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All about stretch marks causes of stretch marks stretch marks risk fctors treatments for stretch marks removal prevention of stretch marks

Who gets stretch marks?

Stretch marks occur in certain areas of the body where skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching. Stretch marks can also occur from prolonged use of oral or topical corticosteroids. They are also a feature of the disease Cushing's syndrome, where increased adrenal cortical activity i.e. excessive circulating cortisol is implicated in their development.

About 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks. Growth spurts and sudden or excessive weight gain cause stretch marks in young people. They affect 70% of adolescent females and about 40% of young males. Young women commonly get them on their breasts, thighs, hips, abdomen and buttocks. Young people often develop stretch marks from participating in certain body-altering sports such as weightlifting or from the use of dangerous bodybuilding steroid drugs.

Stretch marks often appear on the breast and abdomen during pregnancy. The reason is partly hormonal. During pregnancy, hormones have the job of softening the collagen ligaments of the pelvis, so that the tissues can stretch easily during childbirth. Unfortunately, the skin collagen softens as well, allowing stretch marks to form easily.

Some women have weaker collagen than others, so are more likely to get stretch marks. Recent research suggests that if you have stretch marks, your pelvic floor ligaments may be slightly weak, so it is very important to do pelvic floor exercises after childbirth to prevent incontinence of urine.

Bodybuilders and yo-yo dieters can also get stretch marks on the upper arms, chest and thighs. Growing adolescents can get them on their backs, looking like a series of horizontal lines.

More information on stretch marks

What are stretch marks? - Stretch marks are fine lines on the body that occur from tissue under your skin tearing from rapid growth or over-stretching.
What causes stretch marks? - Stretch marks are caused when the skin is stretched to the point of breaking down, similar to elastic losing its' elasticity.
Who gets stretch marks? - Stretch marks occur in certain areas of the body where skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching.
How to remove stretch marks? - Treatments available for the removal of stretch marks include topical retinoid therapy, chemical peels, and pulse dye laser therapy.
How to prevent stretch marks? - To prevent stretch marks: massage skin with a glove or massage brush to increase circulation, apply moisturising cream to the affected area. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005