Stretch marks do not affect everyone and some people will not get them. It depends on your skin type. If your skin is more elastic, you are less likely to get stretch marks. If your skin contains a lower amount of collagen (a type of protein that keeps the skin stretchy), you are more likely to get stretch marks.
An early sign of stretch marks is when the area of affected skin becomes thin, flattened and pink. Initially, the area may also feel itchy.
Stretch marks first appear as red or purple streaks or lines (striae rubra) on the surface of your skin. They are slightly raised to the touch and may feel wrinkly. Depending on your skin colour, they may also look pink, reddish brown or dark brown.
The lines will appear purple or pink in colour, before eventually flattening out. As the lines become flatter they will begin to fade and will usually change to a white colour (striae alba).
Stretch marks may appear in patches of parallel lines on your body. Your skin over the stretch marks may look thin and silvery and can often look scar-like.
In many cases, stretch marks fade and become less noticeable over time, but this can take years.
Stretch marks can appear anywhere on your body where your skin has been stretched. However, they usually occur on the parts of your body where fat is stored, such as your:
Stretch marks that are caused by using corticosteroid treatments and by Cushing’s syndrome tend to be wider and larger and can also appear on the face.
See Stretch marks - causes for more information about corticosteroid treatments and Cushing’s syndrome.
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