Stretch marks represent torn tissue. They can appear with weight gain and pregnancy. Find out how to get rid or prevent stretch marks from forming.

Stretch marks are a form of scaring of the skin caused by the tearing of the dermis which is the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissue.

Stretch marks can occur with rapid weight gain or weight loss, pregnancy, obesity, rapid muscle growth, etc. Fibroblasts are prevented from forming collagen and elastine fibers by the glucocorticoid hormone which is responsible for the appearance of stretch marks.

The skin begins to lack support so as the skin stretches it can lead to tearing.
Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body but it is most likely to appear where more fat is stored. The most common places are the abdomen, breasts, upper arm, thighs, hips and buttocks.

Although they don't present any health risk, they are unaesthetic. They are soft to the touch and appear first reddish or purple but start to fade with time.

Treatments available for improving the appearance of stretch marks are laser treatments, dermabrasion and prescription retinoids.

There are stretch mark creams that claim they improve the appearance of stretch marks but few studies have been conducted to support this general idea.

Tips on preventing stretch marks:

- If you are pregnant use stretch mark preventing creams on a daily basis, based on Aloe Vera and Cocoa Butter. These ingredients benefit your skin and won't harm your baby. Make sure you consult your physician before using any product.
- Exercises and weight control help us stay in shape so there is no significant weight gain that can cause stretch marks.