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


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.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adam S. Aldahan.

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No funding was received for this manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

AS Aldahan, VV Shah, S Mlacker, S Samarkandy, M Alsaidan and K Nouri declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Full disclosure

Adam S. Aldahan had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Study concept and design: Aldahan, Shah, Mlacker, Samarkandy, Alsaidan, and Nouri. Acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data: Aldahan, Shah, and Mlacker. Drafting of the manuscript: Aldahan, Shah, Mlacker, Samarkandy, Alsaidan, and Nouri. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Aldahan, Shah, Mlacker, Samarkandy, Alsaidan, and Nouri. Statistical analysis: not applicable. Obtained funding: not applicable. Administrative, technical, or material support: Aldahan, Shah, Mlacker, Samarkandy, Alsaidan, and Nouri. Study supervision: Nouri.

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Aldahan, A.S., Shah, V.V., Mlacker, S. et al. Laser and Light Treatments for Striae Distensae: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Am J Clin Dermatol 17, 239–256 (2016).

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  • Alba
  • Skin Type
  • Intense Pulse Light
  • Fractional Laser
  • Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation