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What is a Stretch Mark?

Stretch marks are fine visible lines that develop on the body during rapid weight gain and loss, and are extremely common. They are often dark red or purple, but can even be flesh-toned or lighter indented lines in the skin, and are of a different texture than normal areas of the skin. They look visibly distressed, softer and more delicate.

Skin is naturally elastic, but if it's stretched quickly and dramatically, the collagen that maintains its elasticity becomes disrupted. As a result, stretch marks form. Stretch marks can expand and deepen over time as weight is repeatedly gained or lost. Think about a woman's belly during pregnancy or a bodybuilder's arms as they get bigger and bigger. The body grows rapidly and the skin is forced to stretch beyond what it is used to. Therefore, bodybuilders and pregnant women often develop noticeable stretch marks because of this gain and loss, but they can even occur when a child reaches puberty or when a person gains weight.

Stretch marks often form around a woman's breasts, a person's hips and thighs and also on around the abdomen as weight fluctuates. Stretch marks can lighten and fade over time, but darker, more severe stretch marks can certainly be treated with stretch mark creams and ointments when applied correctly and consistently.