Stretch Marks - Striae

Skin Conditions

Stretch Marks

What is Striae or Stretch Marks

Striae, or stretch marks, are a type of atrophic scar that are the result of rapid stretching of the skin. Common causes are pregnancy (striae gravidarum), cushing syndrome, growth spurts during puberty, rapid weight gain or obesity, overuse of corticosteroid creams, or diabetes.

Stretch marks begin as red/purple lines of glossy skin that become white and depressed as they atrophy over time. They occur more often on women, and commonly appear on the abdomen, flanks, thighs, buttocks, breasts, upper arms, and hips. Striae caused by pregnancy sometimes – but not always – disappear in the months following pregnancy.

Stretch Mark Treatment

Striae are benign and can be safely left untreated but can be cosmetically concerning. Many treatments can improve the appearance of striae including topical retinoids (tretinoin), laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and dermabrasion.

Do not use retinoids if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. There exist many home remedies that are used in the hope of preventing striae from forming during pregnancy, but there is little evidence that any work. If you have unwanted stretch marks speak to your dermatologist to find out what treatment options are best for you.

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Dr. Timothy Jochen Medical Director, Contour Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center
Dr. Jochen specializes in Mohs Surgery for skin cancer removal, facial rejuvenation including cosmetic laser technology, Botox® and facial fillers, soft tissue augmentation, leg and facial vein treatment, tumescent liposuction and hair restoration/transplants.

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