Hey stretch marks, guess what? You’re an asshole.
Stretch marks are caused when your skin stretches or grows rapidly and the protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin (collagen) is disrupted.
You are more prone to them if you:
- Have a darker complexion
- Your mom had them (thanks, genetics — hopefully you inherited her child bearing hips and a low body mass index too)
- You are young (your skin hasn’t already been stretched out by age and the perils of life yet)
- You put on your pregnancy weight quickly
You aren’t alone, though, even though up to 90% of pregnant women get them, 70% of women that aren’t pregnant have them and 40% of men have them too. You can get them during growth spurts in puberty, weight gain, and body building, just to name a few.
Can you prevent them? Well, it can’t hurt to try.
Most sites recommend that you try to keep your skin hydrated and well moisturized to help minimize stretch marks. Hey, if nothing else it will help the brutal belly itch you often get during pregnancy.
Trying to pace your weight gain is also recommended but I found that to be a tricky one seeing I was putting on loads of weight that didn’t seem to coincide with my french fry consumption – I think the body just packs it on when it’s ready – but that’s just my personal observation.
There’s a bit of debate on whether stretch mark creams helped during pregnancy, but if you do decide to give them a whirl, avoid ones that contain retinoids, such as Retin-A, Retinol. There doesn’t seem to be any definitive proof that they cause harm during pregnancy, but there’s enough twitchiness around it that I’d steer clear. Once you’ve had your baby and you’re finished stretching you can try out these option.
Actually, time and self-tanners seemed to be the most universal fixes for hiding stubborn stretch marks, but if you want them removed, you need to find yourself a dermatologist for microdermabrasion or laser treatment, which can get pricey.
Hey, but you know what? You earned those stripes lady, I say wear ‘em with pride and strut them with the body builders.