Stretch Marks




Before we talk about stretch marks, we need to understand the composition of the skin and how it works. The skin is made of 80% collagen and 4% elastin. Elastin is the protein in the skin which gives it flexibility and allows it to stretch. When the elastin gets damaged due to so many factors, it leads to stretch marks.

As it is called, it has to do with the stretching of the skin. The true cause of stretch marks is HORMONES. When you are pregnant or when you gain weight, it is the hormonal changes that lead to stretch mark and not the condition itself.

When the body is stretched to a point where its elasticity begins to break down, bleeding occurs alongside tissue inflammation giving us the reddish marks of a newly formed stretch mark. As the marks heal, scar formation occurs, and you have a stretch mark.

Stretch mark, for ages, has been a nightmare for women both young and old. I have received uncountable number of text messages pleading for this issue to be treated in my column. I have seen girls as young as 16 going through the trauma of these unsightly marks.

Most relationships have ended with the girl living in pain because the man cannot afford to get hooked to a young girl who cannot be bold enough to expose her body. I got a text from a very pretty model who lamented over her inability to be free whenever she has other models in the room with her due to this same issue-stretch mark.

Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body but are more likely to appear in places with larger amounts of fat. The hips, thighs, underarm, upper arm, abdomen, calves, breasts are more susceptible to stretch marks.

There are so many myths on the causes of stretch marks. But I want to educate you today. The following are the possible causes of stretch marks:

Stretch mark is very common in pregnancy, and it affects 50 – 90% of pregnant women. The majority of stretch marks appear on a woman’s abdomen from 6 months onward when her belly is rapidly expanding to accommodate the growing baby and her skin is stretched to its limit.

Rapid weight gain can cause stretch marks in all age groups. When the skin does not have enough collagen or it is disrupted and grows too quickly, stretch marks and scars form. Skin creams with steroids, when used for extended period of time, can cause stretch marks.


Stretch marks are common to both boys and girls during puberty. With the young women developing fast, those tiny reddish or purplish lines begin to appear on the breasts, thighs, buttocks.
Stretch marks can also appear on the body as a result of excessive intake of caffeine, smoking, and birth control pills.


So many skin products in the market come with wonderful promises of clearing stretch marks within two months of use. But that is all marketing lies. Nothing has been proven to totally clear stretch marks. The application of Vitamin E oil goes a long way to help make stretch marks less visible. Alpha Hydroxy creams also helps to make your skin look better though it can cause temporary redness and irritation.

Some people with stretch marks undergo chemical peels in order to remove the top layer of the skin with wrinkles and lines. The new skin is often lighter and smoother, showing fewer stretch marks than before the peel.

Laser surgery for stretch marks involves a laser that pulses a beam of light through the skin. This encourages new skin and collagen growth. You will require between four to six visits to the clinic to achieve results, but there will be some noticeable differences after the first visit. Almost half of the people who go through this complain about not getting very wonderful results. Laser surgery is quite an expensive one; it is not for the middle class as it costs between $600 to $1,800 per session.

Get plenty of protein and foods rich in vitamin C and E, they promote good tissue growth
Massage with olive oil or Vitamin E oil
Try mixing a carrier oil, like avocado or jojoba oil with chamomile and lavender oil
Cocoa butter
Eat nuts and seeds on a daily basis. Be cautious when eating these nuts. Moderation is the watchword. Go for nuts like cashew, almond, canola, etc.
Reduce your intake of coffee
Take fish oil supplements daily (salmon preferably). Every woman should make this a part of her daily routine.
Avoid carbonated drinks
Take your green tea two to three times daily
Start rubbing Vitamin E oil once you find out that you are pregnant. Use it to massage your tummy and other parts of body twice daily. There are very good oils in the market, but I still like Bio-oil.
Water remains your best drink. When next you hang out with friends, take your eyes off that bottle of soda. Go for water. The more water you drink the more elastic your skin becomes. Yoghurt also helps your skin, but remember, it has to be low fat yoghurt.
Reduce your salt intake.
Avoid very tight clothes and underwear.
Our natural shear butter popularly called ‘ori’ (Yoruba) is a very good moisturizer for stretch marks.
For those who already have those very bold stretch marks on your arms, please try to always cover it when you dress. Avoid those sleeveless clothes when you have them. Also quit the use of that bleaching cream because it worsens the condition.
You can also visit a spa for a body massage with special oils. Let them know what you want to deal with. Some women get into the spa only to start pretending like everything is okay. Open up and tell them how much that stretch mark bothers you. There treatments won’t fade it off totally, but they will help to make your skin better.

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