Stretch marks are often red or purple at first, before gradually fading to a silvery-white colour. They are usually 1-10mm wide and are a few centimetres long.

Stretch marks occur in the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) when the skin is stretched considerably over a short period of time. The rapid stretching causes the dermis to break in places and allow the deeper layers of the skin to show through, forming stretch marks.

How common are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are very common. Anyone can get them, but they occur more often in women than men. The abdomen (tummy), buttocks and thighs are most commonly affected by stretch marks.

Stretch marks can appear on the skin whenever the skin is stretched as a result of sudden growth. For example, they can appear:

  • during pregnancy
  • as a result of weight gain
  • as a results of growth spurts during puberty

About 9 out of 10 women are affected by stretch marks during pregnancy. Around 7 out of 10 females and 4 out of 10 males develop stretch marks during puberty.

While you can't prevent stretch marks entirely, you can reduce your chances of getting them and improve the appearance of any that do appear.

Will I develop pregnancy stretch marks?

If you are pregnant, it is likely that you will develop stretch marks, particularly from the sixth month or late in the second trimester of your pregnancy.

Hormones that are produced by your body during pregnancy help to soften the ligaments in your pelvis so that they are more flexible when you come to deliver your baby. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect joints. However, these hormones also soften the fibres in your skin, making you prone to stretch marks.

As your baby grows, you may develop stretch marks on your abdomen (tummy) as your skin is gradually stretched further and further. Stretch marks may also appear on your thighs and breasts as they get bigger and heavier.

Although there is no way to get rid of stretch marks completely, you can do a number of things to improve their appearance. Over time, most stretch marks will fade to lines that are pale or flesh-coloured after you've given birth.

How can I help reduce the chance of developing stretch marks?

In order to reduce the likelihood of stretch marks forming in the first place, it's very important to keep the skin well moisturised and supple to ensure it remains as elastic as possible.

Read how Palmer's Stretch Marks Range of lotions, creams and butters can help.

Some of the content was taken from

Is Palmer's Cocoa Butter good for stretch marks?

Palmer's was the first skincare brand to acknowledging and master the use of pure cocoa butter for skin health benefits.

The cream-coloured fat extracted from cacao seeds is one of the most stable and naturally moisturing fats available, it contains unique properties that make it particularly good for the skin. It has long been reputed for its skin softening and smoothing properties but also for its even-toning properties.

Cocoa butter is an excellent natural emollient rich in antioxidants, Vitamin E and polyphenols, which melts at body temperature and is quickly and easily absorbed into the skin. It has been shown  that cocoa butter penetrates deep into the skin, helping it to lock in essential moisture.

With a strong heritage of trusted formulas made of pure cocoa butter, and in response to an overwhelming consumer need, in the late nineties, Palmer's set out to develop a specialist skin care range dedicated to helping women of all ages suffering from stretch marks.

Blending Palmer's "tried and trusted" base of Pure Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E with Collagen and Elastin, Palmer's designed a range that deeply moisturises the skin as well as further supporting the skin's texture and elasticity. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks was Palmer's first official entry into stretch mark care way back in 1995! This Massage Cream gave birth to what would become the No.1 Stretch Mark Brand* less than a decade later.

Today the range comprises an additional two products – Palmer's Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks and Palmer's Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks. The range has recently been enhanced with Bio C-Elaste™ to further boost skin's elasticity and moisture.

Click here to find out more about the Palmer's Stretch Mark Range.

*number one stretch mark brand in the US. IRI 52 weeks unit sales July 2011.

Pregnant woman measuring stomach palmer's cocoa butter stretch mark products Pregnant woman applying cream Stretch mark cream