Have you ever had that moment where you’re standing in the mirror trying on a bathing suit or new dress with a plunging neck line and then notice—ah! Over there! A stretch mark—or a field of stretch marks. It’s one of those natural aspects of life that make us want to shrink back into a hoodie and jeans to hide them. Well, have no fear. Stretch marks are a part of life and a part of being a woman. According to eMedicine.com, 90 percent of women acquire stretch marks during pregnancy, while 70 percent of  women develop them during puberty.

Stretch marks develop when skin grows at an abnormally fast rate, hence why adolescence or periods of weight gain are notorious for allowing these lines to shine. Skin is naturally elastic, but when it stretches to quickly, the skin is unable to react quickly enough and the middle layer of the skin, called the dermis, rips. These tears basically turn into those lovely lines that we all know as stretch marks. Stretch marks are most often found on the breasts, stomach, hips, or buttocks.

Although unsightly, they must be embraced because stretch marks are bodily scars that do not go away–they simply fade slowly with time. They are also in many ways a symbol of birthing and life through their association with pregnancies. Surgery is the only way to have them removed however there are some safer options that help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Although many over-the-counter creams claim to make stretch marks disappear, there are some that lessen their appearance. Sunless tanning products and body makeup can also be used sparingly to cover them up for one-time events or photo shoots. However, the best bet is good old fashioned diet and exercise to maintain weight; this is your best preventative measure from gaining unnecessary stretch marks.

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