Do Stretch Marks Hurt? Your guide to Itchy and Painful Stretch Marks

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A lot of people worry about stretch marks hurting, when they first hear about them. And the people who aren’t worried about the appearance are almost always scared of the pain.

We hope to answer all your questions regarding stretch marks and pain with this article.

Can Stretch Marks Really Hurt, Or Is It Just A Myth?

While many sources say that stretch marks itch rather than actually hurt, we feel the answer lies somewhere in between. Many people who suffer from stretch marks complain about them being very painful, especially in the beginning.

It’s important to remember that stretch marks happen when your skin is stretched beyond its limit by rapid weight gain. They are small tears that occur on your skin’s mid-layer, the dermis. And as such, it stands to reason that stretch marks are painful, to a certain extent.

They are, after all, wounds. And so, it’s not uncommon to experience a sense of burning or a pinching sensation in your stretch marks, doctors say. Depending on their location, they can be more or less hurtful. For example, stretch marks on the legs can be especially painful while you’re moving.

But more often than not, stretch marks tend to be itchy, rather than painful. That’s because your skin lacks moisture and is struggling to accommodate under the growing weight.

Painful Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

As your pregnancy develops, your skin becomes more sensitive as a result. And so, it’s not uncommon to experience painful stretch marks or heightened pain because your skin is more sensitive than usual.

However, there is no reason why pregnancy stretch marks should differ significantly from other types. And again, the complaint we most often hear from pregnant women is rather that their stretch marks are itchy.

Now, the itchiness is a whole new can of worms, as we’ll presently see.

Is It Bad If My Stretch Marks Itch?

In itself, no. Many worry that their stretch marks being itchy is a sign of an underlying problem. But more often than not, it’s just your skin struggling to accommodate and should not give you cause for concern.

However, itchy stretch marks can lead to many other problems. As your skin itches, you are naturally tempted to scratch, which can cause many problems.

  • First of all, scratching tears the skin further and will enhance the pain of the stretch marks.
  • Second of all, angrily scratching your stretch marks can open the skin and pave the way to irritation. By scratching, you might cause bleeding and allow dirt and bacteria to penetrate the skin, which will make it even harder for your skin to heal.

So here are a few tips for managing itchy stretch marks:

  • Trim your nails short, so that you won’t be able to cause as much damage when you scratch, but still provide some relief;
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing, because the fabric rubbing on the skin can often accentuate the itch;
  • Purchase an itch-relieving topical cream, and apply it whenever you feel your stretch marks are driving you up the wall. Many stretch mark creams are specially designed to also relieve itchiness. However, stay away from corticosteroid creams, as these can cause addiction and might make the stretch marks worse.

What Can I Do to Keep the Pain Under Control?

If you do experience pain with your stretch marks, try using a soothing cream or salve. Also, you should look into applying tretinoin cream (only helpful in early stages of stretch marks). This vitamin-A based cream helps boost collagen production and thus speed up the healing process, as well as soothes uncomfortable skin and provides some pain relief.

Tretinoin is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, however, so make sure you consult with your doctor before using it.

Another way to manage stretch mark pain is by applying cool water or ice packs to the area. These may also be useful in relieving inflammation and redness.

Aloe Vera should also be one of your go-to remedies for stretch mark pain. It’s well known for the relief it provides. It’s used to soothe redness, sunburn, and other skin issues and works well on stretch marks. It’s a double win because it also encourages skin cell regeneration and healing. It’s great for hydrating the skin, as well.

Should I See A Doctor?

Not really. Unless you’re experiencing other symptoms, such as hot, inflamed skin around the stretch marks or fever (which can indicate infection), then pain and itchiness with your stretch marks is fairly typical in the early stages and does not require the attention of a professional.

However, if you have any worries, feel free to give your doctor a call and inquire about these unpleasant little tears.