Our Skin

How to Prevent Stretch Marks and Why You Have Them

The medical term for stretched skin lines or stretch marks, is STRIA. Stria are a common, and unfortunately often distressing skin change that can appear on your abdomen, your butte, thighs, breasts, back, under the arms, or even in the groin or inner legs.

Causes of Stretch Marks:

  • Rapid weight gain is the biggest contributor, but using cortisol or cortisone can contribute to them as well.
  • Rapid weight loss can cause stria, as can getting breast enhancement surgery.
  • Exercise and using anabolic steroids can cause stria.

There are formal classifications of them, according to reasons you have them, your genetics, and some aspects of your physiology.

  • sae (stretched skin)
  • striae rubrae (red), striae albae (white)
  • striae nigra (black)
  • striae caerulea (dark blue).

When to see a physician:

  • New or accelerating stretch marks, there are some medical conditions that can cause stria
  • Weight gain, there are many reasons to address moving into the overweight or obese category, but addressing weight gain before it is excessive can help prevent unwanted stretchmarks
  • Some adolescents gain rapidly, and this is not necessarily unhealthy, and isn’t a ‘treatable’ cause of stretch marks

Striae are difficult to treat effectively.

  • Mosturize for comfort: they will NOT treat stretch marks. Nor will using Vitamin E creams so popular in pregnancy
  • Self Tanning lotions: Can help the color match the surrounding skin, will also NOT treat the stretch marks
  • Retin A, Tretinoin, Hyaluronic acid: All might minimize the appearance of stretch marks, especially if very new and very mild.
  • Microneedling: With or without radiofrequency as additional treatment can help reduce stretchmarks
  • Laser Therapy: Wavelengths such as the 1540, or combination ablative and non-ablative therapies can help the quality of the skin and flatten the scarred appearance, even treat some stretch marks
  • Light Therapy: Intense pulsed light (IPL) or Broadband Light (BBL) can be very effective at handling the pigment

Come to see us at Hada Cosmetic Medicine for a consultation if you would like to understand how to treat any stria you have.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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