Stretch marks are the result of excessive stretching and rupture of collagen and elastic fibers underneath the skin especially due to pregnancy or obesity, and the most commonly affected parts are the hips, abdomen and breasts.
Stretch marks appear to be reddish or purplish in color at the beginning, eventually becoming white. According to Dr. Margarita Santella-Jara, an obstetrician-gynecologist-sonologist, stretch marks usually start to develop at 20 weeks of pregnancy and are more visible in women who are on the heavy side.
Why do some women have them while others don’t? Dr. Diona Reina Jacoba-Mabus, a dermatologist, says that not all women are prone to stretch marks, partly because of genetic factors, and also because of weight, activities of the person and the use of steroids. “If your mother has stretch marks, chances are you will also have them. If you are overweight or obese, you’ll have greater chances of having stretch marks, as you also would if you engage in too much stretching or heavy weightlifting. Too much or prolonged application of topical steroids also predisposes one to having striae of the skin (stretch marks),” she adds.
Santella-Jara also stresses that nutrition is a big contributing factor aside from genetics on whether one will have stretch marks or not during pregnancy. She says that meat eaters are more prone to having stretch marks compared to those whose diet are composed mainly of vegetables and fruits because of the tendency of meat-eaters to gain more weight.