What is the Cause of Stretch Marks

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What is the Cause of Stretch Marks

What is the Cause of Stretch Marks? Who is at Risk?

One thing that just about every single mother dreads as she goes through pregnancy is the potential for developing stretch marks; but what is the cause of stretch marks? Why do they occur, and why do they show up on just about every part of your body? Some people might think it’s just your stomach you need to worry about, but, in reality, they show up on your arms, legs, breasts, stomach, buttocks, and even feet!

There are several causes of stretch marks and some people are more at risk of getting them than others. 



Common Causes

  • Sudden weight gain (Like during pregnancy)
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Medication Use
  • Steroid Use
  • Puberty
  • Growth Spurts

Each of the causes listed above are things that cause the skin to stretch out extensively in a short amount of time. Your skin has strong fibers that are inter-connected and work together to allow your skin to stretch as you grow.

However if the skin stretches too much too quickly, it can cause these fibers to break. When these tears occur, it allows you to see the blood vessels beneath your skin. This is why new stretch marks are often purplish or reddish in color.

As the tears heal, the stretch marks turn white or silvery. Over time they do fade away but, for the most part, they will always be visible. You can drastically reduce the appearance of stretch marks using some stretch mark remedies to the point where they’re barely visible, but nothing is guaranteed to remove stretch marks completely if you don’t do something about them when they first appear. 

Who is at Risk for Getting Stretch Marks

  • People who are Overweight
  • People with a family history of obesity
  • People with a family history of stretch marks (or skin problems)
  • Women
  • People with Pale Skin
  • Pregnant Women
  • People Using Medication
  • People Who’ve had Dramatic Weight Loss/Gain





As is true with anything, it’s better to prevent stretch marks than to try to treat them afterwards. You can still heal new stretch marks using some topical treatments. You can also drastically reduce the look of old stretch marks. Below I have a link to some of these great topical treatments to help treat stretch marks.

What is the Best Stretch Mark Cream?

There are also several natural remedies and lifestyle changes you can make to help you along the way. You can read about these below!

6 Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment below and I’ll answer them!

-Jessica

Jessica Camden

Welcome to Your Post Baby Body! I'm Jessica and have been blessed with 3 beautiful little boys, Conner, Jackson, and Jayden. I've learned throughout each of my pregnancies that building your post baby body can be quite difficult. I've learned what works and what doesn't, where to start, and how to build up. My dream is help other moms get the post baby body they want through diet, exercise, and natural remedies!
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26 comments

  1. Annalena says:

    Using Dermalmd Stretch Mark Serum to heal stretch marks from my first pregnancy and since I am pregnant again, prevent any new ones. I do use a massager to put it on and use it twice a day. I use it on my stomach, arms, breasts and thighs.

  2. Jackie says:

    I’m way past baby years, but I still read your post with great interest. I had a child pretty young and was blessed with stretch-marks. When I first noticed them (at 16) I was horrified. My doctor told me they happened because of a hormone imbalance. Everyone said they would fade, but they looked pretty permanent to me. Well, they eventually did fade (some), but I still have them today. Thank god they don’t bother me anymore and I’m past the bikini years. 🙂 Great post!

    • Jessica Camden says:

      There are a number of things that could cause stretch marks and a hormonal imbalance is one of them. They’re definitely one of the more frustrating parts of going through pregnancy but, if you know how to treat them there’s a lot you can do for them 🙂

      Thanks for reading hun!

      -Jessica

  3. Jackie says:

    I read your post with great interest because I got SMs with my first pregnancy. I was told by a dermatologist that they happen due to hormonal imbalances… which may be true because I was quite young when I had my first daughter. However, my mother has them just as bad as i do, so I tend to think they could be hereditary as well…but then again, my daughters didn’t get them. Anyway, let’s just say that after my first pregnancy, i never wore a bikini again. I never understood how a topical cream or ointment could repair stretched skin. Isn’t it permanent? I would be very happy if it were true, but I’m doubtful. However, I’m going to check out your suggestions next. Thanks for the interesting post.

    • Jessica Camden says:

      When the stretch marks are new, the topical treatments can actually help heal them because they hydrate the skin and give it the nourishment it needs to rebuild those skin cells before they heal as a scar.

      If the stretch marks are old then no, it’s not likely the creams will heal the stretch marks completely but some of them do a pretty great job of diminishing their appearance so that they don’t stand out so much. 🙂

      -Jessica

  4. Lucas says:

    Hi there,

    I have several stretch marks on my thighs, shoulders and arms. I got them from getting huge from lifting weights. I was bulking hard and blew up fast, and the next thing I knew I developed stretch marks. No i’m not on steroids, i’m just a beast 🙂

    But I have used store brand cream before and it seems to help slightly. I also use pure coconut oil and that seems to work alright also. What do you think about pure coconut oil as treatment?

    • Jessica Camden says:

      That is definitely another way to get them! Whether you’re gaining weight or losing weight, if it’s done too quickly it can cause stretch marks.

      I actually really love using coconut oil both to prevent stretch marks and to heal existing ones! Coconut oil does so much for your skin and is a great way to help it rebuild itself. 🙂

      If your’e interested, I have this page here that lists several Natural Remedies for stretch marks you can use to heal old stretch marks.

  5. Raquel says:

    Its such a bummer that women are very likely to get stretch marks, especially pregnant women. Actually, I’ve always had stretch marks in certain areas even when I was younger. Maybe its due to puberty?

    Have tried cocoa butter and Bio Oil. I think Bio Oil seems to minimise it. There was even someone who recommended some sort of laser treatment, but I didn’t try it. What do you think is the best way to remove them?

    • Jessica Camden says:

      You can definitely get stretch marks while going through puberty. It is really frustrating that women are so prone to them, especially throughout pregnancy. I too have tried Bio Oil and I think it does great preventing stretch marks but it doesn’t minimize them as well as other products I’ve tried.

      There are several things you can do to minimize their look, or if they’re new, you can remove them with careful treatment. Old stretchmarks, however, generally can’t be removed completely without laser treatment. There are several great products that I love though that reduce their look enough to make me happy. I’ve got several options listed here.

  6. Dyl says:

    I always wondered if it was possible to get rid of stretch marks after having a baby. You have outlined some great ways of doing this naturally. Thanks for the post it was very informative, clear, and concise! Ill be definitely telling other people about this who struggle with the same issue

    • Jessica Camden says:

      There are definitely a lot of things you can do for it. You’ll find you can get the very best results if you start treating them immediately. New stretch marks actually can be healed completely and you can get rid of them. Once they start getting old and turn white, there’s not usually much you can do other than reduce their appearance. It definitely makes a huge difference to treat them even if they’re old but if you can, you should always try to address them when they’re new.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I hope it was helpful!

      -Jessica

  7. Tim says:

    Thanks for sharing this about stretch marks. I always wondered if it was possible to heal them once they were apparent, and I like the idea of treating them naturally.

    I agree though prevention is always better if it is possible to do so. Thanks for sharing this is very helpful!

    • Jessica Camden says:

      Natural treatments are great when they’re available! I’ve had some success with a few of these but it didn’t diminish my stretch marks as much as I hoped it would so I did end up using some of the creams listed here.

      I learned my lesson that prevention is better than treating afterwards and with my next one used quite a bit of stretch mark cream. It did it’s job though 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment!

  8. Greg says:

    Hi JCamden. You have a very informative site here for women who have stretch marks and what causes them. It’s very good that you covered yourself with the medical disclaimer. Your site will go very far and you will reap the benefits if you haven’t already begun. The color scheme you have chosen is very good. Keep up the good work.

    • Jessica Camden says:

      Thank you, I really hope the things I’ve put together here will be able to help other mom’s get the post baby body they want 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Sammi says:

    What a really interesting post.

    I was lucky enough to only get very minor stretch marks from my pregnancy but have since put a lot of weight on and have doubled the amount of stretch marks! My complexion is very pale so they probably show through more.

    Is there anything I can do to reduce them?

    Sammi

    • Jessica Camden says:

      That is awesome you only got minor stretch marks! During my first pregnancy I didn’t use any creams or oils like I should have and got a lot of them. I have been able to reduce the appearance of my stretch marks quite a bit though using the first cream listed on this page. I too am very pale and was so excited to finally do something to make so they didn’t look so awful!

      Thank you for reading! Let me know if you have additional questions!

      -Jessica

  10. Loes says:

    Hi Jessica, it’s so sad to see those tigerstripes on the back of my puber son, there are 7 stripes in a row, his hips have those signs too, thenk you for your natural approach to, much appreciated to read about potatoes and eggwhite.
    We are going to try these out too. Thank you so much!
    Kind regards Loes

    • I know how I felt seeing them on my own body after I had my kids. I’d feel so much worse if it were my kids I was seeing them on. I really hope so much that this can help you! I know a lot of people had success with these and gotten really great results! I wish you both the best of luck!

  11. Yangqi says:

    Hey Jessica,

    I personally don’t suffer from stretch marks, but I want to know, how likely is it that the average individual gets them, or does it vary widely depending on your traits and environment?

    Also, you mentioned at the bottom of the page that “there are also several natural remedies and lifestyle changes you can make to help you along the way”. Could you mention what some of these remedies and lifestyle changes are?

    Thanks for the informative post.
    -Yangqi

    • It does depend a lot on your heritage as well as your environment. It most commonly affects people who have a sudden physical change in their body where they either gain or lose a lot of weight over a short period of time. Such as when a woman is pregnant or a teenager is going through puberty. The natural remedies and lifestyle changes I mentioned at the bottom will be posted on Saturday, I’m just pulling the last couple bits together 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to read! If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to ask!

  12. Bradley Kaufman says:

    Hey there, I’m a male, not a female and I was reading up on your site when I couldn’t help to notice that it was mainly geared towards women. Being a male, what risks do I have concerning stretch marks and is there a way for males to avoid getting these marks? and can people, male or female, get stretch marks at a younger age?

    • Jessica Camden says:

      Yes it definitely is geared more towards women 🙂 However men and women alike develop stretch marks. Women are more at risk for it but it can affect men too. If you look at my page for the top stretch mark creams there are two of them that are intended for both men and women. The rest are, like you said, geared more towards women 🙂

  13. Derek Marshall says:

    Great post, very informative but what about how to prevent them and indeed how to get rid of stretch marks? My GF, has stretch marks from two pregnancy’s naturally, she would like to get rid of them but cant!

    Curiously, in Thailand they believe the stretch marks are caused by the baby’s hair when inside the mother!

    • Jessica Camden says:

      I actually have another page in draft that discusses how to prevent them and another that’s posted that has 5 great stretch mark creams you can use to heal and reduce the look of stretch marks 🙂 I’ll add a link to both of those pages at the bottom of this post!

      Thank you for reading! and that is interesting, I’ve never heard that one before! I’ll have to run it by someone just to get their reaction 🙂