Stretchmarks [striae distensae] are characterized by wide linear bands of discolored or wrinkled skin that occurs in areas of collagen damage due to stretching. Striae are usually found on the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and breasts. Women develop striae more commonly than men, and striae are seen in 90% of pregnant women due to a combination of hormonal factors along with increased stress on the collagen and elastin in the skin.
Some studies indicated that striae are a form of scar tissue that forms in response to collagen rupture and elastic fiber changes. Two types of striae are described, newly formed, reddish colored “striae rubrae” and older, white striae albae. The treatment of striae distensae has been challenging and various modalities have been studied. These include topical retinoids (Retin A), microdermabrasion, intense pulsed light (IPL) and fractionated laser skin resurfacing.
Although striae are thought to be a result of collagen rupture and breakdown during stretching of the skin, until recently, few treatments actually targeted the root cause of the striae formation, the damaged collagen in the dermal layer. Furthermore, laser and light modalities are not safe for individuals with darker skin tones.
Carboxytherapy is the only treatment available for both old and new stretchmarks that visibly repairs the broken collagen and is safe for all skintypes. Carboxytherapy causes the formation of new collagen and subsequently thickens the skin to improve the appearance of the stretchmarks by rebuilding the collagen matrix.