Researchers don't always agree about what causes stretch marks1, but that hasn't kept people from taking guesses. Here are some myths and facts we do know, to help you sort it all out

Myth: If you have stretch marks, you must be overweight.

Fact: Stretch marks occur when the skin is overstretched. That happens when you gain weight, of course. But it also occurs during pregnancy, rapid growth or any time the skin is stretched too far too quickly.

Myth: Only women get stretch marks.

Fact: Women do get stretch marks more often, but about one in four men (24%)1 get them, too. Boys can also get them when there's rapid growth during puberty, for example. Plus, bodybuilders of either sex can get stretch marks if they build muscle mass too quickly.

Myth: Losing weight will make your stretch marks disappear.

Fact: Unfortunately, losing weight doesn't mean you'll lose the stretch marks. In fact, weight loss can sometimes cause stretch marks to appear more noticeable because the skin becomes looser and less taut.

Myth: You can't do anything about stretch marks.

Fact: You can. Increasing the moisture content of skin keeps it more elastic and less apt to tear and form stretch marks, even during pregnancy. Plus, if they do appear, research has shown that certain products and treatments can improve how they look and feel. Mederma® scar gel can both help prevent stretch marks1 and improve the appearance of existing stretch marks. . For expecting moms, it may be used beginning in the second trimester and while breastfeeding.

Myth: There's no need to take care of stretch marks.

Fact: This might be the biggest myth. It is true that stretch marks rarely cause medical problems. But for some people, they cause embarrassment and distress3. That's why dermatologists (doctors who specialize in skin conditions) and researchers have worked hard to find ways to treat them.


1. Mederma® scar gel is clinically shown to increase the moisture content of the skin, thereby helping to keep skin more elastic and less apt to tear and form stretch marks.

2. 2011 Survey Conducted by Merz North America, Inc.

3. Striae Distensae (Stretch Marks) and Different Modalities of Therapy: An Update, Dermatologic Surgery, April 2009.