Stretch marks, medical name “striae”, are fine lines that develop when deep tissue under the skin tears as a result of over-stretching (e.g. pregnancy or rapid weight gain), or from rapid growth (e.g. on the back during a teenage growth spurt).
Stretch marks are common and are mainly a cosmetic concern for patients. Stretch marks often start out as red-purple (“striae rubra”) in colour, and eventually fade into a silver-white colour (“striae alba”) which makes them less noticeable.
Stretch marks are usually several centimetres long and 2-10mm wide.
Stretch marks can develop on the belly, hips and breasts of pregnant women, on the shoulders of body builders, in overweight or obese people, and in adolescents during a growth spurt.
Stretch marks can also occasionally occur from prolonged use of oral or topical steroids, and in a medical condition called Cushing’s syndrome.
Unfortunately there is no great treatment for stretch marks; the best thing is to prevent stretch marks in the first place if possible.
Toronto Dermatology Centre is located in Toronto, Ontario, and serves men and women in North York, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, York, Aurora, Thornhill, Mississauga, Scarborough, Brampton, Etobicoke, Pickering, Peterborough, Guelph, Kitchener, Oakville, Barrie and all of Greater Toronto (GTA).