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I will be leaving my teen years behind soon — thank goodness. But I've noticed red stretch marks around my breasts and am greatly concerned. I have not gained or lost any weight and cannot find a reasonable explanation as to why I am getting these red lines. I thought stretch marks only occurred in pregnant woman and obese people! Why do I have them? Are they permanent? What can I do to prevent them from staying there? Please help!
— Stressed About Stretch Marks
To see DrSugar's advice on stretch marks,
Stretch marks, know as striae in medical terms, can be very frustrating because they seemingly come from nowhere and are very hard to get rid of. Unfortunately, as your experience attests, stretch marks are not limited to pregnant women. Stretch marks can commonly form during puberty on breasts or hips. They also can form on the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs during periods of rapid weight gain at any age. While the biggest risk factor for developing stretch marks is any type of rapid weight gain or increase in body size, certain medical diseases and medications can also cause them. Prednisone, a steroid pill commonly prescribed for inflammatory conditions, is the most common culprit in terms of medication. Cortisone creams can also lead to stretch marks because they cause thinning of the skin.
The fact that your stretch marks are only around the breasts makes the most likely cause normal breast growth. Unfortunately, the stretch marks you have are not easily reversible, but there are some treatments available. If there is redness or irritation along the stretch marks, this will generally fade and become less noticeable over time. If the stretch marks have occurred recently, like in the last two months, you can try a prescription of either tretinoin cream or Retin-A cream to improve their appearance. More expensive therapies are available as well; dermabrasion and laser therapy are two methods performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons that can reduce the appearance of the marks. If you have a dermatologist, make an appointment to discuss strategies for dealing with stretch marks. Although I don't think you could have prevented your stretch marks, here are some tips for preventing and decreasing stretch marks.
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