Here's How I Learned to Be Okay With My Stretch Marks

I've learned to love my body, prominent stretch marks and all.

Don't get me wrong, it's been a journey… but a journey worth sharing, as I'm not alone. 70% of all females bear these skin marks someplace on their body. 

girl's hand up in the air

(via Unsplash)

A simple search for #stretchmarks on Instagram pulls up whopping 532,360 tagged images. So why have I spent so many years desperately trying to hide them? 

I remember the first time I caught a glimpse of them. I gasped in horror and tugged at my skin. Was this real? How long had these marks been inhabiting my skin without me knowing? It seems like they popped up out of the blue to destroy any future bathing suit moments for me that summer.

It was the summer between my 8th grade and high school freshman year, and I couldn't have been more horrified. I wondered if my friends also had them, and if so, why wasn't anyone talking about them? I looked at my reflection in the mirror and obsessed. I only wore outfits and bathing suits that could disguise the patch of stretched skin that took over my whole upper legs and bottom.

As the years went on, my obsession with covering up my stretch marks or getting rid of them altogether continued. I researched creams and lasers and subjected myself to these treatments for the sake of perfection, until one day everything changed.

I was hanging at the beach with a few of my friends, and one-by-one we all started to shyly admit our body woes. Being so exposed in our bathing suits and being so honest about our hangups made that moment a game changer for me. It made me realize that everybody has something they wish they could change, no matter how perfect we may perceive a person to be.

It made me further realize that no matter how hard we strive, we will never reach perfection. Perfection is an illusion brought to us by Instagram filters and FaceTuned photos. Perfection is what we perceive others to have but don't have the kindness to perceive that in ourselves.

A post shared by KARINE VANDAL (@karinevandal) on

I decided to stop being my harshest critic and started learning to love my body, no matter how imperfectly perfect it was. I stopped buying products that claimed to help with my stretch marks, and slowly but surely, I also started shopping for clothes differently. I opted for shorts and bathing suits that I actually liked, versus picking items that covered my marks.

During this process, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across one of my favorite celebs, Chrissy Teigen. She posted an image of her legs with her stretch marks, and gasp—called attention to them! She came off carefree and happy. I kicked myself for not realizing sooner that I could be this way, too.

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

I now wear my stretch marks proudly and realize that I don't have to be embarrassed about something that's natural. I discuss them with friends often and they share their woes with me too. It has been life-changing to accept something as beautiful and as part of my body.

Now that this hopefully helped you master being confident in your own skin, click HERE to tackle another confidence-robber: acne!