Stretch Marks? We're so over it!

Let’s be honest ladies, gentlemen, we can’t help becoming self-conscious about stretch marks. I vividly remember noticing my first few. I was thirteen, on holiday, changing into a bikini for our first day at a water park and I spied the deep, bright purple marks streaked across my inner thigh. I spent the rest of the holiday humiliated; convinced everyone was staring at them, and wondering why it had to be me that was cursed with them. Now I’m older, I am fully aware just how normal they are: everyone’s got them! However, at that age I didn’t see it like that. All the models and celebrities I aspired to be did not appear to have any; posing in their bikinis, with toned and smooth thighs, not a thing like mine! They wore plunge dresses, without any hint of the deep marks that appeared between my boobs. In my mind, beauty was the absence of stretch marks, and now that I had them, it was game over for me.

It’s not easy to rid yourself of such an insecurity either. We feel embarrassed by our stretch marks, and we share these negative feelings with others; unintentionally telling them they should be embarrassed too. We reinforce shame within each other. If someone else is ashamed of a feature you both share, it convinces you that you are meant to feel that way too.

Even though almost half of men have stretch marks, I’ve never heard them talk about it, or seen any talk of body positivity aimed at them. This may mean that lots of guys are embarrassed and feel like they are the odd ones out, and that’s just not true, or fair. Stretch marks have been generally categorised as a female issue, potentially following their association with pregnancy, but regardless of this, we know they appear on both women and men, at any time in life. 

And do you know what? Stretch marks just don’t matter!

Something I found helpful in realising the complete and utter irrelevance of stretch marks, was picturing a person I considered to be attractive. I pictured them as they were, and them pictured again with a splattering of stretch marks. Personally, I was surprised at first; my perception of their beauty had not changed at all. I was still equally as attracted to them. When looking at others, the appearance of stretch marks is not linked to a perception of their beauty at all, so why do we struggle so much to apply the same rules to ourselves?

There are several potential causes of stretch marks. They might be an indicator of a past pregnancy, and in that case its absolutely badass because it means your body was capable of growing a whole person! It could also be a sign of weight gain or loss; weight fluctuates, let’s be real we’re so over talking about weight, so ya, still badass! Many people, as I did, get their stretch marks through puberty, which explains why women’s tend to be focused around areas which change at this time, for example you’re butt and breasts. In that case, stretch marks are just a sign that you’re growing into adulthood, so good for you. Some medicines can even increase a person’s chances of getting stretch marks!  Basically, stretch marks don’t say much at all about you.

My point is, stretch marks can appear on anyone, at any time of life and for many reasons. That’s just how skin works and I’m sick of being mad at my skin, sick of criticising every imperfection, from every angle, when it’s completely out of my control! Any energy spent fretting about stretch marks is completely wasted; besides worrying will just give you frown lines!

Live your lives guys n gals, your skin is doing just great!