Are Stretch Marks Hereditary? – Your 7 Most Burning Questions Answered!

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Are stretch marks genetic? We’ve heard so much debate on the subject that we decided we’d write an article that will give you an easy and hopefully definitive answer to this question.

The thing is, wherever you look, you find a different answer. While some say that stretch marks are a genetic predisposition and you can’t do anything about that, others (in particular stretch mark cream manufacturers) will tell you it’s simply not so.

1. Is There A Link Between Genetics and Stretch Marks?

Yes, many doctors and skincare experts have been saying it for years, and now, we have the research that proves it. A study conducted by personal genetics company 23andMe showed that there is a certain link between genetics and stretch marks.

According to this study, the elastin gene that the subjects had inherited from their parents played a significant role in determining whether or not they would get stretch marks.

Elastin is a critical protein that ensures your skin’s elasticity and ability to stretch and accommodate weight gain.

The study found that certain variations in the elastin gene meant the subjects were more or less predisposed to get stretch marks.

So, in layman’s terms, if your mother, aunts, or sisters got stretch marks during their pregnancy, then you are likely to get them, too. This also means you’re more likely to get stretch marks if you take up bodybuilding or doing growth spurts.

2. Speaking of Which, If I Had Stretch Marks as A Teen, Will I Get Them Again During Pregnancy?

Yes, you will. See, the reason behind this is the one we detailed above. Depending on the genes you’ve inherited, you can be more (or less) likely to develop stretch marks.

See, many think that they get pregnancy stretch marks because they got them during puberty as well, but the truth runs more profound than that. You get both puberty and pregnancy stretch marks thanks to the genes you got from your parents. They are both effects of the same cause.

3. Is the Same True for Men?

Yes, this also goes for the men. While the study mentioned above found that men were far less likely to report stretch marks, their predisposition for these streaks is also dictated by genetics. So, if members of your family had them, you’re likely to get them, too.

Though, of course, causes for stretch marks in males differ. While they too can bet stretch marks from bodybuilding, puberty, or rapid weight loss/gain, it’s also possible that stretch marks in males are a sign of certain adrenal diseases, such as Cushing Syndrome.

4. Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks Different from Other Types?

No, they are not. In the medical community, stretch marks are known as striae, and those streaks you get in pregnancy are called striae gravidarum (SG). But other than the name and the origin, they aren’t different in composition from any other type of stretch mark.

Now, the reason why there’s quite a bit of confusion around this is that there are certain stretch mark products out there marketed for pregnancy. So obviously, people tend to assume that they do something different. But that’s not the case.

You see, all those topical creams and products you find at the store that claim to be especially for expecting mothers most likely refer to the safety of the ingredients. Obviously, some elements are dangerous for the baby, while others are not.

But the stretch marks themselves are the same, regardless of how you got them.

5. So, If Stretch Marks Are Hereditary, Can I Prevent Them?

Yes and no. You’ll see many products that claim they can help you prevent stretch marks completely, and we urge you to take this with a grain of salt. Since stretch marks are mainly dictated by your genes, you have little chance of actually preventing them by simply applying some lotion.

However, what these products can do for you is nurture and moisturize your skin. By boosting your skin’s elasticity and moisture barrier, such creams can make it easier for your skin to adapt to the stretching. This, in turn, can make the stretch marks appear less severe.

6. Is There Anything Else I Can Do During Pregnancy to Help My Skin Adapt?

One thing you can do is to lead an energetic, active life. Of course, do so cautiously and with the approval of your doctor. But the thing is, by taking regular exercise, you’re making sure that you’re gaining weight gradually.

This is particularly important if you tend to put on pounds easily because the faster your skin stretches, the worse your stretch marks will be. So, doing your best to keep your weight from booming overnight is one of the smartest things you can do.

7. During Pregnancy, Are There Any Other Factors That Determine If I Get Stretch Marks?

Yes. You’ll be surprised to learn that one of these factors is your age. While it’s great to start a family in your youth, it might make your stretch marks worse.

As we know, young skin is firm and quite taut, which means if it stretches really far, really fast, it risks tearing quite severely.

So, if you’re young, you might get worse stretch marks than someone with more mature, looser skin.

On the other hand, the collagen and elastin production go down as you age, so there are pros and cons to both sides.

To sum things up, yes, stretch marks are hereditary and mostly out of control. However, that shouldn’t mean you lose hope. With the right creams and cosmetic treatments, you can significantly improve the appearance of stretch marks!