Stretch marks are scars of the skin after a period of rapid skin stretching that destroy the skin’s collagen and elastin bundles. This can occur during pregnancy, rapid weight changes or puberty. These scars are permanent and settle as hypo-pigmented lines.
There are two main forms of stretch marks – striae rubrae and striae albae.
Striae rubrae is the acute form of stretch marks, showing early on as red or purple linear scars. These mature into striae albae, appearing as white, hypopigmented atrophic linear scars.
Striae are a form of scars, and they can be managed to reduce the appearance of the scarring. The colour, depth, width and length of these scars can be managed and should be managed as early as possible to maximise outcomes.
Multiple modalities are available, and these revolve around
- Reduction in vascularity and redness of early striae
- Repigmentation of white, mature striae
- Collagen stimulation and scar tightening/remodelling