Stretch marks seem to be caused, literally, by a stretching of the skin. Stretch marks are more extreme when coupled with an increase in cortisone, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisone weakens elastic fibers in the skin.
Stretch marks develop in a variety of circumstances, including:
Jan. 10, 2013
- Pregnancy. Most pregnant women develop stretch marks by the end of their pregnancy. The physical stretching of the skin, along with hormonal factors, likely plays a role.
- Weight gain. Stretch marks sometimes occur during substantial weight gain. Weightlifters can develop stretch marks, particularly on the arms. Adolescents may notice stretch marks during growth spurts.
- Medication use. Corticosteroid creams, lotions and pills and chronic use of oral or systemic steroids can cause stretch marks.
- Conditions or diseases. Cushing's syndrome and adrenal gland diseases can cause widespread stretch marks, as can Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other hereditary (genetic) disorders.
- Mom and baby skin care. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/mom-and-baby-skin-care. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.
- Pomerantz MK. The skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes during pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.
- Hussain HA, et al. Stretch marks and treatment efficacies. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2012;66(suppl):AB29.
- Gabbe SG, et al. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1528/0.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Nov. 15, 2012.
- Shipman AR, et al. Obesity and the skin. British Journal of Dermatology. 2011;165:743.
- Goel A, et al. Fractional lasers in dermatology — Current status and recommendations. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology. 2011;77:369.
- Soltanipoor F, et al. The effect of olive oil on prevention of striae gravidarum: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2012;20:263.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 26, 2012.
- Tretinoin. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
- Gotu kola. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
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