Stretch marks on breasts: Reasons, 4 treatment tips & prevention

Heather Campbell
 min read

Stretch marks on breasts can appear just like anywhere else our skin is subjected to too much tension.

Stretch marks on breasts: Reasons, 4 treatment tips & preventionStretch marks are traces of strong and sudden stretching of fibers in the dermis, the middle skin layer, beyond their resistance capacity. Stretch marks on breasts can appear especially during puberty, pregnancy and breastfeeding, but their appearance is not limited to these periods.

Read on for the reasons we get stretch marks, also on our breasts, and what we can do about them.

Stretch marks on breasts: Introduction

Like the thighs, stomach and hips, the breasts are at risk for stretch marks. And some periods are particularly critical.

Do you know what stretch marks are? They are the traces of a too strong and/or sudden stretching of the fibers of the middle dermis, beyond their capacities of resistance.

And in particular, collagen fibers are the main creator of the strength and suppleness of our skin.

For stretch marks to appear on the breasts two conditions must be met:

  • Skin fragility: Linked to skin aging, to our lifestyle or, very often, to hormonal changes because skin and hormones are intimately linked, especially via our cortisol. When this steroid hormone skyrockets under the influence of stress, free radicals or sex hormones, the fibroblasts responsible for producing our collagen no longer follow.
  • A modification of our physical measurements due to weight gain, volume (e.g. pregnancy) and size (when growing).

Thus, as on the rest of the body, depending on your skin type and lifestyle, weight variations can lead to stretch marks on your breasts’ thin and fragile epidermis (be careful in case of breast implant placement or removal).

Corticosteroid treatments, hormonal contraception and certain diseases that alter your hormonal balance can also promote stretch marks on the breasts.

Stretch marks on breasts: Particularly exposed periods

Our breasts are particularly prone to stretch marks at certain times in our lives:

At puberty

When breast development is rapid, vertical stretch marks above and below the breast, and obliques between nipple and armpit are not uncommon.

During pregnancy

Hormones kick in early to prepare for breastfeeding, and swollen breasts are often the first tangible sign of a budding pregnancy.

Everything is ready by the fourth month of pregnancy and takes up space:

  • An increase in blood flow
  • Development of milk-producing cells and a network of ducts
  • Stimulation of the mammary glands

All this under a skin weakened by our hormones that boost our cortisol, necessary for the development of the fetus, to the detriment of our collagen.

Related post: Stress and your skin: How cortisol affects skin health

During breastfeeding

In the adventure of motherhood our breasts can grow up to three cups.

Until autocrine (or automatic) lactation, it’s an endurance test for your breasts.

They swell to hypertension, deflate, re-inflate, etc.

Stretch marks on the breasts are not systematic, however.

It all depends on the structure of your mammary glands, your skin which is more or less fine, dry, rich in collagen, etc. Genetics also play a key role.

Treating stretch marks on breasts like any other stretch mark

Stretch marks on your breasts are common so you shouldn’t expect to be able to avoid them altogether.

However, prevention against them is not a waste of time. As with all stretch marks, it is possible to act with realistic expectations.

Daily care for stronger breasts against stretch marks

A strong, nourished and moisturized skin is more resistant to stretch marks. This includes:

Healthy living

Try to limit the sources of free radicals.

Manage your stress through sleep, aromatherapy, yoga, and sports, avoid tobacco and limit alcohol.

Protect your bust with good sun protection as soon as the weather gets nice.

Food intake

Drink a lot of water and eat collagen-friendly foods such as:

  • good fats (omega-3 and omega-6),
  • vitamin A (orange fruits and vegetables),
  • vitamin C,
  • silica (whole grains, citrus fruits, apples, bananas, beets, spinach…),
  • zinc and copper (dried fruits, offal, seafood, cabbage, mushrooms…).

Conversely, refined sugars and fried or overcooked foods degrade collagen.

Bathroom care

Don’t forget your breasts, which are too often overlooked in our daily routine.

Moisturize your breasts and chest at least after each shower with a body cream adapted to your skin type.

Avoid hot showers or baths as your breasts’ skin and blood circulation prefer a cool circular stream of water.

Finally, don’t ruin your efforts with sulfated agents that weaken the skin. The 100% natural cold-process soap is the best choice.

Act early during a risky period for stretch marks on the breasts

You will know that you are prone to stretch marks on your breasts when they appear. And once they’ve appeared, they will stay with you.

In short, when in doubt, act preventively during periods of high risk of stretch marks on the breasts.

When is that? From the first weeks of pregnancy until after the end of breastfeeding, at puberty, in case of medical treatment, or if stretch marks appear elsewhere on your body.

Opt for a special stretch mark oil or cream rigorously formulated with active ingredients capable of increasing your skin’s resistance and protecting your collagen.

Good examples are butters and vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid (shea, tamanu, evening primrose, argan, olive, cupuaçu, etc.) and powerful antioxidant plants (gingko biloba, green tea and yarrow, etc.).

Keep caring for your skin when stretch marks appear on your breasts

Purple stretch marks on your breasts? They will take on a more discreet pearly white hue with time but will not go away, even with the best stretch mark cream.

Don’t let your weakened skin down, stretch marks can still deepen, widen and spread and new marks are always possible.

With the right care, from the start and over time, you can even fade stretch marks on your breasts.

An effective stretch mark cream for the breasts must be rich in anti-inflammatory repairing active ingredients such as rosehip and macadamia, pomegranate or rice vegetable oils.

They are the best for repairing and softening your skin, soothing the tightness and itching that often accompany stretch marks on the breasts, even old ones.

Reinforce its effects with prolonged massages that improve oxygenation and cell renewal and stimulate fibroblasts. These are proven benefits for reducing stretch marks on the breasts.

When pregnant, do not massage the nipples at the risk of releasing oxytocin and triggering contractions.

4 Additional tips for better care of stretch marks on the breasts

The care of stretch marks located on the breasts is not fundamentally different from others, with a few points of vigilance:

No bra to treat stretch marks on the breasts

Is the bra essential to the beauty of the breasts? Good question…

Wearing a bra non-stop from a young age when our breasts don’t need it is actually quite counterproductive. Some consequences:

  • Tendency to clog pores
  • Muscle weakness (like learning to walk on crutches)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Impaired blood and lymphatic circulation
  • Skin sagging
  • Irritating rubbing, especially under the breasts
  • Tensions

Everything comes together to make the skin of the breasts vulnerable to stretch marks.

Conversely, not wearing a bra would firm up the chest and reduce stretch marks on the breasts.

So, do you go for maximum support or will you throw your bras in the trash?

It depends on your preferences and common sense. For example, the bra may be preferable in the case of:

  • intensive sports with micro-shoots,
  • large breasts,
  • overweight, or
  • after several pregnancies or breastfeeding.

Above all, do not convert to no bra suddenly because it takes several weeks or even months to improve your breasts’ muscular and cutaneous support.

It’s not when your breasts are under strain that you need to start, but long before.

Choose your lingerie carefully

If you wear bras, choose them well because nothing is worse than an ill-fitting bra.

The key points? The exact size to support and wrap without compressing, wide straps, untreated cotton, ideally without seams (nor underwire for large breasts).

And get advice because most women would not choose the right size! So don’t skimp on quality and change your bra as soon as the comfort is no longer there.

Train your chest muscles

Boosting the muscular support of your breasts through targeted exercises on the pectoral, trapezius and back muscles will ease the tension on your skin.

A good exercise: Strongly press your palms in prayer at breast height, arms parallel to the ground (repeat 25 times each day for a few seconds).

Sport in general is beneficial to collagen, as long as you don’t overdo it and risk boosting your cortisol.

Choose your breast stretch mark treatments more carefully

The choice of cosmetics to apply to your breasts is crucial because this area has thin, permeable skin and is a sensitive area of our lymphatic system.

Some ingredients may irritate the particularly sensitive nipples and areolas.

Above all, some controversial ingredients (preservatives, synthetic fragrances, etc.) are potential endocrine disruptors capable of crossing the placental barrier.

Be especially careful to treat stretch marks on the breasts during pregnancy, breastfeeding or puberty.

Examine the composition of even the most well-known conventional maternity products to find an anti-stretch mark cream without synthetic ingredients.

Check that your stretch mark cream is really compatible with pregnancy and breastfeeding even if it is natural, because natural is not synonymous with safe.

Stretch marks on breasts: Conclusion

Keep up your good habits in your body care to prevent breast stretch marks.

In case you’ve already got stretch marks on your breasts, relax and stop focusing on them, they are a part of you now and aren’t going anywhere. You can still take care of though so they may fade over time.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More