The causes of stretch marks are usually quite straightforward and can be pinpointed pretty easily once you know where to look.
While not necessary, it helps to know why do they even form in the first place.
Basically it’s all about the fact that its the second layer, the dermis layer that is the culprit. This layer is the adhesive that holds your skin together and when sufficiently elastic it does not get damaged on its own.
What you do see is the first layer of your skin, that is being hold in place by the second layer, which in this case rips itself apart and expands. And because one layer is free to expand, the other one also expands resulting in stretch marks.
Now that you know why and how they form, you can figure out the cause using this simple big 5 list.
The Big 5 List
While most people do receive some during their normal lifestyle, these are usually not severe and not even worth removing or fading. The ones that are problematic are the ones that occur in these 5 situations:
Weight Loss / Gain
Pregnancy is the most common, as 75 – 90% of women develop a certain extent of scars during their pregnancy. Due to the extra space that the baby requires, the skin is expanded greatly in which case if the dermis is not strong enough, it rips violently and can create quite severe scars that are a pain to get rid of.
There prevention is the first plan of action here, and they are really effective if your pregnancy is planned as you can strengthen your skin to be able to withstand the pressure before the last 4 months when the pressure will be the highest.
If you however were not successful or did not use any prevention method and would like to remove them, using creams after the pregnancy is also a good option.
Weight loss and gain are also pretty common causes as they happen all the time. Just a little bit of weight gained and stretch marks can start showing up everywhere, because the skin was not ready for it. Same thing with weight loss, but in that case no new stretch marks appear, its just that the old ones are more visible now.
Similar as during pregnancy, the skin is being stretched more due to the change of body structure and again, if your dermis is weaker, it rips. In regards to the cause, it is a bit harder to use prevention creams, unless you decide intentionally that you want to gain or lose weight. But for the most part, remove them as soon as you can.
While not exclusive, bodybuilding stretch marks appear mostly in men. This is the only cause that has a positive side to it as well, as the muscles that are being built are ripping the skin. So you can think of yourself like a beast coming out of its shell. Due to this in most cases being your decision, prevention methods are also quite effective with this one.
But if you already have them, and want them gone anyway, you might want to have a look at what works best for muscle growth stretch marks.
Puberty, the one stage that everyone of us has to go through. During this time, your body is being flooded with hormones and big body changes are occurring such as rapid growth of breasts for women and height for everyone.
All of this messes with your skins structure, producing the scars in the process. While frequent, these can also be treated quite well as the skin is young and the scars are young as well, giving the best chance to seeing a complete removal. For the highest chance of success, consult this tool to get your personalized treatment.
And the last one is genetics. This is also the one that decides how severe they will be, how easily you can get them and how easy they’ll go away. For now there is no known workaround, just remember this. If you have been dealt a bad genetics hand, you can improve it by a great amount by just taking care of your skin.
For example, someone who is overweight and has good genetics will still get stretch marks, as no matter how good the genetics, they still can’t take that much pressure all the time.
Now if there is another person who has bad genetics, but is not overweight and is taking precautions, the chance of stretches to appear are really slim, no matter how bad the genetics. So go and take care of your body/skin and use a good treatment.