Why do women get more stretch marks than men?

The appearance of stretch marks is usually a great cause for concern from an aesthetic point of view especially among women.

Stretch marks appear between approximately 27% and 35% of adolescents (between 10 and 16 years old), and are 2.5 times more frequent in women than in men.

The main causes of the appearance of stretch marks are related to hormonal aspects that have an impact on the skin. During puberty there are a series of changes in the secretion of hormones, which will promote the development of secondary sexual characteristics and which can cause stretch marks in 58% of adolescent girls.

During pregnancy, stretch marks can appear in 75 - 95% of women due to hormonal changes and the relaxing of the tissues, if preventive measures are not taken. This is more common during first pregnancies, which is the first time that the skin and the woman's body face the changes in the body that are caused by the pregnancy.


Hormones and stretch marks 

Two types of hormones fundamentally influence the formation of stretch marks: adrenal cortical hormones such as cortisol and oestrogens. We’ll focus on oestrogens because they are the biggest influencers of stretch marks among women.

There are stages in a woman's life in which there is an increase in estrogenic production in a relatively short time: puberty, pregnancy, weight gain.

Oestrogens cause:

  • Increased retention of liquids and mineral salts in the tissues, producing a greater volume, which can cause greater tension in the skin.
  • They facilitate the weakening of the supporting cutaneous structures, such as elastin and collagen fibres.

These two factors cause the skin to be subjected to more tension and can end up giving way, especially at times when it must facilitate body growth which can occur during pregnancy in areas such as the abdomen, hips or breasts.

Oestrogens have these functions because they facilitate the functioning of female physiology at various levels. These effects are linked to oestrogen that are secreted internally, physiologically, but can also via external ingestion in the form of drugs as in the case of some therapies or with the use of oral contraceptives.

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