Myths and facts

Researchers don't always agree about what causes stretch marks1, but that hasn't kept people from taking guesses. Here are some myths and facts we do know, to help you sort it all out.

Myth: If you have stretch marks, you must be overweight.
Fact: Stretch marks occur when the skin is overstretched. That happens when you gain weight, of course. But it also occurs during pregnancy, rapid growth or any time the skin is stretched too far too quickly.
Myth: Only women get stretch marks.
Fact: Women do get stretch marks more often, but about one in four men (24%)2 get them, too. Boys can also get them when there's rapid growth during puberty, for example. Plus, bodybuilders of either sex can get stretch marks if they build muscle mass too quickly.
Myth: Losing weight will make your stretch marks disappear.
Fact: Unfortunately, losing weight doesn't mean you'll lose the stretch marks. In fact, weight loss can sometimes cause stretch marks to appear more noticeable because the skin becomes looser and less taut.
Myth: You can't do anything about stretch marks.
Fact: You can't totally get rid of stretch marks, but research has shown that certain products and treatments can improve how they look and feel.
Myth: There's no need to take care of stretch marks.
Fact: This might be the biggest myth. It is true that stretch marks rarely cause medical problems. But for some people, they cause embarrassment and distress.1 That's why dermatologists (doctors who specialize in skin conditions) and researchers have worked hard to find ways to treat them.
  1. Striae Distensae (Stretch Marks) and Different Modalities of Therapy: An Update, Dermatologic Surgery, April 2009.
  2. 2011 Survey Conducted by Merz North America, Inc.
All information in the Mederma® Learning Center is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice. You should seek professional medical care if you have any concerns about your skin.