The Real Reason You Have Stretch Marks (And What To Do About Them)

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7 Things You NEVER Knew About Those Pesky Stretch Marks

Stretch marks — you know them, you have them and you have an opinion about them, but you may not have a clue as to what they even are. You're not alone. More than 80 percent of Americans are in the same boat as you.

Ahead, we’re answering all of your burning questions regarding these little lines that seemingly appear out of nowhere.

1. They don’t always have to do with your skin stretching.

Much to everyone’s surprise, stretch marks are caused by hormonal changes in the body. When the body experiences fluctuations in hormones, the skin’s elasticity decreases, leaving it more susceptible to stretch marks developing. This affects the second layer of skin, better known as the dermis.

2. Genetics play a big role.

Regardless of anything else, you may have stretch marks for no reason other than it running in your family. Chances are, if mami had them at your age, you’ll have to deal with them, too.

3. Men get them, too.

Most only think of stretch marks appearing on women, but the truth is that they affect men, too. In men, they mostly occur due to excessive weightlifting or weight gain rather than hormonal changes.

4. Your weight may or may not be a factor.

Another common misconception is that those who are overweight are more susceptible to developing or having stretch marks on their skin. Weight loss, however, is another common cause of stretch marks. Many have indicated that rapid weight loss, in particular, results in the development of more marks.

5. Pregnancy is a culprit.

Pregnancy is the most well-known timeframe for developing stretch marks. There’s a reason why more than 75 percent of women get them when pregnant – the large amount of stretching skin, with little elasticity, is to blame.

6. Color is important.

You may have noticed various color differences of your stretch marks. The red marks, known as striae rubra, are newer and tend to be more “raised”, whereas the white, or “silver,” marks are known as striae alba. Recognizing the coloring of your stretch marks will help in further prevention and treatment.

7. They can be treated — to an extent.

So, how do you get rid of these bad boys? Unfortunately, the marks usually won't go away completely, due to the breaking down of the skin that occurs when they're formed.

The upside, however, is that there are a ton of treatments out there that can help reduce inflammation, redness and overall appearance of the marks. Topical treatments including creams, oils and balms have proven to help tremendously. For more intense marks or for those looking for faster results, laser treatment or microdermabrasion may be the best option.

As always, healthy eating, regular exercise and hydration help to further prevent any and all damages to the skin.

This article was originally published at Latina. Reprinted with permission from the author.