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What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are fine lines on the body that occur from tissue under your skin tearing from rapid growth or over stretching. Although the skin is usually fairly elastic when its over stretched, the normal production of collagen is disrupted. It is a common condition that does not cause any significant medical problem but can be of cosmetic concern for some people.


Other names for stretch marks are—striae distensae, striae atrophicans, striae rubra, striae alba.


Causes of stretch marks

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Weight loss/ weight gain
  • Body building/ weightlifting/ athletes.
  • Pregnancy
  • People using steroid containing skin creams/ointments.( eg. hydrocortisone)
  • Intake of oral corticosteroids for months or longer.
  • Adolescents—growth spurts.

Common sites of stretch marks

Stretch marks occur in certain areas of the body where skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching. These include-

  • Abdomen and breast in pregnant ladies.
  • Adolescent undergoing growth spurts.(thighs, buttocks, breasts)
  • Shoulders in body builders.


Stretch marks start as red lines on the skin that are slightly raised. Depending on the color of the skin, they may also look pink, reddish brown/ dark brown.

These lines then tend to change to purple, before slowly flattening out. As the lines flatten,they also fade and usually end up a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone.

Stretch marks usually appear in parallel lines. Skin is thin and silvery and often looks scar like.



Stretch marks are permanent in the sense that the skin in these areas will never be completely normal. However, after a time they will contract down into much less obvious, thin, whitish scars.


Treatment modalities:--


Retinoic acid

Heparin+ Allantoin


In Clinic--- Improvement in the appearance of the stretch marks and working on increasing the tightness of the collagen & elastin formation, firming the collagen matrix & rehydrating targeted areas. Peptide activity increases biosynthesis of collagen, provides structural support network of fibropectin. Hydrolysed collagen consists of water soluble peptides which are rich sources of amino acids glycine, L-proline & L- hydroxyproline stimulates wound healing, tissue restauration by collagen matrix regeneration. It leads to more regular tissue renewal, normal appearance of scars, to full restauration of elasticity.


Treatments given are:

  • Microdermabrasion.
  • Peels (higher concentration)
  • IPL Therapy
  • Excimer Laser (Striae Alba)
  • Superpulse Radio Frequency
  • Surgical—Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty.

It takes about 3-4 months to achieve desirable results with these treatments.


Systemic --- Adequate protein diet, Diet rich in Vit E, Vit C, Vit A.



Other Modes of Treatment

  • Tretinoin/Retin-A – is another approach to the treatment of early stretch marks.
  • Laser- can be used to treat stretch marks at an early stage when they are still red.
  • Cream/ Moisturisers-creams containing AHA along with some plant extract, or creams with Vit E/Vit A.


  • It is important to maintain a healthy weight
  • Lose weight the right way (0.5kg/week is ideal)
  • Massaging your skin everyday with moisturizer can help improve blood circulation which encourages new tissue growth.
  • Balanced diet rich in vitamins esp Vit E, Vit C
  • When pregnant weight gain should be slow and gradual.

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