Stretch marks are a common body hang up that we’ve only recently started to embrace – and about time – we all have them.

Earlier this year, straight-talking model Chrissy Teigen got very real about self-love, calling for us all to be more accepting of our bodies.

‘I really want to be that person for you all, that says, “You don’t need that fucking shit,”‘ she explained to her followers. ‘I’ve been on shoots. I’ve been naked-to-naked with people. I will say that everyone has a stretch mark.’

She continued: ‘Every time I see that others have a stretch mark, I’m like, “Girl, yes!” It makes me feel better, and if more of us did that kind of shit, how many people would feel better?’

While it’s not the end of the world to have stretch marks, many people go to extreme lengths to try to get rid of them, but what actually are stretch marks?

 

While incredibly common, few of us know the ins and outs of stretch marks, so don’t sweat – we’ve got you covered. From why they come about to how you can treat them, here’s everything you need to know about stretch marks…

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are fine line scars (usually red/ purple in colour) that occur on the surface of the skin as a result of tearing from where the skin has been pulled by rapid growth or stretching.

Why do people get stretch marks?

There is a common misconception that stretch marks are a sign of weight gain, occurring a lot with pregnant women, but they are actually linked to all rapid weight or growth change. Stretch marks do not mean that the person is overweight, it simply means that they have torn their dermis, a layer of the skin that is strained and stretched during rapid growth.

Where is it possible to get stretch marks?

Stretch marks occur in the areas where skin is stretched during growth, most commonly appearing in the tummy, breasts, thighs and bum. It is also possible to get stretch marks in the upper arms, shoulders, back and sometimes on the face.

Do stretch marks vary in colour?

Stretch marks do vary in colour – when new they tend to be red/ purple in colour, before fading to a silver/ white shade over time.

Are stretch marks common?

Stretch marks are very common – as Chrissy Teigen says ‘everyone has a stretch mark’. As they occur during puberty, pregnancy and after rapid growth changes, it’s safe to say that most people over the age of eighteen will have a stretch mark somewhere.

How long do stretch marks last?

Stretch marks will never completely disappear, but they do fade over time, becoming much less noticeable as they age. You can usually expect them to fade from six months to a year after the lines have appeared.

How do you get rid of stretch marks?

Stretch marks generally tend to fade over time, with the colour turning from red/ purple to white/ silver. If however you are self-conscious about your stretch marks and are desperate to get rid of them, there are several options that might help to make them less visible.

Some people champion bio oil and moisturising products although these haven’t been scientifically proven to actually get rid of the scars. There are also special over-the-counter make up products designed to cover up stretch marks, while in more extreme cases, some people revert to laser therapy and cosmetic surgery.