Stretch marks are a grim, all-too-common occurrence for a person who has gone through a period of rapid weight gain. This can happen during periods of stress -- when comfort food replaces normal eating patterns -- during pregnancy or even during puberty. The good news is they're painless, but the bad news is they're rather unsightly. Stretch marks happen when skin stretches too quickly and separates collagen from the skin, which serves to connect and support skin structure. These marks tend to pop up around the breasts, stomach, hips and buttocks. Over time, the skin can repair itself and stretch marks will fade, but that doesn't help you prepare for this year's bathing suit season.
Skin is naturally elastic, but not all skin is created equal. While there are things you can do to minimize the occurrence of stretch marks during weight fluctuations, a lot of it is based on the same thing that gave you your prominent cheekbones and full lips -- your genes. Well-hydrated skin is more resistant to stretch marks, so if you're naturally prone to dry skin, it may be a bit of a battle. Topical moisturizers may help, but there's simply no guarantee. So, if your gene pool has its merits, but skin elasticity isn't one of them, have no fear; there are ways you can camouflage stretch marks with makeup. Read on for tips and tricks that will allow you to confidently bare more skin at the beach.