The Science Behind Stretch Marks

Otherwise known as Striae distensae, stretch marks are caused by the continuous pulling and stretching of the skin as time goes on. They are influenced by the disruption of collagen production, leading to reduced elasticity and smoothness. Rapid, constant stretching is particularly likely to influence the formation of these marks, especially during pregnancy, amidst puberty, when undergoing hormonal changes, and even when working out extensively over several years.

Stretch marks appear as stripes or “streaks” in the skin that are long, narrow and sometimes unsightly, but otherwise harmless. Some fade over time, while others are much more stubborn; usually this is determined by how intense the rapid stretching of the area was in addition to its duration. For instance, over 50 percent of women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy due to the extreme pulling and contracting inflicted on their lower body in addition to rapid weight gain.