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What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are narrow, streak-like lines that can develop on the surface of the skin. They are also sometimes known as stria or striae.

Stretch marks are often red or purple at first, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. They are usually 1-10mm wide and are a few centimetres long.


Are Stretch Marks common?   

Stretch marks are very common. Anyone can get them, but they occur more often in women than men. The abdomen (tummy), buttocks and thighs are most commonly affected by stretch marks.

Stretch marks can appear on the skin whenever the skin is stretched as a result of sudden growth. For example, they can appear:

  • during pregnancy
  • as a result of weight gain
  • as a results of growth spurts during puberty, when the body matures sexually and the reproductive organs become functional
About 9 out of 10 women are affected by stretch marks during pregnancy. Around 7 out of 10 females and 4 out of 10 males develop stretch marks during puberty.

In some cases, stretch marks can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition, such as Cushing's syndrome.

  
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