Stretch marks are medically referred to are Stria or Striae or Striae Gravidarum during pregnancy. Stretch marks don't look alike. They vary depending on how long y...ou've had them, what caused them, the location on your body and the skin type you have.
Areas most often affected by stretch marks are:
Anyone can get stretch marks but they tend to affect women more than men with around 9 out of 10 women getting stretch marks during pregnancy. It's estimated that around 7 in 10 women and 4 in 10 men develop stretch marks during puberty.
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched extensively over a short period of time. The rapid stretching causes the Dermis (middle layer of skin) to break in places allowing the deeper skin layers to show through forming stretch marks.
The dermis is made up of strong, interconnected fibres that enable your skin to stretch as your body grows. If for example your abdomen grows rapidly over a short period, the fibres can become thin and over stretched and some may break. At that point where the skin fibres break, tiny tears develop which allow the blood vessels below to show through. This is why stretch marks are often red or purple when they first appear.
When the blood vessels eventually contract, the pale coloured fat underneath your skin will be visible and your stretch marks will change to a silvery white colour.
Stretch marks can occur:
* during pregnancy
* as a result of weight gain
* during puberty
* family history
* underlying health conditions
* prolonged medications
Symptoms of stretch marks
Before developing stretch marks the affected skin will become thin, flattened and thin. The area may also feel itchy. Stretch marks often appear slightly raised and may feel wrinkly before eventually flattening out. As the lines become flatter they will start to fade and will change colour. Stretch marks can appear in patches of parallel lines on your body. It can take years to fade and become less noticeable.