Laser and Light Treatments for Striae Distensae: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016 Jun;17(3):239-56. doi: 10.1007/s40257-016-0182-8.


Striae distensae (SD) are common dermatologic lesions that often arise as a result of rapid weight change, certain endocrine conditions, or prolonged exposure to steroids. SD initially present as raised edematous plaques (striae rubra), after which they become white and atrophic (striae alba) owing to local breakdown and reorganization of collagen and elastin. There currently exists no reliable treatment option, though numerous topical applications have been attempted. Lasers and light represent emerging noninvasive therapies that have demonstrated some success targeting vascular chromophores in striae rubra and stimulating collagen and elastin production in striae alba. An extensive literature review was performed to gather all available articles studying laser and light treatments for SD. Lasers and light can significantly improve the appearance of both striae rubra and striae alba. Generally, striae rubra are more responsive to therapy and can be treated successfully with a variety of lasers without major adverse effects. Fractional lasers exhibit the strongest results for striae alba repigmentation and collagen induction, and several other lasers produce temporary repigmentation. Lasers in combination with other modalities such as topical agents and additional energy devices have also demonstrated promising preliminary results; however, large comparative studies are necessary to validate these outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Collagen / radiation effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Lasers, Dye / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Excimer / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use
  • Phototherapy / instrumentation
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Striae Distensae / surgery
  • Striae Distensae / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Collagen