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 stretch marks, which tend to show up on the breasts, thighs, hips, and butt. Many women get them during pregnancy. And while they're more common in girls, guys can get stretch marks, too.
People who are obese often have stretch marks. Bodybuilders are prone to getting stretch marks because of the rapid body changes that bodybuilding can produce. Stretch marks also may occur if a person uses steroid-containing skin creams or ointments (such as hydrocortisone) for more than a few weeks, or has to take high doses of oral corticosteroids for months or longer.
At first, stretch marks may show up as reddish or purplish lines that may appear indented and have a different texture from the surrounding skin. Fortunately, stretch marks often turn lighter and almost disappear over time.
But the fact that stretch marks usually fade and become less noticeable over time can be little consolation if you plan to spend most of your summer in a bathing suit.
Here are some things to consider if you want to make stretch marks less noticeable:
Reviewed by: Patrice Hyde, MD
Date reviewed: January 2011
|American Academy of Dermatology Provides up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.|
|Body Image and Self-Esteem When your body changes, so can your image of yourself. Find out how your body image affects your self-esteem and what you can do.|
|Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin Sometimes it may seem like your skin is impossible to manage, especially when you find a huge zit on your nose or a cold sore at the corner of your mouth. Here are ways to prevent and treat common skin problems.|
|Can Acne Scars Be Removed? Scars from acne can seem like double punishment - first you had to suffer through the pimples, now you have marks to remind you. Is there anything you can do?|
|Plastic Surgery Lots of images may come to mind when you think of plastic surgery. This special type of surgery involves a person's appearance and ability to function.|
|Strength Training Is working out with weights safe for teens? The best way to build muscle tone and definition is to combine aerobic and flexibility exercises with the right kind of strength training.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.