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Stretch marks are caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just under the skin. The skin on your belly and breasts may become streaked with reddish brown, purple, or dark brown marks, depending on your skin color. Some women also get them on their buttocks, thighs, and hips.

There are no proven remedies that keep stretch marks from appearing or that make them go away. Keeping your belly well moisturized as it grows may reduce itching. After your baby is born, some of these streaks may slowly fade in color.

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Published: October 2020

Last reviewed: October 2020

Copyright 2020 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Read copyright and permissions information.

This information is designed as an educational aid to patients and sets forth current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care, nor does it comprise all proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for a treating clinician’s independent professional judgment. Read ACOG’s complete disclaimer.