Stretch Marks

Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on March 19, 2021

If you develop red, pink, or brown streaks on your belly and breasts during pregnancy, you're not alone. Almost all pregnant women get stretch marks on their breasts, abdomen, butt, or thighs by the second half of pregnancy. Stretch marks develop when your skin stretches quickly to support your growing baby. This can cause tears in the tissue just below your skin. You can't really prevent stretch marks or make them go away. Most will fade slowly to less noticeable silver or white marks after your baby is born.

Call Doctor If:

You want to use an over-the-counter cream, lotion, or oil to prevent or reduce stretch marks. None are proven to work, and they may not be safe during pregnancy.

Step-by-Step Care:

  • Use a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and reduce itchiness.
  • Apply a sunless tanning lotion to hide the marks if they bother you.

Show Sources


American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "FAQ: Skin Conditions During Pregnancy."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health: "Pregnancy: Body Changes and Discomforts."

American Academy of Dermatologists: "Mom and Baby Skin Care."

March of Dimes: "Your Pregnant Body: Skin Changes."

MedicineNet: "Skin Conditions: Stretch Marks."

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