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What Causes Stretch Marks?

Just like a rubber band loses its elasticity when excessively stretched, excessive stretching of skin causes stretch marks. Because of this stretching, skin loses elastin and collagen that in turn lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks. These marks usually show through the top layer of skin, which is known as the epidermis.  

When Skin Is Stretched To The Point Of Breaking

Sometimes, rapid increase in the size of the tissue stretches the skin to the point of breaking. This causes stretch marks that basically develop in the dermis – the middle layer of the skin. This layer contains fibers that are medically known as collagen, which is responsible for the elasticity in skin. This is because of the presence of collagen in the skin that allows the skin to stretch and shrink back to its original shape. If because of any reason, the skin is stretched continuously over a long period of time, these fibers break and then the body tries to produce more collagen in the affected area in order to heal the area. This eventually results in the development of stretch marks in the dermis. These scars show through the epidermis. 

Natural Causes 

In general, development in the human body, especially in the case of women, causes stretch marks. For example, women during pregnancy and adolescents during puberty are more inclined to experience these marks. The growth of hormones plays a very important role in this regard. Besides this, certain medication also aggravates these scars. For example, medications like steroids, such as cortisone is very much likely to develop into stretch marks on the skin. All these natural causes weaken the supporting structure of the skin. Because of this, the layers of the skin get separated, which eventually leads to discolored and grooved skin. 

Early And Mature Stretch Marks 

Growth spurts, sudden weight gain, and pregnancy usually result in blood vessel dilation and damaged dermal collagen that causes stretch marks. These are basically early stretch marks that are red or purple in color. On the other hand, loss of pigment because of collagen-remodeling and inflammation results in mature stretch marks, which are white or hypo-pigmented scars showing through the top layer of the skin. 


Hormonal Effects

Sometimes, an increased level of hormone, such as glucocorticoids, also causes stretch marks. These hormones are secreted by the adrenal glands and circulate through the bloodstream. Weight lifting, Cushing’s disease, obesity, adolescence, and pregnancy are some of the reasons that increase the level of these hormones. That is the reason why some people believe that stretch marks is not basically associated with the stretching of skin, but its root cause lies in the levels of certain hormones. 

Exposure to certain chemicals also causes stretch marks. You are also recommended to consult your doctor before you take any medication, especially steroid based medicines.

Related posts:

  1. How Do You Get Stretch Marks?
  2. What Do Stretch Marks Look Like Exactly?
  3. Is it Normal for Men and Boys to Develop Stretch Marks?
  4. What is a Stretch Mark and How do They Happen
  5. Genetics and Stretch Marks

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