Stretch marks occur from tissue under your skin tearing from rapid growth or over-stretching. It is a common condition that does not cause any significant medical problems but can be of cosmetic concern for some people. There are different types of stretch marks. They represent linear dermal scars accompanied by epidermal atrophy. The different types of stretch marks are called striae distensae, striae atrophicans, striae rubra (which are red) and striae alba (white).
Treatment with the 585-nm flashlamp pulsed dye laser at low energy densities was shown to improve the appearance of stretch marks. At lower energies, the 585-nm pulse dye laser has been purported to increase the amount of collagen in the subcutaneous tissues. The 585-nm FLPDL has a moderate beneficial effect in reducing the degree of erythema in striae rubra but has no apparent benefit in striae alba. Because of the potential for adverse effects, FLPDL treatments should be performed with extreme caution or even not at all in darker-skinned patients.
Intense pulsed light (IPL), a flashlamp that emits a broadband visible light, has been reported to yield clinical and microscopical improvement in striae distensae. It seems to be a promising treatment modality with minimal adverse effects and little-to-no down time. Its efficacy in the treatment of photodamaged facial skin has been widely reported; it promotes the production of new collagen and elastic fibers.
Lasers and light sources emitting UV-B irradiation have been shown to repigment striae distensae (white striae). The improvement is due to an increase in melanin pigment, hypertrophy of melanocytes, and an increase in the number of melanocytes.
Good success has been reported using low concentrations (15-20%) of trichloroacetic acid and performing repetitive papillary dermis-level chemexfoliation (). The peels can be repeated at monthly intervals, with improvement in skin texture, firmness, and color.
Topical retinoids have been shown to be beneficial in remodeling hypertrophic scars and in improving the clinical appearance, including improvement of the surface texture, fine and coarse wrinkling, skin color, and laxity, of photoaged skin after 3-6 months of therapy.