What Caused my Stretch Marks?

I am a female in early 20s, no kids. I have stretch marks on my upper arms, lower back, hips, back of my calves and knees. I lost 20% body weight and had a six point drop in my BMI when I was in high school, over about 2-3 months. My dermatologist said I lost significant weight too fast, and this likely caused my stretch marks. He said teens are more vulnerable to stretch marks, and they may be related to hormones. He says they are permanent. Is this true?

Doctor Answers 2


When the skin is stretched by weight gain or rapidly increasing muscles breaks or cracks occur in the components of the skin. This is visible from the outside as stretchmarks. They are permanent. The treatment is either removal of the involved skin or laser or other treatments to make them less visible.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

What causes stretch marks

Your dermatologist is correct:

- Stretch marks form at the time of hormonal changes.  Adolescence, weight gain, pregnancy are all such states. Weight loss doesn't usually produce stretch marks, although it can leave some loose skin.

- Stretch marks are permanent.  There are treatments available to decrease the size and appearance of stretch marks, like pulse dye laser or fractional laser resurfacing on certain areas of the body.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.