Stretch marks - what the experts say
Stretch marks and pregnancy
The appearance of stretch marks is mainly linked to hormonal factors. Certain hormones (cortisol, estrogen) disturb the structure and functioning of fibroblasts, the cells that synthesize elastin and collagen in the skin. These fibers play a very important role in supporting the skin, ensuring resistance to stretching and reinforcing the skin’s elasticity. Under the effect of hormones, they decrease in number and quality, thereby weakening the skin.
The complete and abrupt stretching of a woman’s skin during pregnancy also contributes significantly to the appearance of stretch marks; already weakened by hormones, the skin is subject to stretching, which often exceeds its elastic capacity.
In addition to the influence of hormones and skin tension, other risk factors can lead to the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy:
- The mother’s young age: pregnant women under the age of 25 run a higher risk of getting stretch marks
- Weight: significant and rapid weight gain during pregnancy and/or a high Body Mass Index previous to pregnancy are also factors which can result in stretch marks.
- Any personal or family history of stretch marks should also be taken into account.
- Finally, if the baby’s weight is high at birth and/or if the baby is born at term or after term, you run a higher risk of getting stretch marks.