What Causes Stretch Marks

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Stretch marks are usually unattractive; they normally may look like purple, pink or red streaks. Stretch mark appear as indented lines or as bright streaks that fade to white, gray silver or light pink. These marks are commonly found on several body parts that include breasts, upper arms, shoulders, hips, thighs, lower back and the thighs. Stretch marks usually accompany a change in your body especially during pregnancy, puberty, if you gain or lose weight, tightening or body toning and muscle gain especially in body builders.

Causes of stretch marks

Pregnancy

80 percent of pregnant women experience stretch marks especially during later stage of their pregnancy. Whether one gets stretch marks or not depends on their type of skin and how elastic their skin is. During pregnancy your body normally produces hormones than make the ligaments of your pelvis softer making them flexible especially before your delivery. Ligaments are usually strong tissues that attach joints; these hormones may also make the fibers of your skin thus increasing the risk of developing stretch mark. As the baby develops and grows your abdomen skin stretches thus developing stretch marks. Other parts of your body may also grow bigger and heavier during this stage especially the breasts and thighs thus developing stretch marks. After childbirth most of your stretch marks fades away and become less conspicuous but don’t disappear completely.

Rapid weight gain

If you gain weight over a short period of time you also risk developing stretch marks. In most cases these stretch marks will remain even if you lose the gained weight. However, they normally become paler over time. Another cause of stretch mark is dieting, which causes your body weight to fluctuate. If you want to lose weight you should do so gradually and steadily so that you don’t strain your skin. Rapid muscle gain especially in athletes and bodybuilders may also cause stretch marks.

Puberty

When one reaches puberty his or her body develops very fast in growth spurts. This rapid causes stretch marks in males they occur on their back as well as their shoulders, while in females they develop on their breasts, thighs and hips.

Family history

If your parents or close relatives have stretch marks you are also likely to develop them. Although they affect both men and women they are very common in women.

Certain health conditions

Certain health conditions such as Marfan and the Cushing’s syndrome can also cause stretch marks. Cushing syndrome normally occurs when your body produces surplus cortisol a hormone that increases the chances of developing stretch marks. Marfan syndrome is caused by a defective gene that normally affects your skin and the connective tissues. This gene normally weaken your body tissues and affects their ability to stretch thus causing stretch marks mostly on your hips, shoulders and lower back.

Corticosteroids

Inappropriate and prolonged use of corticosteroid medicines like lotions or creams to treat stretch marks such as eczema can also cause stretch marks. These medications decrease the amount of collagen in your skin a protein which helps keep the skin stretchy. The lower amount of collage you have the higher the chance of developing stretch marks.

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