Stretch Marks: Get the Facts

When you look up “stretch marks” on any given social media site, you’ll find a slew of photos and links dedicated mostly to one of two purposes: helping pregnant women feel empowered by their “tiger stripes” or providing countless (not to mention questionable and ineffective) remedies to rid your body of the scars.

First off, stretch marks happen to just about every woman at some point in her life. Sometimes they fade. Sometimes they come back. But they’re certainly nothing to fear.

We've taken five common myths and debunked what we can. Read below to find out true about these normal lines that you might be seeing on your body.

It’s impossible to prevent stretch marks.

Though it’s true that your likelihood of getting them is largely based on genetics, there is a way to help prevent them--and that’s through proper hydration of your skin. Stretch marks are caused by exactly what the name suggests: stretching of the skin. This can happen during puberty, pregnancy or as a result of rapid fat loss or gain--all of which have nothing to do with how big or small you are to start.

Keeping your skin constantly moisturized will ensure that it maintains maximum elasticity, in turn making you less apt to form marks.

Thin people don’t get stretch marks.

Stretch marks are caused by exactly what the name suggests: stretching of the skin. This can happen during puberty, pregnancy or as a result of rapid fat loss or gain--all of which have nothing to do with how big or small you are to start.

Losing weight will make them disappear.

Actually, weight loss--particularly if it happens quickly--can make stretch marks more noticeable because the skin becomes less taut. Aim to lose no more than two pounds per week to give your body time to adapt to the change.

Stretch marks go away on their own.

Though they may fade eventually, a little TLC can help smooth out stretch marks more quickly. Try products with vitamins A and E to enhance elasticity and promote the growth of new collagen (which will improve the skin’s texture and tone). 

Only women get stretch marks.

While women are more likely to get them because of the aforementioned changes our bodies go through, men--especially those who fluctuate in weight--are not exempt from stretch marks. So at least we’re not in this thing alone.