Why Stretch Marks Stick Around

Why Stretch Marks Stick Around

Those little scars are your tiger stripes of motherhood.

By Liz Krieger

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “earning your stripes,” that’s exactly how you got these lines–you freakin’ earned them by creating an entire human being and bringing them into the world! They’re a form of scarring that develops when your skin stretches or shrinks quickly (hello, pregnancy belly, boobs, and hips), because collagen and elastin, two things that support our skin, rupture. The marks appear red when they’re new, but most will fade to white over time. Stretch marks are basically permanent and affect up to 90 percent of pregnant women—so you’re definitely not alone.

Let’s pause here to remember what your body just did: it changed and expanded within a short amount of time to grow a new human, and it’s worth reframing these signs of that feat as just that—an amazing accomplishment. And heck, if more than 90 percent of women are walking around with these—it’s time to toss out the idea that postpartum bods should be mark-free.

Sure, you can slather on creams and oils made for stretch marks if they help reduce itchiness (when your skin gets these tiny tears, your nerves may respond by creating an itchy sensation) or if it feels like a sweet little self-care massage to you. But don't be pulled into the idea that you need to make your “stretchies” go away–it’s difficult to get rid of stretch marks, especially once they’ve been around long enough to turn from red to white. And besides, why would you want to erase the proof of what your body went through to bring you your favorite little person? After all, you earned those stripes.