*Condition results in fine lines on the body due to tearing of the tissue under the skin from rapid growth or overstretching.
*Condition has no significant medical problems other than cosmetic appearance.
*Marking occurs in area where skin is subjected to continuous stretching.
*Condition affects growing adolescents, pregnant women, and obese individuals.
*Marks are either can be white, pink, red, or purplish in appearance and appear as inch or so long and thin lines on the body.
*Condition may result from corticosteroid use or Cushing's syndrome.
Stretch marks or striae are fine lines on the body that occur from tissue under the skin tearing due to rapid growth or overstretching. It is a common condition that does not cause any significant medical problems but can be a cosmetic concern. Other names for stretch marks are striae distensae, striae atrophicans, striae rubra (red stretch marks) or striae alba (white stretch marks).
Stretch marks occur in certain areas of the body where skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching. They frequently occur in growing adolescents, pregnant women, and obese or overweight individuals. Stretch marks can also occur from prolonged use of oral or topical corticosteroids. They are also a feature of the disease Cushing's syndrome.
An early sign of stretch marks developing is when an area of skin becomes flattened and thin with a pink color. This may also occasionally be itchy. Soon reddish or purplish lines develop (striae rubra). Over time these lighten to become whitish or flesh-colored and much less conspicuous. Stretch marks are usually a few inches long and a few millimeters wide. Those caused by corticosteroid use or Cushing’s syndrome are often larger and wider and may involve other regions, including the face.
Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
*Diagnosis is performed through clinical inspection.
Diagnosis is frequently performed through clinical inspection to eliminate other conditions.
*Stretch marks are a cosmetic concern only, and do not require treatment.
*In adolescents, the condition generally is self-healing.
*Treatments are available are not guaranteed success.
Stretch marks usually are only a cosmetic problem; rarely, if extensive, they may ulcerate or tear easily in an accident. Stretch marks occurring in adolescents become less visible over time and generally require no treatment. In other cases, if stretch marks are a cause of concern then moisturizing oils, topical retinoid therapy, chemical peels, or pulsed dye laser therapy may be used, but are not a guaranteed treatment.