Therapeutic targets in the management of striae distensae: A systematic review

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Sep;77(3):559-568.e18. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2017.02.048. Epub 2017 May 24.


Background: Striae distensae are permanent dermal lesions that can cause significant psychosocial distress. A detailed understanding of the numerous treatment modalities available is essential to ensuring optimal patient outcomes.

Objective: Our objective was to evaluate and summarize the different treatment methods for striae distensae by linking their proposed modes of action with the histopathogenesis of the condition to guide patient treatment.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed with no limits placed on publication date. Relevant studies were assigned a level of evidence by the authors.

Results: Ninety-two articles were identified, with 74 being eligible for quality assessment. The majority of treatments aim to increase collagen production. The use of vascular lasers can reduce erythema in striae rubrae by targeting hemoglobin, whereas increasing melanin through methods such as ultraviolet light is a major focus for treatment of striae albae. Despite some topical treatments being widely used, uncertainty regarding their mode of action remains. No treatment has proved to be completely effective.

Limitations: Limitations of the study include low-quality evidence, small sample sizes, and varying treatment protocols and outcome measures, along with concerns regarding publication bias.

Conclusions: Further randomized, controlled trials are needed before definitive conclusions and recommendations can be made.

Keywords: management; stretch marks; striae albae; striae distensae; striae rubrae; systematic review; therapy; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Striae Distensae / therapy*