When the body expands rapidly due to weight gain, skin must stretch to compensate for the body’s growth. When skin stretches too far, it tears. The tearing of the dermis—or the middle layer of your skin—results in what we commonly refer to as stretch marks.
There are typically no symptoms associated with stretch mark development, though some people report an itching sensation prior to stretch marks appearing. Stretch marks are recognizable immediately after appearing as dark purple lines that feel slightly indented.
Often, stretch marks develop when gaining weight but are not visible until the weight is lost. In this case, weight gain caused the stretch marks, but weight loss made the stretch marks visible on the body.
Diets that significantly impact your daily intake of calories, such as low-carbohydrate diets, can cause you to lose weight rapidly. Rapid weight loss is more likely to result in excess skin and stretch mark development. It’s better to not experience rapid gain or loss too quickly by slowly integrating your new diet.
Stretch marks due to either obesity or rapid weight loss can appear anywhere on the body but are commonly found on the stomach, arms, hips, thighs, and breasts.