According to a Kids Health article, stretch marks produce when the skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching. They are a natural phenomena that happens over time to everyone, no matter what shape or size you are, and there’s really no stopping them from appearing. If this is the case, why are they made to be such a big deal when they appear?
Michigan State dietetics junior Valerie Wolfe said she thinks stretch marks are seen as a negative trait due to society’s views on beauty.
“I remember as a kid, I felt so self conscious of my stretch marks because all of my friends were skinny and didn’t have any,” Wolfe said. “It took until almost around college to realize that they’re pretty natural and anyone can get them.”
The drive to get rid of stretch marks at all costs has gone so far that drug stores even have creams available that are marketed to help get rid of them. These creams include Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy and many more.
Michigan State applied engineering junior Diana Bucan used to own her own stretch mark cream, but eventually threw it out and said they should not even be offered to consumers.
“All these creams are doing is feeding off of insecurities and giving companies more power and opportunity to use those insecurities as a means of making money,” Bucan said.
Stretch mark creams aren’t the only beauty enhancements that work as trying to, essentially, hide natural beauty. Other types could include lip injections, breast implants, vast amounts of makeup products, hair extensions, etc.
Wolfe said enhancements such as these can sometimes lead to people getting too carried away.
“I love wearing makeup for certain events, but it’s hard to get out of the mindset that it’s a necessity,” Wolfe said. “We all have our insecurities, and things like makeup and hair products just allow us to ignore them.”
So what’s the solution to having these types of products available to the public? Should they be on the market or should society start accepting their flaws for what they are?
Bucan said people should be able to have the choice in using whatever products make them feel better about themselves, but at the same time, beauty enhancers will always be seen as extremely controversial.
“People should be empowered by being able to do what they want with their bodies,” Bucan said. “But at the end of the day, beauty standards in general are what need to be fixed, in terms of making implications that things like stretch marks are ‘bad.’”