What causes stretch marks?

Posted on 12 Jul, 2011

Stretch marks are the bane of many people’s lives, leaving them feeling self-conscious about their bodies and less confident in their overall appearance. We know how stretch marks look and how people feel about them, but how are they caused?

Stretch marks are formed in the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin between the subcutaneous stratum (innermost layer) and the epidermis (the outer layer). They can appear anywhere, but the most common places include those where fat is stored, such as:

• Stomach
• Upper arms
• Buttocks
• Thighs
• Breasts

Stretch marks appear when the dermis is stretched over time, making the skin less elastic and causing the connective fibres within it to break. It is the breaking of these fibres that form what we see as stretch marks.
You are more likely to suffer from stretch marks if you are or have been pregnant, as well as if you have lost or gained a considerable amount of weight in a short time.

As these marks are formed in the middle layer of skin, well beneath the top layers, they are not treatable using creams and lotions. Laser treatment for stretch marks is the only effective solution if you suffer from them, helping to improve the appearance of the skin and boost your self-esteem.