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Pregnant Women And Her Partner

Stretch Marks, Tiger Stripes or Angel Scratches?

These are some distinctive words to describe those tiny scars that appear on our bodies during various times in our lives. From puberty to savvy seniors — these outward physical changes give our skin definition and remind us of a roadmap of life.

Preteens are facing sudden growth spurts and skin changes. For moms-to-be, their bodies begin to expand allowing their baby to grow and form. For Seniors, their skin may be defined by the beauty of faded lines that have a silvery, white, or glossy appearance from a life well-lived.

If you think of your skin, it’s like a rubber band that is tight and holds things together. But over time it stretches, becoming less pliable, weakening the fibers of your skin, and allowing tiny scars to form.

For some these marks are a badge of honor that they carry proudly, for others they want to hide them or have them go away. Stretch marks are not harmful or painful, and over time they become less noticeable.

When do they begin to appear?

Most teenage girls (and guys) their stretch marks are a normal part of development. These fine lines may begin as a body grows or gains weight quickly during the teen phase. The skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching. Although the body has good elasticity, it can become overstretched and as a result, scars may form according to kidshealth.org.

Research shows that nine out of 10 women develop stretch marks during pregnancy–usually in the sixth or seventh month, according to an article in Parents. New stretch marks may feel slightly raised and itchy. For moms-to-be this another change, but it is a normal part of pregnancy.

What are the symptoms?

Stretch marks don’t all look alike. They vary depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them, where they are on the body and the type of skin you have according to the Mayo Clinic. There are a number of variations including:

  • Pink, red, black, blue, or purple streaks or lines in the skin
  • Bright streaks that fade to a lighter color
  • Streaks on the abdomen, breast, hips, buttocks, or thighs
  • Streaks covering large areas of the body

What are the risk factors?

The Mayo Clinic outlines the risk factors for stretch marks. Noting that anyone can develop them, but there are some factors which may increase the likelihood of getting them, including:

  • Being female
  • Having a personal or family history of stretch marks
  • Being pregnant, especially for younger women
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Rapidly gaining or losing weight
  • High amounts of steroids, either from steroid medication or illnesses like Cushing’s or Marfan syndrome or certain other genetic disorders
  • Undergoing breast enlargement surgery

How to prevent them?

If you are pregnant, do your best to gain weight gradually. Don’t gain more weight than the recommended amount: 25-35 pounds if you were normal weight pre-pregnancy. You can use massaging lotion on the areas most prone to stretch marks. It’s important to keep your skin hydrated and drink lots of water.

If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor before treating any stretch marks. Some products may contain ingredients, such as retinal, that can harm your baby.

Remember to love the skin you’re in and take comfort that you have earned these tiny scars of life.

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The information on this site is intended to raise awareness, and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis, or a substitute for health care by your physician.

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