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Chrissy Teigen has become a go-to source for keeping it real during and after pregnancy—and a recent Snapchat from the model, cookbook author, and mom to 4-month-old Luna is no exception. In it, Teigen shows a photo and video of her stretch marks with the caption, “LOL my thighs have tributaries,” aka “[streams that flow] into a larger stream or river or into a lake,” according to Merriam-Webster.
Kudos to Teigen for delivering the refreshing evidence that even supermodels can get stretch marks, which occur due to the skin stretching during growth spurts, weight gain, or weight loss. It’s no surprise that pregnancy is a prime time for these marks to appear. “Almost all women develop some stretch marks during pregnancy,” Gary Goldenberg, M.D., medical director of the Dermatology Faculty Practice at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF, also noting that “stretch marks can occur during any period of weight gain or loss.”
In fact, a 2015 study in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology found that will develop stretch marks on either their abdomen, hips and thighs, and/or breasts, , M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and president and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Inc., tells SELF.
Here’s the kicker: While stretch marks usually occur in areas that are stretched the most (like a woman’s belly during pregnancy), some may pop up in areas where little stretching occurs, like your thighs, says Goldenberg. Exhibit A: Teigen’s Snapchat photo of the stretch marks on her own thighs, which you can check out below.
Snapchat / Chrissy Teigen
Genetics may be at play when it comes to stretch marks, which can explain why some women get more of them than others regardless of how much weight they gain or lose. “This may have to do with the ‘stretchability’ of elastic and collagen fibers one inherits and their ability to snap back into place,” Goldenberg says.
Goldenberg tells his patients that, if they’re predisposed genetically, they’re likely to get stretch marks, but using moisturizers like cocoa butter and organic vitamin E oil can help lower the odds of getting them during pregnancy or at least minimize their appearance.
However, the rate of weight gain during pregnancy can play a role, New York City dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., author of the upcoming book Skinfluence, tells SELF. While weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to try to gain it at a healthy, even pace, if possible, she says. That said, Day notes that “it’s hard to control that,” especially in your third trimester, when you tend to gain the most weight quickly.
But Lance Brown, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with offices in New York City and East Hampton, New York, tells SELF that everyone is different, and your body and skin may handle the weight gain that comes with pregnancy differently than others. His advice: Stay fit and exercise during your pregnancy (provided you feel good), and keep your skin moisturized.
While stretch marks happen—even to supermodels—it may be possible to minimize their appearance or even get rid of them through dermatologic procedures like Fraxel laser or platelet-rich plasma treatments. “Both help stimulate collagen growth and may decrease the appearance of stretch marks,” Goldenberg says.
But no matter what, if you find that you have stretch marks, don’t freak out. They can fade over time, says Goldenberg. And even if they don’t, just like cellulite, they’re totally normal, and Teigen is excellent proof that you’re in good company.
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