WHAT ARE STRIAE DISTENSAE/STRETCH MARKS?
Striae Distansae or stretch marks are well-recognized skin changes which may appear everywhere on the body, except the face . They usually occur in stretching areas (breast, belly, thigh, hip, arms etc).1 They mostly result from:
- Growth spurts
- Rapid weight gain
- Weight loss and cachectic states
- Due to steroid use
- Breast augmentation and abdominoplasty
Although they are not detrimental to health, they can cause physical symptoms such as itchiness, tenderness and pain. Because of their appearance, they can also significantly affect a person`s self-esteem and self-perception.
TYPES OF STRIAE DISTENSAE?
Striae Distensae is the generic term for stretch marks, but there are several different classifications:
- Striae Rubra describes early red scarring, appear as slightly raised pink to purple linear bands .
- Striae Alba describes the stretch marks as they become mature, whiter and depressed.
- Striae Gravidarum describes stretch marks that occur due to pregnancy. In pregnancy, Striae Gravidarum most frequently affects all four quadrants of the abdomen, as well as the breasts . They appear less commonly on the buttocks, hips, arms and thighs2,3
According to a study by Chang et al. (2004), the stretching is not the primary cause of stretchmarks. Studies found that there is no correlation between the development of stretch marks and weight gain per week. There is also no correlation between the greater percentage increase of abdominal/hip circumference during pregnancy and a greater number of stretch marks.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF STRETCH MARKS FORMATION?
Stage 1: Early stretch marks will appear pink in color, and may also be itchy . The skin, immediately around the stretch marks, may also look ‘flattened’ and ‘thin’.
Stage 2: Gradually, the stretch marks will enlarge in length and width, and become a reddish or purple color.
Stage 3: Once the stretch marks have matured, they lose their reddish/pink hue . In the months after pregnancy, they will start to fade and become pale white or silver . They may also appear slightly depressed and irregular in shape or length.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Hundreds of products are available on the market claiming to improve Striae, but with no clinical trials or assessment of efficacy. There are two main categories of treatment options:
- Topical therapies and laser – include Tretinoin, trofolastin, cocoa butter, moisturizers, herbal remedies etc.
- Light devices- include Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL), Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), CO2 fractional lasers etc.
DO THE TOPICAL THERAPIES WORK?
Until recently, there were no statistically significant differences in the development of stretch marks, in women who received topical preparations with active ingredients, compared to women who received a placebo or no treatment5.
IS THERE ANY PRODUCT OR DEVICE THAT TRULY PREVENT AND TREAT STRETCH MARKS?
Stratamark® is the first registered topical medical device, specifically designed for the prevention and treatment of stretch marks. Stratamark® has also shown its efficacy in a clinical trial. In the prevention group, only 18,2 of pregnant women developed stretch marks vs 65% of control group. In the treatment group, women with existing stretch marks experienced a significant reduction in the severity of Striae (47%)4.
Recommendation for the prevention and treatment of stretch marks:
- It is recommended to prevent stretch marks as being the simplest and most accessible way to get rid of stretch marks.
- The treatment choice will depend on the status of the stretch marks and the condition of the patient, undergoing initial control.
- It is clinically proven that the silicone gel helps rebalance the water, even at the deep level of the skin and creates the optimal conditions for the normal synthesis of collagen and elastin by connective cells.
- International studies have shown that silicone, in contact with the skin, generates an electrostatic field that contributes to the normal alignment of collagen fibers and stretch marks regression and thus shows maximum efficacy both in the prevention and treatment of the stretch marks.
- Rotsztejn H, Juchniewicz B, Nadolski M, Wendorff J, Kamer B . The unusually large Striae Distensae all over the body . Advances in Medical Sciences 2010;55
- Osman H, Usta IM, Rubeiz N, Abu-Rustum R, Charara I, Nassar AH . Cocoa butter lotion for prevention of Striae Gravidarum: a double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial . BJOG 2008;115:1138-1142
- Rangel O, Arias I, Garcia E, Lopez-Padilla S . Topical tretinoin 0 .1% for pregnancy-related abdominal Striae: an open-label, multicenter, prospective study . Advances In Therapy 2001;18(4):181–186
- Simona Málková, M.D., Private gynecology practice (New EU Magazine of Medicine 1–4 /2014)
- Elsaie ML, Baumann LS, Elsaaiee LT . Striae Distensae (stretch marks) and different modalitis of therapy: an update . Dermatologic Surgery 2009;35:563–573