During pregnancy, stretch marks are sort of inevitable. Yes, about 90 percent of expectant mamas get them. But even though they're common, there's still a lot of misinformation out there about stretch marks, from what causes them to how to get rid of them. Before you lose any more sleep over stretch marks, here are the six biggest myths and misconceptions. Once you know the truth, you'll see that you can relax, because there's not much you can do about stretch marks, anyway.
Stretch marks only happen on your belly
The belly is the most common area, but stretch marks can happen anywhere the skin expands—that means your breasts, your thighs, your butt, and your upper arms are all potential targets.
There's nothing you can do about stretch marks
It's not exactly true that there's nothing you can do about stretch marks. You can work to keep your skin healthy down to its innermost layer, by drinking water, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet. Beyond that, though, any methods of preventing stretch marks are pretty unproven.
- If you're thin or you don't gain much weight, you won't get stretch marks
No matter how teeny-tiny you were before your pregnancy, your risk for stretch marks is determined by genetics and hormones. Stretch marks have little to do with obesity; they have everything to do with rapid skin stretching, such as during puberty or pregnancy.
- Stretch marks go away when you lose the weight
Stretch marks are scars. They're here to stay. Even if you have a post-partum body like Heidi Klum, you'll still have the marks. (Odds are good that she has them, too!)
- Tanning makes stretch marks fade
Since stretch marks are scars, they don't have the same response to the sun as regular skin does. In fact, you should be extra-careful to cover them with sunscreen—sunburned stretch marks are painful!
- You'll look like this forever
Stretch marks really do fade. Honest! After time, they will fade to a light silvery color and be much less noticeable. You'll be so wrapped up in new motherhood, it'll happen before you know it.