Stretch marks can affect on your self esteem and alter how others might see you, including your spouse. It is unfortunate and it isn’t really fair, but it is a fact of life that must be accepted and there are some ways to overcome it.
To understand stretch marks, we need to explain what skin is made of and how it works. Normal skin is 80% collagen and 4% elastin fiber mesh network (dry weight). Elastin is the protein in the skin which gives its flexibility and allows it to stretch. The elastin forms a fishnet-like network in the skin which allows our skin to stretch and recoil back to its original position.
These elastin fibers are damaged in stretch marks, causing the 'scar' of a stretch mark. What's so remarkable about stretch marks is how prominent they look, but under a microscope you see almost no difference from normal, healthy skin. If you touch a stretch mark, it feels empty, almost like there is no skin there. Visually and textually the skin is so very different, yet so little has actually changed in the skin.
Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body, but are most likely to appear in places where larger amounts of fat are stored. Most common places are the abdomen (especially near the navel), breasts, upper arms, underarms, Back, thighs (both inner and outer), hips, and buttocks. They pose no health risk in and of themselves, and do not compromise the body's ability to function normally and repair itself.
The amazing thing about stretch marks is that they're not really caused by the skin "stretching". People associate stretch marks with weight gain or pregnancy and assume that stretch marks are caused by our skin stretching to fit around this new, larger body. The association is so strong that the name 'stretch mark' was given, only further adding to the misperception.
The true cause of stretch marks is hormones. That's right, hormonal influences are the cause. How can I support this fact? Well, when people gain weight, our hormones are produced and metabolized by fat cells. Hormones resemble fat and cholesterol, so when we gain and lose weight it affects the hormones in our body, and also the hormones in our skin.
Treatment options for Stretch Marks: