While stretch marks are a thing of beauty to some, you may be wondering: Do stretch marks ever disappear? Beauty product manufacturers — who create all manner of lotions and potions that aim to decrease the appearance of stretch marks — seem to believe that it’s possible.

Loving your stretch marks is your call. As a gal with stretch marks, I can happily say, I like mine — I feel they show my evolution from skinny teenager to curvier woman. IMO, stretch marks are beautiful and show the journey the owner has endured; whether that be undergoing a body transformation and drastically changing shape from thin to fat or vice-versa, or being a reminder of when your amazing body carried a child for around nine months. But, how you love your body is up to you. Everybody feels empowered by different things. If stretch marks make you feel like an invincible, strong human that’s rad, but if they don’t, that’s fine too.

No matter if you’re contemplating getting rid of your stripes or you’re just curious if your stretch marks will be with you forever, you’ll want to know if stretch marks ever really disappear. So, I spoke with Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, board-certified dermatologist at Laserderm and founder of Cyberderm, The Sunscreen Company, to discover the truth about stretch marks.

“A stretch mark — called striae distensae in medical jargon — is really an atrophic scar where the collagen and elastic fibers in the skin have literally snapped,” explains Dr. Laughlin in an email to Bustle. “They are usually seen on the buttocks, thighs, breasts, or abdomen, but can occur over the shoulders, upper arms, and calves more infrequently,” she adds.

“They are associated with puberty, pregnancy, steroid therapy — both oral or topical, particularly with the more potent fluorinated steroids — and with sudden weight gain or weight loss. They may be sign of adrenal disease or other endocrine (hormonal) problems,” says Dr. Laughlin.