Learning to love your lines: the real skin beauty movement

Love Your Stretch Marks |The Harley MedicalHave you ever covered up in a one-piece at the beach, danced around ridiculously under a towel so no one would see your body in the changing rooms, or stared enviously at the smooth skin of a woman younger than you are? Let’s be honest – we all have!

It’s not our fault; photoshopped beauty adverts, Instagram filters and a fashion industry that sends 14 year olds down the runway to model women’s clothing are all to blame. We’re youth obsessed.

Enter Love Your Lines, the Instagram account encouraging women to feel differently about their ‘flaws’ using beautiful black and white photography.

 

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are one of those oh-so-frustrating facts of life that will affect most women at one point or another. They’re caused when the skin is stretched too quickly, commonly occurring during pregnancy and puberty – as if you didn’t have enough to deal with during either!

The wiggly pink lines appear because, when the skin is stretched, fibres in the middle layer (the dermis) tear, allowing blood vessels beneath to show through. They fade over time as the blood vessels contract again, leaving a silvery white mark, which is less obvious, though not entirely invisible.

 

Common causes of stretch marks include:

  • Pregnancy – 8 out of 10 women develop stretch marks across their bump during the latter stages of pregnancy. They can also develop on the thighs and hips thanks to baby related weight gain.
  • Puberty – as if you weren’t feeling insecure enough! The sudden growth spurts during puberty can lead to stretch marks. Teenage girls tend to develop them on their breasts, hips and thighs, while boy’s skin on the shoulders and back is more commonly affected.
  • Weight gain – if your weight fluxuates rapidly stretch marks can occur. Similarly, body builders and athletes can suffer from the skin condition as their muscles grow.
  • Genetics – just as we inherit traits like eye colour from our parents, if a close family member had stretch marks you’re more likely to develop them.

 

The trend: #loveyourlines

If anything, it’s more ‘normal’ to have stretch marks at some point than not – so why is there such a beauty stigma attached to them?

Two mothers from the East of England are making it their mission to change our perceptions, with their Instagram account Love Your Lines, which encourages women to share images of their marked skin and celebrate the stories their body has to tell.

“Love your lines is a social media photo campaign to help showcase the beauty of the female body” one of the ladies, who have remained anonymous, explained.

In a little over two weeks the account amassed over 31,000 followers with users rallying to support one another in the anti-perfection beauty movement. Many of the women who have posted images are mothers adjusting to their postpartum bodies, though the pictures and comments have come from women of all ages and backgrounds.

Love Your Stretch Marks |The Harley Medical

Love Your Stretch Marks |The Harley Medical

Love Your Stretch Marks |The Harley Medical

 

 

The verdict

The response to the Love Your Lines page has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s a brilliant body confidence campaign!

A skin condition should never affect your self-esteem and if you are struggling with stretch marks they can be treated effectively with a Stretch Mark Treatment from The Harley Medical Group. As our skin expert Ceri Daly explains:

Stretch marks, also known as straie, are perfectly normal, common in fact, and we fully encourage people to accept them as part of their ever changing body. It's important to remember that they always fade over time, becoming increasingly less noticable.  We do understand, however, that not everyone wants to, or can, accept them as a part of life. At The Harley Medical Group we then recommend using either Bio oil or treating with Dermaroller to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. We have seen some amazing, life changing results for both men and women.

Perhaps it’s most important to remember that the vast majority of women will develop stretch marks at one point in their lives – so don’t feel like the odd one out if you have a few lines to show come bikini season!