6 Common Misconceptions about Stretch Marks

It’s likely that you’ve heard some things in your life about stretch marks that are completely untrue. Stretch mark myths may lead you to believe that you’re not at risk for developing stretch marks, that you’ll never get rid of your stretch marks, or that you’ll have to undergo some expensive and dangerous treatment to get rid of your stretch marks. Below we’ve listed the most common misconceptions about stretch marks. Read on to discover the truth behind the myths.

Stretch Marks Are Only Caused by Pregnancy

A common misconception about stretch marks is that only women get them or that they only develop while a woman is pregnant. In reality, anyone can develop stretch marks. Adolescent boys and girls sometimes get them due to hormone changes and growth spurts. Men frequently get them as well due to rapid weight gain or steroid use.

Stretch Marks Are Caused by Weight Gain

Weight gain is one cause of stretch marks, but rapid weight loss can cause stretch marks to appear as well. Because of this, it’s important for people starting new diet or exercise programs to take steps to prevent stretch mark development.

Stretch Marks Go Away on Their Own

Unfortunately, stretch marks will never fully disappear on their own. While they may fade over time without treatment, the only way they will disappear is if they are treated.

Stretch Mark Treatments Are Covered by Insurance

Some people opt to have their stretch marks treated by a doctor using procedures like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or tummy tucks. However, these treatments are very expensive and are rarely covered by health insurance. Because stretch marks do not cause health issues, most health insurance providers view treatment as cosmetic and do not provide coverage.

If you have a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account, check with your health insurance provider to determine if you can use your account funds to cover treatment or purchase stretch mark prevention or removal products.

Stretch Marks Can’t Be Prevented

There are many simple ways that you can prevent stretch marks if you believe you’re at risk for developing them. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin hydrated and less likely to break, and avoiding foods that are high in sugar content will prevent the lower layers of your skin from becoming brittle. Using a stretch mark prevention cream or lotion will also help strengthen your skin and may reduce your risk of developing stretch marks.

If You Have Stretch Marks Now, You’ll Always Have Them

Many people currently suffering from stretch marks feel as though their stretch marks are something they’ll have to suffer with forever because treatments performed by a doctor are expensive, dangerous, and impractical. However, there are many over the counter products that may reduce the appearance of stretch marks or even remove them completely. Check out our selection of stretch marks removal products to find a cost-effective solution for removing your stretch marks.

Stretch Marks Q&A: What You Need to Know About Striae

Whether you’re currently suffering from stretch marks or are trying to prevent them, these answers to common questions will help you learn more about preventing and treating striae.

What causes stretch marks?

A number of factors can lead to developing stretch marks. A lack of collagen in skin caused by aging or sun damage can increase your likelihood of developing stretch marks. Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, puberty, and steroid use can also increase your chances of getting stretch marks. Most commonly, people get stretch marks when the shape of skin changes rapidly: during pregnancy, after gaining or losing a lot of weight, after rapid muscle development, or after an adolescent growth spurt.

How do you prevent stretch marks?

Most commonly, people who are at risk of developing stretch marks use a stretch mark prevention cream to soften, strengthen, and elasticize skin. Other ways to prevent stretch marks include drinking the recommended amount of water each day to keep skin hydrated, eating foods that promote your body’s natural development of collagen to strengthen skin, and avoiding exposure to the sun without sunblock to avoid damaging skin and increasing skin brittleness.

Do stretch marks go away?

No. While stretch marks may fade in color over time—generally they start out as red and fade after a few months to a lighter white color—they will not go away on their own and must be treated to be removed.

Can men get stretch marks?

Yes. Men and women alike are susceptible to developing stretch marks. You may hear women talking about stretch marks more often simply because of the high risk of developing stretch marks during pregnancy, but men often develop stretch marks as well when gaining muscle rapidly due to bodybuilding or weightlifting, or when going through significant weight changes due to rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss.

How do you get rid of stretch marks?

There are many options available for fading and eliminating stretch marks. One popular and cost-effective option is to use a stretch mark removal cream. Available for purchase over the counter, a stretch mark removal cream may fade stretch marks and make them less noticeable. A doctor can also perform several types of treatments to fade or remove stretch marks, including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, microneedling, and laser treatment. However, keep in mind that these treatments can costs thousands of dollars and require many months of recurring procedures to be fully effective.

How can you tell if you will get stretch marks?

It’s impossible to know for sure if you will get stretch marks, so it’s important to take measures to prevent stretch marks when you’re experiencing an event where stretch marks are likely to form. Some medical professionals believe stretch marks may be genetic, so if one or more of your parents have stretch marks, you may be more likely to get them. Additionally, while some people report itching prior to stretch marks appearing, most often they form with no symptoms at all.

7 Facts About Stretch Marks That May Surprise You

Whether you’re suffering from stretch marks currently or trying to prevent them, there are some facts about stretch marks that you need to know that will help you live with less stress, prevent stretch marks more effectively, and understand what will and won’t get rid of stretch mark scarring.

Men Can Get Stretch Marks Too

While you typically hear more women stressing and complaining about stretch marks, it’s mostly because of the correlation between stretch marks and pregnancy. The truth is that men are just as likely to get stretch marks as women are, though men usually develop them due to rapid muscle gain, weight gain, or weight loss. Male bodybuilders worry about stretch marks almost as much as pregnant women!

Stretch Marks Can Develop Anywhere

Stretch marks are not exclusive to any part of the body—they can appear anywhere. Common places that stretch marks form are stomachs, thighs, breasts, arms, hips, and buttocks, but they can show up anywhere on your body where skin is stretched due to changes in the shape of your body.

Genetics May Make You More Susceptible

While there are differing opinions as to whether or not susceptibility to stretch mark scarring is inherited, some research shows genetics may play a role in your likelihood of developing stretch marks. If one or both of your parents have them, you may be more likely to develop them as well.

Age May Play a Role in Susceptibility

Collagen is a protein found in the body that plays a huge role in skin healing, elasticity, and strength. As you get older, your body produces less collagen. In fact, it is the reduction of collagen production by the body that causes skin to wrinkle. Ample collagen production makes you less likely to get stretch marks, so the older you are, the more important is it to take steps to prevent stretch marks.

Losing Weight Does Not Get Rid of Stretch Marks

You may think that stretch marks caused by pregnancy or weight gain can be eradicated by losing weight, but losing weight will not get rid of stretch marks. In fact, losing weight rapidly can actually cause more stretch marks to form!

Stretch Marks Do Not Go Away Without Treatment

After some time passes, stretch marks may fade in color from red to white. However, stretch marks do not go away on their own and must be treated in order to get rid of them. A number of treatment options are available for getting rid of stretch marks, including stretch mark creams, laser treatment, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and microneedling.

Stretch Marks Are Considered a Cosmetic Issue

Though stretch marks can itch, get inflamed, and cause emotional distress due to the self-consciousness they cause in sufferers, health insurance companies always consider stretch marks a cosmetic issue and will not cover treatment. If you’re curious about how much treatment may cost, you can use our treatment calculator to get an estimate.