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Stretch marks are lines or bands caused by stretching of the skin's connective tissue.
Stretch marks fade to a white or silver color over time. Although they are not physically painful, they can be disfiguring in severe cases.
When the middle layer of skin stretches too quickly, some of its collagen fibers can break.
This allows underlying blood vessels to show through, leaving behind the telltale red or purplish marks.
Over time, they fade to a white or silver color as blood vessels heal. Once they appear, the marks do not usually go away fully.
Stretch marks are not physically painful, but they can affect a person's confidence and self-esteem. They can be disfiguring in severe cases.
Experts have tried for years to find an effective treatment for these marks.
Unfortunately, no treatment has been shown to erase them fully. New ways of treating stretch marks are emerging, however, and some of them show promise.