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Tiger stripes: Stretch mark and self confidence

Tiger stripes: Stretch mark and self confidence

Tiger stripe is another name for stretch mark. Stretch marks are long, narrow streaks, stripes, or lines that develop on the skin. They occur when the skin is suddenly stretched and are extremely common.

As much as many women try to prevent and reduce stretch marks, sometimes they just cannot be controlled. They are formed due to tears in the dermis layer of your skin which can be caused by teenage growth spurts, pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, and hormonal changes. Genetics can also play a part in whether you get stretch marks. 

🎶She just wants to be, beautiful

She goes, unnoticed she knows, no limits

She craves, attention she praises, an image

She prays to be, sculpted by the sculptor🎶

I was vibing to Alessia Carla’s scars to your beautiful’ as I go down memory lane…

“Oh no! When did this happen?”, I asked myself as I looked at the curled mark that just appeared on my arm. A stretch mark, it looked like it had just started forming. I found it very irritating and hated that it started appearing on my arm. That just means I’d have to start covering up. This isn’t my first, I have stretch mark all over my bum, my boobs, hips and leg. 

It’s almost everywhere. I was still in high school when I got my first stretch mark. Immediately I thought it was something bad because of the reactions I received. One of my classmates said it looked like a tiger’s stripe. That made me feel so insecure I had to start covering up. 

I was not a fan of my stripes, not because I had a thing against it, but because I believed it was abnormal. As a teenager, I did not understand that what I saw on television and in magazines is an airbrushed image of beauty, that is marketed so that consumers are tricked into buying the advertised products. All I knew was that there were these gorgeous models with flawless skin and it would never be me.  I learnt to accept it and also learnt to be comfortable with it because just like every other change that occurs to a woman is considered natural so is our stripes. 

Stretch marks can impact any woman’s confidence. Most women see their stripes as a hindrance, making them disappear is the next thing to do because they see it as an imperfection. Nobody is confident or happy with their imperfections. 

In a survey I conducted about women’s insecurity with stretch mark, one student said: “I hate my stretch mark, It makes me feel disgusted. It just serves as a reminder of how big I am” while another said “I like it, I find it very sexy. It made me realize how beautiful a woman’s body is”. 

Myths about stretch marks 

1. Thin people don’t get stretch mark

There is a misconception that thin people don’t get stretch marks, which is entirely false! People of all weight ranges deal with stretch marks for different reasons. Physical transitions like puberty, growth spurts and even significant weight loss can all induce stretch marks, affecting people of all sizes.

2. Only women can get stretch marks

Of course, a pregnant tummy can lead to stretch marks. So can other fast changes in your body shape, but men can get them as well. Body-building may cause stretch marks.

3. Stretch marks disappear with weight loss

Since weight gain can cause the development of stretch marks, many people expect that losing weight will eliminate them. However, that is a stretch mark myth that many people succumb to. The loss of weight cannot undo the damage sustained by the dermis layer of the skin.

Practical ways to be confident about your stripes

1. View your beautiful stripes with a different lens

 Look at it from a different view. Aren’t these stretch marks a trace of successes? Don’t they tell your stories? For example, did you get your stripes from pregnancy? That’s a beautiful thing. If you got streaks from too much weight gain, be proud because for years you have been celebrating and enjoying life, or that you have been coping from stress. You have to learn to embrace yourself with your imperfections because they are a part of you. There’s no makeup or filter that could fake and hide your insecurities, but your own feeling of security about yourself. 

2. Treat your stretch marks.

 There are treatments to stretch marks, but you have to be patient as results may not be visible right away. However, the mere fact that you are doing something to lessen the visibility of your stripes can already give a feeling of security knowing that you are anticipating for some good changes around the affected areas. There are home remedies that you could try using. 

3. Defining your personal beauty standard

One thing about beauty standards is that we have a choice. They are made up by people like you and I,which means we don’t have to listen. More than just not listening, however, there is a choice to define your own beauty standards—where you get to choose what is beautiful and comfortable to you based on your individual preferences and unique interpretations of beauty without having to worry about it fitting into any expectations.

🎶But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark

You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are

And you don’t have to change a thing

The world could change its heart

No scars to your beautiful🎶

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