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Stretch marks can affect just about anyone, from teenagers, to pregnant women, to men with intense weight lifting routines. The scar-like marks on the skin can have many causes; sometimes they're preventable but, more often, they're not. Although some people might find stretch marks unsightly, they're nothing to be ashamed of -- they're completely normal and common. Best of all, they're not harmful and, while they never disappear completely, they often become less noticeable over time.

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1. What are Stretch Marks?

A stretch mark is a scar that forms when the skin stretches quickly. This sudden change ruptures the collagen and elastin that supports the skin. The damage heals, and the scarring appears as stretch marks. While stretch marks aren't painful or harmful, they can itch periodically and some people don't like the way they look.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.