products water-resistant, makeup
may not be the best solution if you'll be spending a lot of time in the water.
Wear board shorts or rash guards. Bathing suits with more coverage are popular
with many athletes because they protect against the sun and don't ride up when a person
moves. But these suit styles also work well for hiding stretch marks on
the buttocks, upper thighs and chest.
Tons of creams and other skin products on the market claim to get rid of stretch
marks, but the truth is that most don't work and are costly.
You can't make stretch marks go away completely without the help of a
or plastic surgeon. These doctors may use one of many types of treatments
— from actual surgery to techniques like microdermabrasion and laser treatment
— to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
These techniques are
expensive and are not usually covered by insurance.
Doctors don't usually recommended them for teens because they're not done growing
so new stretch marks might appear and existing ones will probably lessen over