There are only a few places on your body where you develop stretch marks. The breasts are one of them. Women are most likely to get stretch marks on the breasts.
If you have recently noticed red and purple lines on your breasts, do not panic. They are harmless, and there are a lot of factors that may result in stretch marks on the breasts. Luckily, there are ways to reduce their appearance. In this article, we have discussed everything related to stretch marks on the breasts and ways to treat them.
Table Of Contents
Stretch Marks On The Breast: What Do They Look Like?
It is very common for women to develop stretch marks on the breasts. If you examine your breasts closely, you may find long and thin lines or streaks. Those are stretch marks or striae distensae.
Usually, when they first appear, they appear reddish, purplish, or pinkish. These are early stretch marks and are called striae rubra. As the stretch marks get old, you will see the lines turning white. These are old stretch marks and are called striae alba.
Stretch marks are referred to as striae gravidarum if you get them during pregnancy. During pregnancy, apart from your abdomen, you may also develop stretch marks on your breasts, thighs, hips, and buttocks (1).
Several factors are responsible for the development of stretch marks on the breasts and other body parts.
What Causes Stretch Marks On The Breasts?
The factors that might cause the development stretch marks include:
Adolescents experience hormonal changes in their bodies once they hit puberty. The changes in the hormones also trigger physical changes. During puberty, girls may experience rapid growth in their breast tissue. As the breasts develop, they stretch the skin, which may cause stretch marks on the breasts.
This is the most common cause of the appearance of stretch marks on different body parts, including the breasts. Stretch marks usually start developing by the third trimester. As the baby grows, the rising estrogen levels result in the growth of the milk ducts and the breasts, which may cause stretch marks.
3. Weight Gain Or Loss
A sudden weight gain can also cause stretch marks on the breast. As the breasts contain fat tissues, weight gain can result in an increase in breast size. This stretches the skin and may leave behind marks.
4. Breast Implants And Surgeries
Breast augmentation surgery may also cause stretch marks to develop (2). These surgeries are meant to increase breast size by placing an implant. Placing new implants and repositioning your breasts can stretch the skin, resulting in stretch marks.
5. Family History
Your genes can also make you prone to develop stretch marks. If your parents have stretch marks, you may develop them too.
6. Health Conditions
Underlying health conditions may make your skin vulnerable to stretch marks. If you have conditions, such as Marfan Syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, and other auto-immune conditions, you may develop stretch marks (3). Often, doctors prescribe corticosteroids for treatment. Using corticosteroids may also increase your risk of developing stretch marks.
Early stretch marks respond well to treatment. This is because they are fresh, and the blood vessels right underneath the skin layer promote collagen development, which makes it easier to improve their appearance. Hence, if you have developed stretch marks, start treatment as early as possible.
Treatment And Prevention Options For Stretch Marks On The Breasts
You cannot really prevent stretch marks. However, you can prevent them from turning severe. There are prevention methods that can help reduce their prominence to a great extent and treatment methods to improve their appearance further. Here are a few ways to both prevent and treat stretch marks on the breast.
1. Massage The Stretch Marks
Massaging with moisturizers and emollients helps a lot. Massaging the area helps improve blood circulation and reduce stretch marks. A study found that 15 minutes of massage with bitter almond oil helped prevent pregnancy stretch marks or striae gravidarum (4).
2. Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Staying hydrated is another way to prevent stretch marks. In addition to topical moisturization, your skin also needs to stay hydrated from within. Dry skin cannot stretch properly, and this causes the development of stretch marks. Staying hydrated also improves the overall functions of your organs.
3. Exfoliate Regularly
While it is not known if exfoliation can help reduce stretch marks, it can help keep the skin healthy. Regular exfoliation is essential to get rid of the dead skin cells. This also softens the skin and may aid in stretch mark prevention.
You may try the following ingredients to massage and moisturize your skin:
- Bitter almond oil (Note: This is an essential oil, so mix 2-3 drops of this oil with any carrier oil before using it.)
- Almond oil
- Shea butter
- Cocoa butter
- Coconut oil
- Argan oil
These ingredients work by keeping the skin moisturized and enhancing its elasticity. This reduces the chances of developing severe stretch marks. Proper moisturization can help reduce stretch marks (5).
If home remedies are not working on the stretch marks, you may have to opt for medical treatment. In such cases, it is best to consult a dermatologist. This is because treatment depends on your skin type and severity of your condition.
A dermatologist is the best person to decide which type of treatment may work for you and whether you need multiple treatments or not. Usually, the doctor may recommend the following treatment options.
- Laser Therapy: Laser is a safe way to improve the appearance of stretch marks. It helps restore the damaged elastin fibers and improves collagen production (6).
- Acid Peels: These are also one of the popular treatment options for stretch marks (7). Acid peels are used to exfoliate the top layer of your skin to make it smooth.
- Microdermabrasion: This process works well with a combination of other topical treatments like topical tretinoin and PRP (platelet-rich plasma)(8).
- Collagen Injections: This is a popular treatment option for improving the appearance of scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, and fine lines. This cosmetic procedure is done by injecting collagen right under your skin.
- Radiofrequency: This technique also uses lasers to treat stretch marks and is found to be quite effective (9).
- Topical Ointments: The doctor may also prescribe topical ointments containing emollients and acids, such as collagen-based creams or gels, creams containing hyaluronic acid, ascorbic acid, glycolic acid, and retinoic acid, etc.
While prevention methods and proper medical treatment are crucial, you also need to stay healthy. Follow a well-balanced diet, exercise, and take care of your skin.
Also, remember that stretch marks on the breasts are common. You do not have to feel embarrassed if you have them. They are not a threat to your health, so you may also choose not to go for any stretch mark reduction treatment.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Can you get rid of stretch marks on the breasts?
You may reduce their appearance, but it is impossible to erase them completely.
Do puberty stretch marks go away?
They usually fade with time.
- Osman, Hibah, et al. “Risk factors for the development of striae gravidarum.” American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 196.1 (2007): 62-e1.
- Basile, Filipe Volpe, Arthur Volpe Basile, and Antonio Roberto Basile. “Striae distensae after breast augmentation.” Aesthetic plastic surgery 36.4 (2012): 894-900.
- Singh, Gurcharan, and Lekshmi P. Kumar. “Striae distensae.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology 71.5 (2005): 370.
- Timur Taşhan, Sermin, and Ayşe Kafkasli. “The effect of bitter almond oil and massaging on striae gravidarum in primiparaous women.” Journal of clinical nursing 21.11‐12 (2012): 1570-1576.
- Rawlings, A. V., S. Bielfeldt, and K. J. Lombard. “A review of the effects of moisturizers on the appearance of scars and striae.” International journal of cosmetic science 34.6 (2012): 519-524.
- Wollina, Uwe, and Alberto Goldman. “Management of stretch marks (with a focus on striae rubrae).” Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery 10.3 (2017): 124.
- Ud‐Din, S., D. McGeorge, and A. Bayat. “Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae.” Journal of the European academy of dermatology and venereology 30.2 (2016): 211-222.
- Ibrahim, Zeinab Abd El‐Samad, et al. “Comparison between the efficacy and safety of platelet‐rich plasma vs. microdermabrasion in the treatment of striae distensae: clinical and histopathological study.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 14.4 (2015): 336-346.
- SUH, DONG‐HYE, et al. “Radiofrequency and 585‐nm pulsed dye laser treatment of striae distensae: a report of 37 Asian patients.” Dermatologic surgery 33.1 (2007): 29-34.
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