Characteristics of Stretch Marks

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Stretch marks can vary in shape, size, position and colour. They depend upon the location and the cause as to the size and position. However, they are generally all share the same characteristics even if they do differ in other variants.

When stretch marks first occur, they appear as red indents on the surface of the skin. The colour can vary between red and purple and this is caused by the burst blood vessels that have been damaged during the tearing of the skin. The indent is formed when the middle layer of the skin rips from over stretching and the lower layer pokes through. Depending on the size of the tear, the stretch mark can be big or small, wide or narrow. They will also appear darker in colour depending on the damaged caused to the local blood vessels.

Over time, stretch marks will fade to a white colour. The blood vessels eventually repair themselves and are not as obvious on the surface of the skin. As the skin returns to its original position, the stretch marks can shrink in size but it is rare that they disappear altogether.

There are common areas where stretch marks tend to occur. Generally, they appear on the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. They may also be present on the arms and the back. Stretch marks usually appear in clusters as rapid stretching usually leads to more than one tear. In pregnancy, women have started to refer to stretch marks as their “tiger stripes”, partly because of the pattern they can form and partly because they have survived the troubles of pregnancy.

The cause of the stretch marks can alter the shape, size or position of the scar. For instance, if they are the result of Cushing’s syndrome, they are generally wider and bigger in size than normal stretch marks. In pregnancy, stretch marks are more prominent and can appear on the breasts and in large amounts on the abdomen. It is also rare to get stretch marks on your back but these can occur during puberty, especially in males.

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