Stretch marks are caused by rapid weight gain, with pregnancy and puberty being the most common times for them to occur.
When the body goes through a spurt of growing faster on the inside than the skin on the outside can keep up with, the fibrous and elastic layers deep in the skin stretch and tear. The stretch marks which form in the area are actually scar tissue which forms to heal the tears.
Stretch marks may also appear as a result of certain diseases of hormonal imbalance, such as Cushing's syndrome, and as a side-effect of certain steroid medications, such as prednisone.
Deficiency of zinc has also been associated with the development of stretch marks.
Once a stretch mark has developed, it is permanent - no amount of massage will make it disappear.Avoid putting on weight quickly by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and avoid fatty foods. Drinking around two litres of water per day is also an important part of keeping within your healthy weight range. If you are pregnant consider taking a special multi-vitamin and mineral formula containing zinc to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition for you and your baby.
Consult your healthcare professional if you suddenly develop large numbers of stretch marks - this may be a sign of certain hormonal diseases.
If you are taking steroidal medication and develop stretch marks, these may be side effects of your medicine - consult your healthcare professional for more information.