Known by doctors as "striae," stretch marks typically appear after rapid weight gain or loss. They are most common during pregnancy and the teen years, when growth spurts and increased levels of steroid hormones cause significant changes throughout the body. Stretch marks can also be brought on by obesity and weight lifting.
Genetic factors -- including inherited defects of connective tissues -- also play a role, Mohamed L. Elsaie, MD, MBA, says in the August 2008 issue of Esthetic Dermatology News. But the basic cause of stretch marks is unknown.
Basically, if your mother had them, you're probably going to have them," says Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Group and author of The Skin Type Solution.
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Archived: March 20, 2014
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