What are stretch marks?
Stretch marks are narrow streaks or lines that develop on the surface of the skin. They develop when the the skin is stretched suddenly and the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) breaks in places, allowing the deeper layers to show through. [x]
Are they common?
Yes, so many people have them. Fat people have them. Thin people have them. Models have them. Athletes have them. VS Angels have them. Men, women, and those who don’t fit the gender binary. Young, old, and anywhere in between. Anyone can get them, and many do. They appear when skin stretches due to various types of growth, and everybody grows, so they’re more common than you might think.
Why do I barely ever see other people with stretch marks, then?
Firstly, they’re not as noticeable as you may think they are. You are your own worst critic - nobody is going to be judging your appearance as harshly as you do. I bet you’ve seen hundreds of women with stretch marks, and just never noticed them.
Secondly, it’s no secret that the media likes to hide everything they might deem as an “imperfection”. Spots, eyebags, pores, stretch marks, wrinkles, body hair - all of these things are completely normal, but are barely ever seen in the media. It doesn’t mean that people don’t have them, it just means that the media love to make their models as stereotypically “flawless” as possible, to try to convince you that you need to buy the products that they’re selling. Nobody looks like the models in magazines. Even the models don’t look like the models in magazines. Just because you can’t see people’s stretch marks, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
What can I do?
Stretch marks fade over time. Many start off as pink or purple, and gradually fade, becoming barely noticeable. The speed of this process can sometimes be increased by moisturizing the area. There are many different products on the market that claim to remove stretch marks, but often you are paying more for what is essentially a glorified moisturizer. Anything that moisturizes and therefore increases the elasticity of your skin may help to reduce the appearance of your stretch marks, but there is no guarantee that this will work, and they will probably never disappear completely.
Stretch marks are completely normal, so the best thing you can do is to learn to accept them. They are a part of you, they’re not the enemy. Embrace your stripes!