Stretch marks are not just an adult issue. Teenagers can also develop them.
Adolescence (or teenage) comes with a lot of changes. It is the time when teens are slowly establishing their identity and developing new personalities. They also undergo physical transformation (due to hormonal changes), which often leaves some marks. These are stretch marks.
But there’s nothing to worry. Stretch marks are a normal part of puberty, and with a little caution, they can fade. Read on to know more.
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Is It Normal For Teens To Get Stretch Marks?
Yes, it is absolutely normal for teenagers to develop stretch marks.
About 40% of adolescent males, especially those who actively participate in sports, and 70% of adolescent females develop stretch marks (1).
When the teens hit puberty, there are hormonal changes in the body. During this time, teenagers may experience a sudden growth spurt and may see stretch marks develop on their body parts. Teenagers may usually see stretch marks in these regions:
- Lower and upper back (including the shoulders)
- Upper arms
- Knees and legs (sometimes)
If you are wondering how teenagers develop stretch marks, here’s your answer.
How Do Stretch Marks Develop In Teenagers?
Stretch marks, also known as striae, develop when the skin experiences rapid stretching beyond its limit. This causes damage to the collagen and elastin fibres and leads to the development of scars on the affected areas.
During the teenage years, both boys and girls may experience a growth spurt, which stretches the skin and leaves behind stretch marks. Teenagers may also gain or lose weight rapidly, which may also cause stretch marks. Several other factors may also cause stretch marks in teenagers. These are:
- Taking oral or topical steroid medications (for conditions like Cushing’s syndrome)
- Genetic history of stretch marks
Stretch marks are inevitable, and there is no way that you can get rid of them. However, if you take enough precautions, you may improve their appearance and make them less noticeable.
How To Prevent And Treat Stretch Marks In Teenagers
If you are looking to fade stretch marks, the first thing you need to do is to take preventive measures. There are ways you can make your skin resilient and prevent intense tearing and severe stretch marks. Here are the things you can do:
Everyone, including teenagers, should exercise regularly. In addition to toning the body, exercising also helps prevent excessive weight gain. This prevents your skin from stretching unnecessarily and inhibits the development stretch marks. In case you develop any, they will not be severe and may become less noticeable with time.
2. Stay Hydrated
Keeping yourself hydrated is crucial. Dry skin stretches easily and is more vulnerable to damage. This causes the development of stretch marks. Staying hydrated from within ensures your organs, including the skin, stay healthy and function properly.
3. Moisturize Regularly
Along with staying hydrated from within, your skin needs additional moisturization from outside. Massage your skin with body lotions and creams to prevent skin dryness. Properly moisturized skin is elastic and stretches easily. This might help prevent stretch marks.
4. Use Sunscreen
We understand that it is not possible to avoid the sun altogether. However, UV exposure can cause skin damage and worsen your stretch marks. Hence, apply sunscreen generously before stepping out.
5. Follow A Balanced Diet
Vitamins and nutrients are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and overall health. They also help keep your weight in check. These factors can help prevent unnecessary skin stretching and the marks caused by it.
Consume fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy and poultry products, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods, aerated water, sodas, and sugary drinks and snacks.
6. Use OTC Products
You may use anti-stretch marks OTC products for fading the marks. However, make sure to use them religiously and regularly.
If your stretch marks are severe and not fading with preventive measures and regular moisturizing, consult a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment. Usually, the doctor may prescribe the following options for treating stretch marks.
Medical Treatment Options
- Laser Therapy: This works by removing the top layer of your skin using lasers.
- Microdermabrasion: This is a process where the top layer of the skin is exfoliated using a handheld device.
- Microneedling: This process also uses a handheld device with micro-needles, which are used to prick the skin and promote collagen development.
- Tretinoin And Other Topical Products: These are doctor-prescribed medicines and may help in fading stretch marks.
However, doctors often do not recommend these treatment options for adolescents. This is because adolescents have not grown up completely. The stretch marks they develop during adolescence may fade over time.
As they are still growing, there is always scope for developing new stretch marks later on during their adulthood. Hence, doctors may prescribe topical creams and ointments for teens. Preventive measures often work best in such cases.
If you are a teenager and do not know how to treat your stretch marks, follow the tips given here and talk to a doctor for suitable treatment options.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Where do stretch marks appear on the teen’s bodies?
Teenagers usually develop stretch marks on the thighs, hips, buttocks, breasts, abdomen, lower and upper back, knees, and legs.
Do stretch marks during puberty go away?
The chances are high that they will fade with time. However, they may not completely go away.
- Karia, Umesh Karsandas, Bela Bhemabhai Padhiar, and Bela Jaswantbhai Shah. “Evaluation of various therapeutic measures in Striae Rubra.” Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery 9.2 (2016): 101.