Stretch Marks & Weight Gain

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We all know that weight gain can lead to many medical problems including diabetes in children, adolescents and adults. Obesity, which can shorten the life span by at least a decade or more, may cause strokes and heart disease. However, one of the big problems with weight gain is stretch marks. When people gain weight, the skin becomes more like elastic and has to stretch to occupy the excess weight gain.

Stretch marks usually start in young teens going through puberty. As the body grows, many young woman experience stretch marks as breasts and hips grow in. The skin can only stretch so much. Weight gain and stretch marks are very closely related. When people gain weight the skin is overstretched and the collagen in the skin is changed. The result will be deep reddish purple or light shiny white lines.

These lines may fade with time but if the weight is kept on, the marks will only get thicker. When the blood vessels recover and go back in to the skin, they turn white but stay with the body. With the adding of pounds to the body, the blood vessels in the stretch marks get more thinned out and seem a deeper color. This is where the purple hue comes from.

Even though gaining muscle is not gaining weight, the large muscles of someone who is very muscular can stretch the skin. This can also result in unsightly stretch marks appearing on the arms, legs and buttocks. The most common areas for stretch marks to appear from weight gain are the sides of the legs or the hips in men and women. The sides of the arms (in both sexes) and the breasts in women are the main places that do not stretch well. Also the inside of the legs will show stretch marks if a person gains enough weight or is heavy enough to warrant it.

Lastly and probably the most embarrassing place for stretch marks is the buttocks. On the buttocks, or any visible area, stretch marks will appear as long purple lines, almost like thick spider veins. Many people try their best to hide these lines but even after losing weight, a person will not lose their stretch marks. Unfortunately, the skin is forever stretched. Surgery may be required to remove excess skin in someone who has undergone a major weight loss.

Reviewing the Facts of Weight Gain and Stretch Marks

Everyone who goes through puberty can get stretch marks. Stretch marks are caused by blood vessels showing through when collagen can no longer stretch. Those who are heavier or obese will notice many stretch marks on their bodies as well as those who lift a lot of weights and are muscular. Stretch marks tend to appear on the buttocks and hips. They are also seen on the sides of the arms and breasts. Stretch marks do not go away but will fade and yes, there are ways to reduce their appearance.

Go to our H-Stretch Marks page

Resources

* www.dermnetnz.org
* http://kidshealth.org
* www.embarrassingproblems.com