Stretch marks are a common phenomenon that happens as your skin responds to a variety of factors. Most people are familiar with stretch marks on the breasts because a lot of us get them. They mostly look like stripes or streaks as a result of the skin getting stretched, and you can get them on a lot of areas on your body apart from your breasts.
Usually, when they appear fresh, they are pinkish or light purple in colour, fading to a paler shade that is more like your skin tone.
Why do stretch marks appear on breasts?
Stretch marks can appear on the breasts when the skin and the collagen fibre present on the breasts get stretched. The severity of their appearance can depend on a lot of factors like your cortisol levels, how long your skin is getting stretched for and at what intensity and, of course, your genetic predisposition.
Commonly, stretch marks appear due to a variety of reasons like:
- Puberty - During puberty, your body undergoes hormonal changes that trigger the rapid growth of breast tissue, making your skin stretch. As the skin becomes thinner due to the stretch, your breasts can get stretch marks. It’s a totally normal part of puberty for many girls.
- Weight gain and loss - When gaining weight, your breasts increase in size, making stretch marks appear. During weight loss, your skin loses collagen which can decrease skin elasticity, again leading to stretch marks.
- Pregnancy - Pregnancy leads to a rise in estrogen levels, which can trigger the growth of breasts and the milk ducts within. In about 6 weeks into pregnancy, your breasts will start to grow, which is very common. The quick growth will probably lead to stretch marks.
- Genetics - If your parents are prone to stretch marks, it is highly likely that you will also develop them.
- Breast enhancement surgery - If you underwent breast augmentation surgeries or have implants, you may have stretch marks. The bigger you make your breasts, the more prone to stretch marks you become.
- Dehydration - Dehydration can reduce your skin elasticity and cause red lines or marks to appear on your breasts.
Hormonal imbalance - Birth control pills can sometimes trigger hormonal changes in your body, which can end up giving you stretch marks. Also, hormonal imbalances can lead to diseases like Cushing’s syndrome (where your body produces too much cortisol). This can give you stretch marks that are reddish or purplish in colour.
What are the different types of stretch marks on breasts?
Stretch marks are categorized based on their duration and cause, and the different types can include:
- Striae atrophica - These common stretch marks are caused by the elastin or collagen components in the skin breaking down.
- Vergetures - Resembling whip lashes, these stretch marks have a specific pattern and are usually long.
- Striae gravidarum - These are the stretch marks that occur during pregnancy.
Striae distensae - These are the puberty-related stretch marks that involve linear lines that resemble stripes.
How can you prevent stretch marks on your breasts?
Even though stretch marks are completely natural and harmless, you may want to minimize them for aesthetic reasons. While it is difficult to prevent them completely, you can do certain things to make them less obvious:
- Weight maintenance - Exercise daily to maintain a healthy weight, which can decrease your chances of getting stretch marks.
- Diet - Eat a well-balanced diet that is especially rich in Vitamins C, D, E, zinc and proteins. This will maintain your skin health and make you less prone to stretch marks.
- Topical products - Use topical creams and oils on your breasts that are targeted to prevent or cure stretch marks. This becomes especially important during pregnancy, so speak to your doctor to get a prescription for one that’s suitable for you.
Hydration - Drink adequate water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated, which can prevent stretch marks to an extent.
Are there any treatment options?
There are quite a few remedies that you can look into in order to lighten your stretch marks and reduce their visibility, which include:
- Breast massages - Massaging your breasts can help improve blood circulation and boost collagen production. This can help you in fading your stretch marks to quite an extent. You can also use creams or oils used to treat stretch marks during the massage sessions.
- Exfoliation - Use a mild exfoliating scrub, with or without a brush, to gently remove dead skin cells and boost collagen production in your breasts. While scrubbing, do so in an upward or circular motion and do this every other day to see results. Once you are done scrubbing, it’s very important to remember to moisturize.
- Topical creams and oils - You can buy OTC creams and oils to apply to your stretch marks. They are designed to fade scars and improve skin elasticity, so find one that works for you.
- Medical treatments - In case you have tried everything and your stretch marks are still not going, you can try out some medical treatments like laser therapy, microdermabrasion techniques or cosmetic surgery to make them fade. There are even acid peel treatments available that you can look into. They work by removing the top layer of the skin to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.