What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are scar-looking lines on the skin that develops as a result of the over-stretching or rapid expansion. These marks may develop during various physical changes during our life and affect both men and women. Men develop stretch marks usually through dramatic increase in weight and also during muscle and body building activities. Women usually get stretch marks during pregnancy and weight flux.

Stretch marks develop when the dermis (the middle layer of the skin), gets stretched so much then its natural elasticity starts to break down. The result is also microscopic bleeding including inflammation of the surrounding tissues.  This is why the stretched areas appears to have some raised, colored lines, which are the general symptoms of stretch marks. The size, quantity and appearance of strech marks depend on each persons natural skin tone, which is based on age,physical  condition and heredity (genetics), so some folks will suffer more from stretch marks while others will have only mild appearance. Just like bruises, stretch marks color usually start as reddish to dark brown and later on, it turns into purple.

The outer layer of our skin – epidermis – stretches as well and becomes more translucent so the formation of stretch marks is more visible. The main problem of strech marks is when the skin recovers but scars remains, which are shown as light-colored lines and loosed skin.

Stretch Marks Areas in the Body

Abdominal area – for women, stretch marks usually appear on that area because of the extreme expansion and stretch of the skin during pregnancy or weight gain as a result of excessive fat. If the skin contains high levels of collagen and is elastic, then the marks would be mild, otherwise there’s a high risk or scars and permanent stretch marks .

Breast area- during and after pregnancy this part of the body experiences expansion, as the mammary glands are adjusted to breastfeeding. This occurs as a result of hormone changes that follows the pregnancy that may also cause stretch marks as they support fluids accumulation and expansion of tissues.

Thighs - this is relevant to both men and women (regardless of pregnancy).  Stretch marks in this area relates to the increase of weight and the pear-shaped obesity pattern. The pear-shaped obesity pattern delivers the excess fat to the lower portions of the body, mostly to the thighs and the buttocks.

Lower back – the presence of stretch marks on the lower areas of the body, is attributed to weight gain. That is part of the of obesity pattern

Hips – it is generally harder to get rid of stretch marks on the hips since it’s harder to notice this area, and it may also be followed by cellulite that hides the stretch marks. In women, weight gain immediately adds to this part of the body.

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