Stretch marks or striae are essentially skin tearing that occurs when the skin stretches. These bothersome marks are seen on the skin where there is high concentration of fat like the abdomen, thighs, breasts and underarms. More than just an aesthetic problem, stretch marks, especially the severe ones can diminish a person’s self-confidence.

Like any other body conditions, the need to demystify the myths behind stretch marks is essential to know the truth to better manage this condition. The following are the most common myths associated to stretch marks.

Myth #1: Stretch marks result from scratching any area that is rapidly expanding either due to pregnancy or weight gain.

Fact: Stretch marks are caused by constant pressure on the skin through rapid stretching. When stretching is combined with hormonal changes in the body, the collagen fibers may become vulnerable to break. Sudden weight gain or weight loss is another common cause of stretch marks. This is the reason why ninety percent of pregnant women have great chances of developing stretch marks during and after pregnancy. The hormones that soften the ligaments in the pelvic region are the same hormone that makes collagen more prone to breakage. Once it breaks, it leads to small microscopic tears on the dermal layer that develops to stretch marks.

Apart from hormonal causes, other factors that contribute to the development of stretch marks are genes, puberty, rapid growth spurt, body building, skin type, and amount of body fat in the body.

Myth #2: Only women can have stretch marks.

Fact: Not true. Men also are affected by stretch marks especially those who engage in athletics and body building activities. Severe stretching of the skin causes men to develop stretch marks. However, men develop stretch marks less often because their collagen fibers are denser compared to women. This may help men to resist development of cellulite and stretch marks but it does not mean they cannot develop these conditions. Women, on the other hand, have higher body fat contents that make them prone to develop stretch mark.

Myth #3: Stretch marks won’t occur if you are skinny.

Fact: There’s no truth to that. No matter how slim you are, genetics and hormones can affect the development of stretch marks. Keep in mind that these marks happen from skin stretching. Even if you are in your teens, stretch marks arise due to puberty and rapid growth spurt.

Myth #4: Stretch marks disappear with weight loss.

Fact: Rapid weight loss may even aggravate stretch mark appearance. In severe cases of weight loss such as obesity, stretch marks are very much more likely to occur as the damage was already created when you were overweight.

Myth #5: Stretch marks can be treated.

Fact: Stretch marks are difficult to treat and are permanent. The existence of topical solutions and dermatological procedures may lighten and improve their appearance but not totally eliminate the marks. These solutions for stretch marks are either increase the production of collagen or replace damaged skin cells or both. Other treatments minimize discoloration, strengthen skin’s structure and improve skin’s softness. Meanwhile, dermatological procedures available for stretch marks mostly offer skin tightening.

Myth #6: Medicines will not cause stretch marks.

Fact: Taking medicines such as pills and steroids can cause stretch marks. When these drugs are abused or taken incorrectly, can cause rapid weight gain, causing stretching of the skin that will develop to stretch marks. If you need to take these medicines due to compelling health condition, consult your doctor on how you can prevent or minimize the likelihood of developing stretch marks.

Myth #7: Diet won’t prevent stretch marks.

Fact: Weight gain is a common cause of stretch marks; therefore, being watchful about your diet will be helpful in preventing the development of stretch marks. Be selective about your food intake to prevent weight gain. Same is also true for dieters who want to achieve gradual weight loss should eat a healthy balanced diet.

 

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