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Cosmetic Medicine and Surgery

Stretch Marks

What causes Stretch marks?

Stretch marks, also called Striae Atrophica and Striae Distensae, result from tears in the dermis, or middle skin layer which usually occur from excessive skin stretching. They generally vary in colors ranging from light pink to a dark purple. Over time the colors may fade but the scars remain visible. These tears work to break down the skin's elastin and collagen fibres.

Stretch marks can appear as the result of rapid stretching of the skin such as breast and abdominal enlargement which occurs during pregnancy. Stretch marks also can occur in children who have gained weight rapidly, as well as during puberty in when the body goes through rapid growth. Stretch marks are most commonly located in the breasts, hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen. While Stretch marks themselves are not a health risk, they may be the result of other causes including the over usage of topical corticosteroid, and diseases such as Cushing's syndrome, Marfan syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Cushing's syndrome

This is a disorder which affects the adrenal glands and results in the excess secretion of cortisol . Cushing's syndrome is sometimes called hypercortisolism and generally affects adults in the 20 to 50 year old age range. It is estimated that only 10 to 15 out of every million people have Cushing's syndrome.

Marfan syndrome

Marfan syndrome affects the skin's connective tissue which holds the body together. Marfan syndrome causes this connective tissue to tear which results in Stretch marks. Symptoms are usually present in the skeleton, eyes, heart and blood vessels, nervous system, skin, and lungs.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

EDS is the result of defects in the body's connective tissue, similar to Marfan syndrome. It is estimated that nearly 90% of pregnant women get Stretch marks. Other reports show that almost 70% of adolescent females and almost 40% of adolescent males have Stretch marks. Otherwise healthy teens can have Stretch marks develop from participating in weight lifting or from using dangerous steroid drugs. Some prescription drugs are associated with the appearance of Stretch marks. If you use any of the following drugs, and you are experiencing Stretch marks that cannot be explained by weight gain, pregnancy, or puberty, you may want to speak with your health care provider to see if alternate medications are available.


Prednisone is sold under the brand names Cortan, Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Meticorten, Orasone, Panasol-S, Prednicen-M, Prednisone Intensol. Prednisone, is a corticosteroid that mimics a natural hormone which is produced by the adrenal glands. It is primarily used to treat the swelling, redness, and pain that is present with arthritis as well as various types of skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders as well as certain allergies and asthma.


Dianette is the commercial name for a formulation of cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol. The drug is prescribed to control abnormal hair growth in women, severe acne in women, and for birth control.

Mometasone Furoate

This skin lotion is sold under the brand name Elocon. It is a synthetic corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory activity. It is usually prescribed to relieve itching and inflammation that result from various skin conditions.

Depo Pervera

Depo Provera is a birth control hormone that is administered via injection and lasts for three months. It delivers a high level of progesterone which prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also makes the naturally present cervical mucus thicker and cuases changes the uterine lining which combine to make it harder for sperm to penetrate or survive. It is also thought that certain anti-depressants prescriptions may also cause Stretch marks.

Stretch marks are present in most of the human population and cause a high level of concern in the beauty concious.

Although they may not be caused by an underlying disease or disorder, you should have them examined by your health care professional just to make sure.  



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