A woman holding a magnifying glass to show her stretch marks

As the idea of beauty shifts to being more inclusive, we begin to see what were once considered as “flaws” for what they really are: beautiful parts that comprise a beautiful whole. Stretch marks are among many so-called imperfections that many have obsessed over in the past. Now, with the shifting of beauty ideals and values, more women are embracing stretch marks, even celebrating them, for the world to see. In this article, we list the things that make stretch marks inherently beautiful.

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks, sometimes referred to as “tiger stripes,” but in medical terms called “striae,” are a form of skin scarring. They are characterized by indented streaks in pink, blue, red, black, purple, or flesh-tones, and commonly appear on the stomach, buttocks, breasts, thighs, and hips.

Some stretch marks cover large areas of the body, while others can be more isolated, such as when they appear near the . These marks are not a health risk, however, like the rest of the skin, you can give them some TLC to keep your skin nourished. Like many scars, they may not completely disappear, but they can fade in time.

What Causes Stretch Marks?

As the term suggests, stretch marks happen when the skin is stretched. The severity of their appearance depends on various factors, including genetics and the amount of stress on the skin. Some women are more predisposed to getting stretch marks because of certain factors, which include genetics, getting pregnant younger, growth spurts in puberty, rapid weight gain or weight loss, having breast augmentation, rapid muscle growth, and using corticosteroids.

Can Stretch Marks Be Prevented?

Before we get to the things that make your stretch marks beautiful, you should know that there are ways to prevent or address stretch marks if you feel that you should. Embracing so-called imperfections is not an absolute thing, and different people can approach this in different ways. You do you. 

According to a new research, ingredients such as or Centella asiatica, an herb that contains hyaluronic acid, may help prevent stretch marks by keeping the for optimum tissue repair. Another product that can help prevent stretch marks is Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, which helps lock moisture in the skin, which in turn helps skin maintain elasticity. It restores dry and damaged skin cells by sealing in moisture to help the cell renewal process.

What Makes Your Stretch Marks Beautiful?

Stretch marks are scars that are unique to you and the many life-changing, body-altering experiences you successfully overcome. Here are 5 reasons to celebrate your stretch marks.

They represent your growth. 

Ever heard of the phrase “earn your stripes”? Think of your stretch marks as a badge of honor — they are reminders of hardships that you have overcome, or simply a symbol of the gift of being alive, and how our bodies continue to shift and change in a lifetime. 

They are a symbol of strength.

You carried another human being in your belly — that’s badass! The marks that you’ve developed along the way are sweet reminders of how your little human was once a part of your body, sharing your oxygen. Think of them as reminders that say, “I was here! And now I’m alive because of you.”

They are marks of a life lived. 

Stretch marks are scars that represent your personal journey. No one has the exact same pattern of lines on their hips, tummy, or breasts. You may have overcome a certain illness that caused your weight to fluctuate dramatically, leaving marks all over your body. You may have chosen to get breast implants and developed stretch marks over time. These events empower you to become better — stretch marks are scars; the worst part is over. 

They are fascinating and sexy.

There's nothing sexier than a woman who is confident in her own skin. Stretch marks have a certain sexiness about them. They are indications of feminine power. They are mysterious — telling a story without words and describing a journey, a map that is semi-permanently etched on our skin. 

They were never ugly, anyway!

Idealized beauty standards are not based on reality. They are promoted through airbrushed images of women who are presented as unrealistically beautiful, yet aspirational, making us yearn and strive for an ideal that is physically unattainable. Your stretch marks were never ugly.

Stretch marks are symbols of your unique journey. It’s high time we celebrate them.