Let’s talk stretch marks. Because pretty much all of us, men, women, children can get them and most of us have them.
They’re streaks or lines that appear on our skin. These marks happen to stand out a bit because they’re a different colour. They can be purple, bright pink, light grey, or a variation of these colours, and when you touch them, they can feel slightly ridged or indented.
You can get stretch marks in lots of different places, ranging from your stomach and thighs and buttocks, to your upper arms and breasts.1
They don’t look exactly the same on everybody. Some are long, some are short, some are bumpy, some are smoother, some are itchy. You can have red stretch marks, grey/white stretch marks, uneven and dimply stretch marks…see what we mean?
Stretch marks can look uneven, they can look bright red/pink (they usually start off looking darker and fade over time)2 ….as well as grey. They can appear on the buttocks/thigh area:
As for what causes stretch marks, they’re most commonly caused by sudden growth spurts or rapid weight gain or loss.3 They’re formed by a combination of skin stretching and increased levels of the hormone, cortisone, which can result in skin losing its elasticity.4 You’re more likely to get them if you are:5
It’s not uncommon for people to develop stretch marks if they’re using certain types of steroid creams and tablets, and if stretch marks run in their family.
Can potentially help with new stretch marks, but shouldn’t be used if you are pregnant.
Which include pulsed dye therapy on newer marks and fractional photothermolysis on smaller areas of skin, and excimer laser, which stimulates melanin production.
Which involves removing a thin layer of skin and can potentially be effective at helping reduce the appearance of older stretch marks. This is usually done by a dermatologist, but it’s also possible to do this at home (more on this below).
Can help relieve the itchiness of stretch marks, which can be experienced with some, not all, marks.
Is a way of minimising the difference between your stretch marks and natural skin colour.
On top of this, there are some natural remedies you can use to help improve the way your stretch marks look and help them along the way. Here’s three of them:10
It’s not been clinically proven as a stretch mark remedy however, it is widely renowned for its skin softening abilities. Apply aloe vera directly from a plant to your stretch marks after you bathe. (For the lowdown on aloe vera read, ‘Aloe vera: benefits, dosage, side effects.’)
Like aloe vera, coconut oil is a great for moisturising skin and when applied to stretch marks, can help soften the skin and help reduce their visible appearance. (For more on coconut oil read, ‘4 things you can use coconut oil for.