Stretch marks are one of the most-talked-about skin characteristics among women. Men? Not so much. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s because they don’t get them.
“The best available studies suggest that about 11 percent of otherwise healthy men have stretch marks,” Dr. Steve Xu of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine tells Yahoo Beauty.
Further proof comes from none other than Sam Smith, who just admitted that he has stretch marks. But he also said he’s learned to love them.
In an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker for V magazine, the singer opened up about body confidence. SJP asked, “You and I have talked a little bit about self-image. How comfortable are you feeling on camera today versus two years ago?” Smith replied, “It’s completely different. I think that’s come with me losing weight.” He added, “When I was shooting my first music videos, I just wasn’t happy with the way I looked, so I was trying to control the way the camera moved. I got a bit obsessive. I was constantly looking in the mirror, pinching my waist, weighing myself every day.” But those days are long gone, he said, noting, “Now, I’ve gotten to a place where I really love my stretch marks and I just enjoy my body.”
Part of the reason he’s always been so aware of his imperfections is because of his career. “My job is very self-indulgent: I have to listen to my voice daily, I make decisions on what tour posters or album covers look like, I look at my face while sitting in the makeup chair. I get kind of sick of myself, so I trust my team,” he said. “But my body image is always going to be an issue. I need to constantly train myself to watch the right sort of films, to not look at certain ads and think that’s how my stomach should look. It’s something that I’m fighting every day.” He ended the thought by saying, “I think men should talk about it more.”
He’s right. Compared to women, men are largely silent when it comes to insecurities, especially when it comes to appearance.
“I think certainly for men, they are less likely to openly voice cosmetics concerns compared to women. This applies to concerns like facial wrinkles, bags under the eyes, and stretch marks,” said Dr. Xu. “I would say that women, as a whole, are more prone to stretch marks simply because of pregnancy. Up to 88 percent of pregnant females exhibit stretch marks.”
But Dr. Xu believes that stigma attached to men sharing their cosmetic struggles is declining. “I think in the future, this stigma of expressing cosmetic concerns among men is going to only decrease,” he said. “We’re seeing a tremendous growth in popularity for noninvasive cosmetic procedures in men such as Botox — ‘Brotox’ if you want to be cute,” he added. “There’s a growing sub-segment of cosmetics and personal care products that are targeting men and their desire to maintain a youthful appearance. This will definitely open the door for men to be more open to discuss other cosmetic concerns, such as stretch marks, with their dermatologists.”
We want men like Smith to know that they can boast or bemoan about their stretch marks — or any other grievances — with us women anytime.
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