Stretch marks, a form of scarring on the skin, are being championed by a new Instagram account, @LoveYourLines.
The account, started by two American mums, is a beautiful portfolio of real women's stretch marks and the compelling stories behind them.
The photo above was shared by @LoveYourLines and was submitted by Morgan Miles with the inspiring caption:
"I'm 22 and I have had my stretch marks since the age of 12. I thought my lines came from being overweight but being a size 2, I know stretch marks do not discriminate when it comes to weight or size.
"I love my lines, I flaunt them at the beach or pool side with friends."
While the areas of the body most often affected by stretch marks are the tummy, bottom and thighs - the cause is not purely down to pregnancy.
Stretch marks develop when the the skin is stretched suddenly causing the middle layer to break in places and show on the surface. Weight loss and gain, as well as hormonal changes are also causes seen in both men and women.
While common, such skin imperfections often spark anxiety in women who feel self conscious about having them on show. This account denies the notion of "flaws" and celebrates stretch marks and loving your lines.
Not only that, but it encourages women of all shapes and body sizes to accept who they are. It's defining lines or scarring like this that define us and that's what makes this account so brilliant.
The captions written alongside each of the photos are really moving too. Take this one for example:
"My kidneys almost failed due to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in 2005. Due to excess amounts of fluid in my body and steroids I rapidly gained 40lbs," one woman writes.
"Going from 140 to about 180 in a matter of weeks. After losing the extra weight, I was blessed with these lines. My lines remind me of what I have conquered. They remind me to be thankful and grateful for my new life."
Like the #Fatkini Instagram trend which encourages plus size women to embrace the bikini - this is about shrugging off body shame and just being real. We love it.
Follow this account on Instagram @LoveYourLines, and if you're willing to share - submit your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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