Striae distensae - Dermatology and aesthetics

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Dermatology and aesthetics

Dermatology and aesthetics

Striae distensae

Stretch marks Causes of stretch marks Clinical presentation and development sites Treatment
  • Stretch Marks
  • Causes of stretch marks
  • Clinical presentation and development sites
  • Treatment

Stretch Marks

In dermatology, the term striae distensae (as well as the expression dermoepidermal atrophies in striae) is used to indicate the formation of characteristic linear lesions of the atrophic type due to skin relaxation, of variable color and distribution; these formations are known in the common language as stretch marks and for greater clarity they will be indicated in the following discussion in this way.

Stretch marks have a significantly higher incidence in Caucasian subjects aged between 5 and 50 years; it is also observed that the frequency is double in women compared to men and greater in the period of puberty (affecting, according to recent estimates, about 1/3 of adolescents and up to 90% of pregnant women): more specifically, in women they appear earlier (from 12 to 16 years) compared to males (from 14 to 20 years), and they recur with particular frequency between 30 and 40 years, reaching at the beginning of adulthood 70-80%, in relation to the peculiar structure hormone and the related possibility of pregnancy. These lesions may also appear as a consequence of some systemic diseases or medical therapy with steroids (iatrogenic).

The first descriptions of stretch marks in the medical literature date back to 150 years ago and, over the years, the multiple causes that provoke this phenomenon have become increasingly clear, due to an irregularity in the arrangement of the elastic fibers and collagen of the dermis, with degeneration of the elastic component, induced, in turn, by mechanical tension stimuli applied to the skin; made clear on the origin of these skin manifestations, various treatments have been identified that can reduce them with good therapeutic results.

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