Several studies have shown that stretch marks are among the top five causes for insecurity in women. Stretch marks occur naturally and, no matter how hard some people try, prevention of stretch marks is often impossible. Every person is unique and skin grows at different rates, causing some people to suffer from stretch marks more severely than others.

Causes of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks can appear all over the body – on arms, legs, thighs, hips, chests, breasts, tummys, etc. – and can be a problem to men, women or children.

The causes of stretch marks can be simply explained as when the skin is stretched quickly within a relatively short period of time as during pregnancy. During pregnancy, women are at an elevated risk for developing stretch marks, also called striae, because of the rapid and sudden growth of their body.

Stretch marks are formed when underlying tissue grows faster than the skin layers covering it, causing small tears in the epidermal surface. Scar tissue then proceeds to grow in these tears, creating stretch marks. The damage actually occurs in the skin’s middle layer, the dermis. (The skin has three layers: the other two are the outer layer, called the epidermis, and the innermost layer, called the subcutaneous layer.)

Pregnancy stretch marks are probably the most common example but stretch mark causes can include any fast weight gain or growth spurts, often associated with adolescents in puberty, and bodybuilding stretch marks that can occur as a result of rapid muscle growth.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

While some women start showing a tendency of developing stretch marks during puberty, others only experience problems for the first time during a pregnancy. As the woman’s abdominal area can be flat for the first four months of the pregnancy she can suddenly ‘catch up’ during the fifth and sixth month, with extremely fast growth which subjects the abdominal skin to a significant amount of tension. In this situation the fetus is growing at a rate faster than the mother’s skin can keep up with, resulting in epidermal ruptures leading to stretch marks.

While the best time to start stretch mark prevention is during the early stages of pregnancy, or when you are trying to conceive, it is never too late to start an appropriate stretch mark treatment and you can achieve results on areas that have already been affected by stretch marks.

Why would you tolerate stretch marks if you can help or minimize them? Just because you are having a child does not mean you have to give up your body?

Don’t wait for stretch marks to appear. As pregnancy progresses abdominal skin can often feel overly sensitive and tight, and this sensitivity does not always disappear afterwards. Stretch marks do not disappear either when left untreated.