HomeQ&A WednesdayQ&A Wednesday: The Stretch Mark Question

Q&A Wednesday: The Stretch Mark Question

I was gonna have to answer this sooner or later…

Q: What happened to your stretch marks? I know you’ve got some.

Q: What’d you do about stretch marks? My daughter is 11 months old and it wasn’t until after I gave birth that I started getting them. I WANT THEM GONE!

Q: I already have tons of stretch marks, and I currently use bio-oil.  I was considering switching to mederma, but i just wanted to know your thoughts about this, and possibly what you used.  Also, did you have a problem with sagging skin or anything along the way?

Q: when u lost the bulk of ur weight did ur skin go back in the stomach area? I have a lot of stretch marks and the dr said it won’t!

Q: My question is… stretchmarks… what are you doing about them or did you have any? Because I have the most inelastic skin, and I get a new stretchmark just thinking about eating, and even while I’m shrinking I feel like the shrinking is make the stretchmark more noticeable.

Q: i am not sure if you ever answered the ladies question about the stretchmarks I would like to know too

Sigh.

I avoid “The Stretch Mark Question” because, really, I don’t care.

That’s right. I said it. I don’t care.

I don’t care if it looks like I-95. I don’t care if it looks like I-65. I don’t care if it looks like I-465. I don’t care if I’m rocking a small version of the Atlanta Metro system across my behind. I just… I don’t care.

When I was in high school, I realized that I had developed stretch marks all alongside my hips. When I was pregnant with my heathen — er, daughter… I developed stretch marks all across the front of my stomach. I looked down at my thighs and realized my stretch marks had extended all alongside the front and sides of my thighs. None across the booty though. The one place no one was really seeing. That’s just great.

When I first really started losing weight, I had the “sagging skin” issue. If you don’t have some grand amount of weight to lose, you might be spared from it. However, if you have a lot to lose? Face facts. You’ll deal with it too. I can remember doing the downward-facing dog pose in yoga and seeing all my skin sagging and feeling pretty sad about it. I even felt, sometimes, like I wanted to give up because I didn’t want to make it worse… especially since I knew I couldn’t afford a surgery to fix up my skin. I just felt like I was screwed.

That “I’m screwed” feeling didn’t overpower the feeling I got from working out, or the peace I felt from yoga, though. It just wasn’t powerful enough. I still got up every morning, participated in my routines and just filed the skin situation in the back of my mind. I was really and truly embarking on a new life that focused on my wellness above all else… even if it was saggy and strange-looking skin.

But then, I started adding strength training to my workouts and began developing muscle. Sure enough, I wasn’t looking like a deflated balloon anymore. I wasn’t as “moldable” as I used to be. I was becoming more solid. And as the time was passing, I was burning fat, developing muscle… and my skin was slowly shrinking.

I wasn’t even paying attention to my skin like that… and I’ll admit it. I’m horrible with my skin. I just didn’t care. I was too excited by all the other developments to notice.

I guess that’s why I’m so annoyed by stretch mark talk. I don’t even understand why this matters. I just.. I don’t. I’m literally throwing my hands up in confusion, here. I mean, I know why I don’t care… because this isn’t a conversation about wellness. It isn’t a conversation about fitness. It’s a conversation about appearances… and I’m no longer someone who cares to impress others with my appearance. No offense to anyone else, but my opinion about me matters sooo much more… and I’m not impressed by a lack of stretch marks (nor am I turned off by their existence.)

I mean, I get it – there are no chicks in lingerie catalogues or on TV rocking it out in their stretch marks. And guys, ohhhh guys hate stretch marks. We all have “The Photoshop Diet” to thank for that.

But really… come on, man. To what degree do these matter? To the point where you’re willing to not begin, give up or let it color your attitude about yourself? I truly hope not.

Can stretch marks fade? Yes. Are they going to go away completely? Don’t bet anything valuable on it. As a matter of fact, depending on your size.. if you decide to go full blast into lifting weights it’s highly likely that you’ll develop stretch marks on the places where your muscles bulge the most!

Can you go on a three-time-a-day moisture routine to try to prevent the marks? Yes. You’re still 2 to 1 that you’ll get them anyway. Can you go on a successful regimen to rid yourself of them? It is highly unlikely that that’d work for everyone. I don’t like uncertainty. Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. So really… I don’t care.

I’m also willing to admit that perhaps I don’t care so much about skin because my skin has actually began trying to tighten up. Had this not been the case, I’d imagine I would still have the same attitude I had in the beginning – “this isn’t enough to make me stop pursuing better health.”

And lastly… I know this is a bit of an arrogant point – and it’s not really my style to talk like this publicly – but I’m just going to put it like this. I used to look like this:

…and a long journey of hard work brought me here:

So yeah, you might see stretch marks… but trust me. It’s not the most important – or even the first – thing you (or any person who likes girls, really) see, there.

Hey… I’m just being honest.

So, in short… prioritize your concerns. Stretch marks should be the last of ’em.

By | 2017-06-10T11:22:51+00:00 October 27th, 2014|Q&A Wednesday|94 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and crtified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because lol why not.

94 Comments

  1. ivypearl September 29, 2010 at 12:47 PM - Reply

    I am soooooo glad you said this. So glad. I too lost some weight and now have a flat stomach AND a few stretch marks. You are right to bring the focus back to the weight/size/healthiness issue.

    It is so not about the stretch marks but about the fact that I am healthier and look dang good in my jeans/dresses/skirts or whatever. People always notice how great I look and no one EVER has anything to say about stretch marks that I may or may not have. And if they did, WHO CARES!!

    Keep up the great posts Erika!

    • Jodi March 20, 2011 at 3:54 PM - Reply

      This website has been sooo inspirational. With that being said, I must say I am quite irked by most of the comments. Stretch marks (as well as cellulite) are an health issue. They are indicators of cellular tissue that have been literally pushed/stretched to their limits! If someone had excessive acne, the condition would be seen as a health concern. Someone wrote to you about skin flaps on her upper arms. After encouraging her, you included the fact that surgeries were out there to help correct excessive skin issues. Whatever the statistics or commonality-stretch marks are concern of many, and despite the resounding “give it up, girl!” attitudes-there are ways to treat and help prevent this condition. Just because you don’t care about her stretch marks doesn’t mean she shouldn’t. If you are only concerned about the health benifits of your weight loss, good for you. Ironically enough, none progressive notes that Erika posted were just statistics- she posted pictures of her beautiful new body!!! Look how healthy (and sexy) I feel!! Don’t make that woman feel silly for being concerned about her skin.

      • Erika Nicole Kendall March 20, 2011 at 4:26 PM - Reply

        I’m confused as to whom you’re referring, but I’ll respond to the overall sentiment.

        Let’s look at this logically.

        How are stretch marks a health issue? What, besides distressed skin, do stretch marks signify? NOTHING. As I said in the post, if your muscle development progresses beyond a certain point? You’ll get MORE stretch marks simply from the growth of muscle DISTRESSING THE SKIN again.

        What ways are there to “treat” this “condition?” In my opinion – and Q&A Wednesday is where MY opinion is solicited – this isn’t a condition. If society didn’t prefer women to look like 14 year old girls with no curves and completely perfect blemish-free skin, NO ONE would be talking about stretch marks. At ALL. You know how I know that? Because MEN get stretch marks all the time and not ONCE do conversations about stretch marks EVER involve them.

        So really, I get it that women feel some kinda way about the fact that their skin is “ruined”… but this website is about MY journey and I share what knowledge and perspective I’ve gained along the way. My personal opinion about this is that its silly, that you CAN moisturize to stave them off and considering how stretch marks don’t signify impending doom or the coming of the apocalypse, you’ll have to just accept them if you get them.

        NO woman should feel silly for being concerned about stretch marks. Be concerned about skin maintenance and know that a fruit/vegetable-filled diet will make skin maintenance a breeze! However. A woman should ABSOLUTELY feel foolish for letting the marks deter her from doing what she needs to do, and THAT is my bottom line.

      • Michalet Clark August 14, 2013 at 1:09 PM - Reply

        I think you misunderstood the post Jodi. The subject was about prioritizing. Concentrating on being healthy is more important than concentrating on whether you will get stretch marks. You may be referring to scars due to muscle tears. That’s a whole other blog.

  2. Crown September 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM - Reply

    You are absolutely, 100% correct on this one. We as woman sometimes need to adjust our priorities. Everyone has them, men and women both; and it’s just a minor side-effect that comes with the territory of being overweight. I think some of us women who are considerably overweight cannot assume that after losing lots of weight our bodies will be exactly the same as someone else’s who has never been overweight. I can accept that and also I accept that I’d so much rather be fit and healthy to be concerned about some ole’ stretch marks. Thanks for putting things into perspective.

  3. lesismore September 29, 2010 at 1:26 PM - Reply

    *slow hand claps…stands and gives full applause*

  4. breezey77 September 29, 2010 at 1:44 PM - Reply

    Love this post! Even skinny people have stretchmarks. I remember having them in high school when I was naturally 5’8″ & 119 lbs.

  5. ChellBellz September 29, 2010 at 2:48 PM - Reply

    As long as that stomach looks like that, i wouldn’t care about stretch marks either. I use to have really dark stretch marks growing up. I had some sort of stomach issue and it would expand a great deal. So by the time i was 10 i had a belly full of them. I started using Cocoa Butter on a daily basic as my lotion and over a years time they became lighter and less noticiable. So to folks out there its not going to happen over night, but pure cocoa butter, and Shea will lighten it up over time

  6. ChellBellz September 29, 2010 at 2:49 PM - Reply

    You should post that skit by Katt Williams about Stretch marks LOL.

    • Dominique February 8, 2012 at 6:13 PM - Reply

      LOL! I was thinking about Katt while reading this! “Girl you look just like a tiger.” !!!!!!!!!!

    • LBrooke February 8, 2012 at 6:28 PM - Reply

      LOL- just looked up the skit on Youtube— so funny!

    • Chatavia August 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM - Reply

      That is EXACTLY what I was thinking…Quite a relief that men really don’t pay the stretch marks any mind. lol.

  7. Crystal September 29, 2010 at 7:46 PM - Reply

    Same here! I have them, I even have a tattoo on my right hip, on the stretch marks. And I don’t care! I lost 40lbs and now have super saggy boobs. And I don’t care! Because overall I am feeling so much better about about myself and way more confident that…I don’t care about my outside!

    So yay! Thanks for saying this out loud!

  8. Nannette Wade September 30, 2010 at 9:08 AM - Reply

    You are an excellent writer. I feel you about so many weight and body issues you address. I’ve learned from you to honor and love myself more and that has made it easier to eat healthier and exercise more. I have a long way to go, but I’ve lost about 30 pounds this year and will get more honest with myself about clean eating so I can continue on my journey. Thanks for having the courage to say the things you do.

  9. Madame: The Journey September 30, 2010 at 9:30 AM - Reply

    I see harping over stretch marks and sagging skin as an acute form of self-sabotage. I’ve heard of individuals who aren’t willing to lose weight simply because their “stretch marks would look uglier,” or “loose skin is more disgusting than fat.” Both should seriously be minuscule concerns, in the grand scope of our HEALTH!

    Also, I don’t think people give the miraculous healing capabilities of our bodies (coupled with the time component) enough credit. Yeah, I have some residual stretch marks, I’ve dealt with (still am) loose skin issues in the midst of weight loss – but I know, it’s not necessarily going to be the final outcome.

    And if a mark here or there is permanent, that’s okay too. It’ll serve as a nice reminder of my progress in this journey!

  10. Ronnie October 1, 2010 at 7:33 PM - Reply

    As a Mom of 3 still battling the baby belly after four years, I consider my stretch marks “battle scars”. Proof I was in the war and won the fight! Great post.

    • lthurm0409 June 28, 2013 at 2:51 PM - Reply

      @ Ronnie- That’s so funny! I’m a mother to a 6 year old and I always say that my stretch marks are battle scars! I went to war and won! I’m glad someone shares my sentiments. On another note, I completely understand the resentiment one feels toward stretch marks. But, I refuse to let them keep me from my life. I’ll wear what I want, when I want. And if anyone has a problem with my stretch marks, then they can deal with it on their own time.

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