What Are Stretch Marks Exactly? The Science Behind The Scars

Do you have stretch marks? Do you know what they are and why they happen? In this post, we’re going to take a look at what causes stretch marks, how to prevent stretch marks, and answer an incredibly common question: how do stretch marks form? Let’s dig in and answer all of your questions.

What Are Stretch Marks?

If you weren’t already aware, stretch marks are actually scars! This is why these small bands of discolored, wrinkly skin look the way they do. Some stretch marks are reddish purple, others are pink, and some are a lighter version of your skin tone. These are all normal variations of the stretch mark and no one color is a cause for concern.

What Causes Stretch Marks?

So, what causes stretch marks and how do stretch marks form? This is where things can get a little complicated. It can help to imagine the skin like glutinous pizza dough. The skin is naturally very elastic, thanks to elastin. However, it does have a breaking point. When stretch marks first form, it’s because the dermis (the second layer of skin) has stretched past its ability to recoil and recover.

When you get a stretch mark, it’s because the underlying layer of skin actually tore a tiny bit.

What We See Is The Healing Process!

Once the skin has torn, the body begins to fill in the gaps with scar tissue. This is a natural response to getting a wound and it’s unavoidable. Once the damage is done, the body will repair the damage with scar tissue. There are several stages of stretch mark healing, and they all look different!

When Do Stretch Marks Form?

There are many situations in which you might find yourself developing stretch marks. The most common one is, obviously, pregnancy; however, rapid weight gain (via fat or muscle) can also cause stretch marks. People whose skin is naturally lower in elastin and collagen – for example, those of us over 50 – will develop stretch marks more easily. 

How To Get Rid of Stretch Marks:

Since stretch marks are scars, you can imagine they’re going to be difficult to completely eliminate – and you can’t. Over time, your body will naturally restructure parts of your stretch mark scars into normal tissue, but this process will leave you with bands of depressed, lighter skin. There are many products, like our Stretch Mark Cream, that can help to plump up and protect these scars as they heal, reducing their appearance.

You also have several more expensive options like laser therapy, tattooing skin tone into the scars, and “dermarolling”. However, these options all come with their own risks and side effects. Our suggestion is to try some creams before committing to any of the more expensive procedures.

It should also be noted that, like all scars, it’s much harder to fade them and reduce their appearance when stretch marks are in their final, healed stage. You will want to intervene as soon as possible for the best outcome.

How To Prevent Stretch Marks:

With stretch marks, prevention really is the best medicine.

In order to prevent these scars from ever appearing, it’s incredibly important to keep your skin healthy. If you are anticipating stretching of the skin for one reason or another, start preparing your skin a month or more beforehand; this includes keeping your skin well-hydrated and well-nourished. 

You can use your favorite moisturizer or even a safe stretch mark cream during this time. We developed our Stretch Mark Cream for this exact purpose. So, if you are newly pregnant or are planning some bodybuilding, pick up some of our Stretch Mark Cream and start preparing your skin today!