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DrSugar Answers: Stretch Mark Prevention?

DrSugar is in the house and he's answering your health questions.

Dear DrSugar,
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.

Have a question for DrSugar? Send it by private messaging me here, and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Embrace them~ Everybody has them...! =) You can use cocoa butter during pregnancy to reduce the appearance.
Alithyra Alithyra 8 years
Ugh, no wonder I have them. Gained a bunch of weight fast as a kid thanks to Prednisone "curing" my ulcers. And the boobs! I somehow went up a cup while I was in college.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I have a few stretch marks on my hips from when I gained my "freshman 30" in college and thankfully they've pretty much faded now. My husband actually has a lot of stretch marks on his thighs; I'm guessing they're from him gaining weight after we got married.
sourcherry sourcherry 8 years
I wish! I've always been pretty skinny, no weight fluctuations, and I have a lot of strech marks! =/ I'm thinking about getting laser therapy, but I'm not sure about how effective it is, if at all...
Advah Advah 8 years
I'm not sure if it's true, but I always thought good skin moisturizing helped in avoiding stretch marks. And I agree, it depends on your skin; a friend of mine has always been super skinny but has huge stretch marks. :( My sister swears by moisturizing her thighs/hips with rose oil, and since she started using it it really improved her skin there. Don't know if it works on everybody though.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
^^so true. I had cellulite when I used to weigh 120. And I have stretch marks due to an increase in calf muscle :(
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
"I thought stretch marks only occurred in pregnant woman and obese people!" LOL... wow. Thats like the cellulite myth. My sister is a stick thin model and has cellulite and stretchmarks... it can happen to any one. Thankfully they have airbrush makeup and photoshop so you can erase them from your memory when you're older... I love mine. Allows me to know I'm human. I've had em on my hips and breasts since I hit 17 and magically had a body. My breasts went from a Bcup to a Dcup overnight, so of course I have some. I just use self tanner, makeup and natural tans to "deal" with them. I also lotion my entire body daily to keep it nice and hydrated.
doogirl doogirl 8 years
I got a ton of stretchmarks from when I was on Prednisone when I was 13. Sucks! Then I had two hildren so I'm basically solid stretchmarks from the bellybutton down. Some people are just more prone to get them. SUCKS!!!
Poppie Poppie 8 years
wow, i have the same problem i'm so glad someone asked!!
sandy82 sandy82 8 years
I hate my stretchmarks. they just came out of nowhere. :(
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