Why Do Old Stretch Marks Itch?

By Jenny Seyfried

Stretching

Pregnant woman putting cream on her belly
credit: Maya23K/iStock/GettyImages

Stretch marks result from skin stretching significantly over a short period of time. Stretch marks are actually tears in the dermis layer of skin. The dermis layer is below the epidermis, which is the topmost layer of skin, and is far less elastic than the epidermis, which makes it more prone to tearing.

Damage Repairing

When the dermis tears, nerves can also be harmed. After the dermis tears, the body will begin to heal, which can take several years. As the skin heals, the damaged nerves are stimulated. When these nerves are stimulated, they cause an itchy sensation. Because healing can take such a long time, the itchiness that accompanies mending nerves can also last long after the stretch marks were formed.

Dryness

When your skin dries out, the skin over stretch marks might become itchy. Topical treatments such as moisturizing lotions and creams can be a great reliever of stress marks. Some recommend coconut butter, olive oil and almond oil to soothe stretch marks. While those can help, keeping your whole body hydrated is the most effective way to ensure your skin stays hydrated. In general, people need about eight glasses of water, but much of the water a person needs is consumed through food and other beverages, which also counts into that essential total.

Pregnancy Effects

Stretch marks can be itchy even after pregnancy. In fact, many women's stretch marks don't itch until after they have had their babies. Women can develop rashes or skin conditions as a result of having their skin stretched during the latter part of their pregnancy and should consult their physician if a rash appears.