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Striae or Stretch Marks

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Sep 15, 2016 and last reviewed on Aug 26, 2021   -  4 min read

Abstract

Stretch or striae marks commonly occur during puberty and pregnancy. Please read the article to know the causes, symptoms, risk factors, and management of this cosmetically concerned disease

Contents
Striae or Stretch Marks

What Are Stretch Marks?

Striae are visible linear scars, which form due to overstretching of the skin. It usually occurs due to dermal damage in overstretched skin. Many factors play a role, like hormones (corticosteroids), mechanical stress, and genetic predisposition. It usually develops between the age of 5-50 years.

During puberty, striae appear in areas where there is a rapid increase in size. The most common sites are the axillae, outer aspects of the thighs, and the lumbosacral regions. In boys, thighs, and buttocks, and in girls, the breast is the common site. In women, striae appear more common in the abdomen post-pregnancy.

Early lesions may be raised and irritable, but sooner they become flat, smooth, and livid red or bluish (striae rubra) in color. They are commonly irregularly linear, several centimeters long, and 1 mm to 10 mm wide. Usually, after some years, they fade and become inconspicuous. The lesions may become atrophic, with the skin surface showing a fine, white and wrinkled appearance known as striae alba.

What Are the Causes of Striae Marks?

Stretching of the skin causes stretch marks. The severity of the stretch marks is affected by several factors, including,

  1. Genetics.

  2. Degree of stress exerted on the skin.

  3. The level of cortisol hormone (it is produced from the adrenal gland, which weakens the elastic fibers of the skin) also plays a role.

  4. Oral Prednisolone or other corticosteroid therapy.

  5. Cushing syndrome.

  6. The usage of anabolic steroids is more common among adolescents now, especially those who are participating in competitive sports and bodybuilding.

What Are the Symptoms of Stretch Marks?

All stretch marks do not look alike, and they vary depending on the cause, how long you had them, where it is present on the body, and the type of skin the person has. The common differences include:

What Are the Risk Factors of Getting Stretch Marks?

Anyone can get stretch marks, but certain factors can increase the likelihood of getting them; they are:

How Are Stretch Marks Treated?

Before starting treatment, other causes of striae should be ruled out, like stopping the intake of exogenous anabolic steroids if an individual is using it, and Cushing syndrome should be ruled out by doing serum cortisol level.

Plastic surgeons and skin doctors use lasers or other treatments to fade stretch marks. It helps the skin make more collagen:

Home Remedies for Stretch Marks:

Creams, oils, and other skin ointments help to prevent and treat them. And some of the home remedies help to fade or hide stretch marks. They are,

Conclusion:

Stretch marks can be prevented, but there is no guarantee that it gets prevented. The best way to lower the chances of avoiding stretch marks is to stay at a healthy weight. Even during pregnancy, consult the doctor about a regular exercise plan and having a healthy diet. Centella and hyaluronic acid ingredients help to prevent stretch marks.

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Frequently Asked Questions


1.

Why Do Stretch Marks Form?

Stretch marks form due to rapid stretching of the skin beyond its limit of elasticity in conditions like rapid weight gain, pregnancy, puberty, Cushing’s syndrome, etc., followed by subsequent weight loss.

2.

Why Do Stretch Marks Itch?

Itchy stretch marks result from the healing of the tiny tears in the skin’s layer that had formed due to excessive stretching and is a normal healing response.

3.

Do Stretch Marks Appear Only in Fat People?

Stretch marks can appear in any person. Whether slim or fat, rapid weight gain and subsequent weight loss over a short period can result in stretch mark formation.

4.

Deficiency of Which Nutrient Leads to Stretch Marks?

Though lack of nutrients directly does not increase the risk of stretch mark formation, lack of proteins, zinc, and vitamins essential for skin like vitamin C, E, and D can lead to poor skin health.

5.

Will the Stretch Mark on My Arms Ever Go Away?

Stretch marks do not go away completely. With time they fade away with improved appearance.

6.

Does Exercise Help in Removing Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are scar tissues. Exercise cannot help remove or fade scar tissues.

7.

What Is the Color of Weight Loss-Related Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks appear deep red or pink to purple in the initial phases. With time they fade and become pale, appearing silvery or whitish.

8.

Is It Possible to Prevent Pregnancy-Related Stretch Marks?

Maintaining a healthy body weight during pregnancy may (not in all cases) minimize stretch mark formation.

9.

What Treatments Help Me Get Rid of Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks cannot be cured completely. However, they fade away with time without any treatment. Some available treatment options to improve the appearance of stretch marks are,
- Microdermabrasion.
- Tretinoin cream.
- Fractional photothermolysis.
- Pulsed dye laser therapy.
- Chemical peels.
- Radiofrequency.
- Ultrasound therapy.

10.

How to Remove Stretch Marks From the Butt?

Though these cannot completely remove stretch marks, Tretinoin cream and Silicone gel are found effective in improving stretch mark’s appearance.

11.

How to Remove Stretch Marks From Breasts?

Laser skin resurfacing therapy, chemical peels, Glycolic acid, Silicone creams, and microdermabrasion help lighten the stretch marks.

Last reviewed at:
26 Aug 2021  -  4 min read

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Related Questions & Answers


Why do the stretch marks on my inner thighs hurt?

Query: Hello doctor, I have stretch marks on my inner thighs and buttocks area. When I sit for about 30 minutes, the stretch marks hurt (in the scale of 1-10, the pain is around 8). So, I have to stand up once in a while. More and more stretch marks appear when they hurt and they hurt too. It is very unco...  Read Full »

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