Stretch marks are telltale signs of pregnancy or drastic weight gain.
However, we all know someone who has come out of her pregnancy without a mummy tummy or stretch marks. What makes some people prone to stretch marks while others seem to have considerably less?
Can we now unravel the secret behind why someone is less likely to get stretch marks? Do you want to find out more about your stretch marks genes?
Stretch marks, also called striae distensae, are common and range in prevalence from 50 to 80%.
Initially, they have a reddish appearance but later turns white.
These are linear bundles of collagen that lie parallel to the skin’s surface and scar the striae.
A genome-wide association study was carried out on 33,930 unrelated 23andMe customers who were of European descent.
This study included 13,068 cases and 20,862 controls.
The men in the study were found to be less likely to have stretch marks (25% among men against 55% among women).
So how do genes play a role in stretch marks?
ELN gene codes for the highly elastic protein elastin that helps the skin return back to its original position after stress.
In simple terms, elastin is the reason why your skin gets back to normal after it is stretched or poked.
The influence of this gene on skin elasticity has been studied extensively in the autosomal dominant condition cutis laxa, which is caused due to mutations in the elastin gene.
The symptoms of this condition are loose and sagging skin, with a higher risk of aortic aneurysm.
Specific variants of the ELN gene are associated with a lowered expression of elastin, which is shown to increase the risk for stretch marks.
FN1 gene codes for fibronectin, which is an extracellular matrix protein that binds to integrins and collagen which maintain the integrity of the skin.
When skin biopsies were conducted on people with stretch marks, there was a lowered expression of fibronectin.
Specific variants of the FN1 gene are associated with a lowered expression of elastin, which is shown to increase the risk for stretch marks.
Genetic variants present in other genes like HMCN1, SRPX, and TMEM18 are also associated with the risk of stretch marks.
What can you do with this information?
There is a complex relationship between genes and the environment.
Factors like the use of creams or lotion, diet and lifestyle also playing a role in the outcome.
Therefore, the information obtained from your skin genetic report can be used to tailor diet and lifestyle to lower risk of stretch marks.
Most people follow a skin care routine for better skin.
However, the Gene Skin Report can reveal several such aspects that people are generally unaware of like the risk of skin diseases or need for certain nutrients vital for skin health.
How can you find out your genetic risk for stretch marks?
Upload your 23andme raw data, Ancestry DNA, or FTDNA raw data to Xcode Life to find out if you have the genetic variants associated with increased risk of stretch marks.
Xcode Life’s Gene Skin Report provides information on stretch marks, acne, varicose veins, vitamin C needs, and more than 25 such traits.