Are Stretch Marks Permanent?

About 90 percent of women develop stretch marks (aka striae) during pregnancy. Stretch marks are actually tiny tears in the skin that usually appear on the tummy, breasts, hips and thighs. Luckily, stretch marks are normally one of the first signs of pregnancy to fade after baby is born (whew!).

But there’s some bad news: While stretch marks are likely to fade, they may never disappear altogether. Just how long they’ll stick around and how drastic they’ll look will depend on a combination of factors. The first one is heredity. If your mom has stretch marks, you’ll be more likely to get them and keep them yourself. Next is the way you got those marks. High levels of the hormones estrogen and relaxin can cause more severe stretch marks. So can greater weight gain, since the longer a distance your skin stretches, the worse the stretch marks will probably be.

There are ways to combat the marks. The best defense against striae is to gently massage the skin with a moisturizer as much as possible during pregnancy and recovery. Look for ones with skin-strengthening ingredients like essential fatty acids. You won’t know for sure if the stretch marks will disappear until after you give birth, but at least you can take some extra precautions.

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