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Stretch Marks (Striaedistensae)

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)


Striaedistensae or stretch marks are common skin condition, characterized by linear smooth or wavy bands of atrophic(depressed) appearing skin which is usually caused by dermal damage due to stretching. The abrupt changes cause the elastin and collagen(supports the skin) to breakdown causing the skin to rupture.They are more common in females and most commonly seen on abdomen, breasts, buttocks and thighs. Treatment can help stretch marks less noticeable, but can’t be removed completely.

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The exact cause remains controversial. It is believed that stretch marks appear as a result of various physiological states like pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss and adrenocortical abnormality as it weakens the elastic fibres.

• Stretch marks in pregnancy occurs due to hormones and increased stress on connective tissue (collagen and elastin).

Risk factors

• Pregnancy

• Rapid weight gain

• Weight training leading to rapid muscle growth

• High BMI

• Fitzpatrick skin type I and IV

• Family history of stretch marks

• Prolonged use of Topical Corticosteroids or Oral steroids leading to Cushing’s disease.

Signs & Symptoms

• At the initial phase Striae (stretch marks) present as red to purple wavy lesions, this is known as Striaerubra( rubra meaning red).

• Later the redness fades and leave behind white atrophic(depressed) wrinkledlesion which is known as Striae alba (alba meaning white).

• The common sites: – abdomen, thigh, buttocks, arms and breast.

• Striae (stretch marks) due to topical steroids can occurs even on face or body folds.


According to researchers it difficult to prevent Striae (stretch marks) but certain studies mention topical preventive methods like:-

1. Trofolastin cream with Centellaasiatica extract applied during pregnancy has shown to prevent stretch marks and decrease the severity of it.

2. Olive oil applied twice without massaging.

3. Cream containing hyaluronic acid, allantoin, Vitmain A, VitaminE and Calcium pantothenate.


It’s important to understand that no single treatment works for stretch marks, it usually a combination of treatment and at times nothing works. What may work for an individual might not work for others. New stretch marks respond the best to treatment whereas older the scar gets; it becomes difficult to treat.

Topical therapy

• Topical tretinoin cream 0.05% or 0.1%

• Glycolic acid 20% + 10% ascorbic acid

• Hyaluronic acid

Non-invasive therapy

• Micro dermabrasion

• Chemical Peel



Fractional LaserNon-fractional Laser
Non-ablative Erbium:GlassExcimer (308-nm) for Striae alba
Ablative Carbon Dioxide (CO2)Pulsed dye (585-nm) for Striaerubra
Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG)
Copper bromide

• Radiofrequency – Bipolar or tripolar radio frequency

• Microneedling- it causes production of new collagen and elastin via controlled skin injury.

• Light therapy

– Intense Pulsed light

– Ultraviolet light- combination of UV-B and UV-A

– Infrared light – 800 to 1800 nm can result in 50% improvement in striae alba.

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Home remedies

• Almond oil

• Cocoa butter

• Olive oil

• Palma oil

• Shea butter

• Chamomile

• Centella Asiatica Ectract

• Coconut oil

• Darutoside

• Crowberry

• Glycine soja

• Marine collagen

• Lupin seed extract

• Licorice extract

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Research behind this article:
• Farahnik B, Park K, Kroumpouzos G, Murase J. Striaegravidarum: Risk factors, prevention, and management. Int J WomensDermatol. 2016;3(2):77–85. Published 2016 Dec 6. doi:10.1016/j.ijwd.2016.11.001
• Singh G, Kumar LP. Striaedistensae. Indian J DermatolVenereolLeprol2005;71:370-2.
• Ud-Din S, McGeorge D, Bayat A. Topical management of striaedistensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striaerubrae and albae. J EurAcadDermatolVenereol. 2016;30(2):211–222. doi:10.1111/jdv.13223


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