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What Causes Stretch Marks?

Updated on July 13, 2009

Stretch marks are caused by several factors and can affect almost anyone, although the majority of cases occur when people are young.

What Do Stretch Marks Look Like?

The common medical term for stretch marks is striae gravidarum. At the early stages it can have a distinct and different colour to the rest of your skin. If you are white, these marks can appear reddish or purple in colour. They will eventually fade to a pale pink, white or silvery hue. In black skins these marks will appear as a mixture of beige and cream which will also fade within time.

Why Do People Get Stretch Marks?

Here a few of the reasons why people get stretch marks

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Puberty
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Intense exercise schedule

Pregnancy and childbirth can cause stretch marks in some women
Pregnancy and childbirth can cause stretch marks in some women

Pregnancy And Childbirth

As soon as a woman becomes pregnant the body has a lot of things to deal with. Not only will the mother-to-be be eating for two, the internal organs have to make way for provisions in order to nurture and nourish the growing foetus. Some women also see this as a perfect opportunity to let themselves relax, forget about their healthy eating plan and munch their way happily through more food than they actually need.


The body goes through the natural development stage taking you from child to adult. During puberty it is quite normal to have a sudden growth spurt and to gain extra weight. This can happen faster than the epidermis is prepared for so you could end up with scarring around the thighs, arms, breasts and stomach area.

An intense exercise schedule can cause stretch marks to appear
An intense exercise schedule can cause stretch marks to appear

Intense Exercise Schedule

If you have recently embarked on an extremely intense exercise regime, you could tear the skin tissue because your muscles will start to increase in size and will expand at a much quicker rate than the skin surrounding them. This usually happens on the upper arms and shoulders where the pressure of the bulked up muscle forces the skin to extend unnaturally.

Rapid Weight Gain

If you have gained a lot of weight in a very short period of time you could get stretch marks because the skin does not have enough time to adjust to the changes that are happening to your body. It is almost as if the thin layer of skin tissue has to split and expand excessively in order to accommodate the extra weight that you have added to your frame.

Once you understand what stretch marks are you can look at the different ways that are available to reduce the appearance or to radically remove them. Look for treatment that would be best suited to you and your requirements.

More Information About Stretch Mark Removal


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    He 7 years ago

    Don't disrespect Mr.Arnold Schwarzenegger. He gave his best shot and achieves his goals with the mind, heart and soul of a champion. He looks fine and is still pumping.

  • rb11 profile image

    rb11 8 years ago from Las Vegas

    I recently saw a picture of Arnold. S. the governor of Calif with his shirt off and all those years of weight lifting has left his skin sagging. It looked like a bit more than stretch marks.



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