How Do You Get Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are a result of your skin stretching. Their location, color, size and shape are affected by several factors including:

  • genetics,
  • degree of stress, and
  • cortisone levels.

Cortisone is a hormone naturally produced by your adrenal glands. If your body produces too much cortisone, it can weaken your skin’s elasticity. When your skin is stretched further than it’s used to in a short amount of time, and it has decreased elasticity, it can tear. The torn areas, which appear pink, red or purple, are stretch marks.

The layer of skin in which the tearing occurs is called the dermis. The dermis is the middle layer of skin, and it contains your blood capillaries, your nerve endings, your sweat glands and other important systems. The reason your stretch marks first appear pink, red or purple is because of inflammatory reactions occuring in the dermal layer.

Where Do You Get Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are most likely to occur on parts of your body that store fat, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, breast and underarms.

As mentioned above, genetics are also a factor for where you may develop stretch marks. For example, if your mom had them on her thighs instead of her abdomen during pregnancy, you may also be more likely to have them on your thighs.

What Causes Stretch Marks?

The four most common causes of stretch marks are described in more detail below.

Cause: Pregnancy

Stretch marks typically start to develop around the sixth month of pregnancy, and are most common on the abdomen, breasts, thighs and hips.

Not only is your body – and skin – expanding to make room for the baby, but also your hormones are different during pregnancy. Both of these factors affect the appearance of your stretch marks.

Cause: Adolescent Growth Spurt

When teens go through puberty, they may experience excessive weight gain and hormonal changes. Growth hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can inhibit collagen production and decrease your skin’s elasticity. When a teen’s skin is stretching during a growth spurt, and the skin is not as elastic as normal, it’s more prone to tearing and stretch marks.

During female growth spurts, stretch marks are most common on hips, thighs and breasts. During male growth spurts, stretch marks are most common on hips or lower backs.

Cause: Sudden Change in Weight

Rapid weight gain often results in stretch marks because your skin cannot stretch as far as the body is demanding.

Rapid weight loss can also result in stretch marks. If your body has a large amount of excess skin after losing weight, the excess can weigh down other areas of skin and cause tearing.

Cause: Body Building

Adding muscle mass too quickly can result in stretch marks – particularly on your arms, shoulders and thighs. As your muscles increase in size, your skin may have trouble keeping up, or adjusting and expanding to accommodate the larger muscle.

Body builders also tend to have increased levels of cortisone. As discussed above, increased cortisone weakens the skin’s elasticity, making it more likely to tear and develop stretch marks.

Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

Your stretch marks will eventually fade, or change from red and purple to a light grey.

Stretch marks are essentially scars. Just as with scars, stretch marks can be reduced with topical treatments or creams but require surgical procedures to be completely removed.

For best non-surgical results, try the ReTone method. As our results show, by first exfoliating the skin, the stretch mark cream is more easily able to reach below the surface where stretch marks form.

See ReTone Results