Stretch marks on the back, also called “striae” amount to tearing of the deeper layers of the skin called the dermis. When the dermis tears, a stretched, thinned-out look that can also be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin results.
Stretch Marks on Back: Causes
There are a number of causes of stretch marks on the back. In many cases, they are a result of rapid weight gain and then loss. Adding a lot of extra muscle to your back area can also cause stretching of the skin that results in stretch marks on the back. Anabolic steroid use can contribute to the problem not only by increasing muscle mass on the back rapidly (and therefore stretching of the skin) but also by the direct effect of steroids on the skin. Certain medical conditions that increase biological steroid levels such as Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease are also known to lead to stretch marks on the back and other body areas.
Stretch Marks On Back: Treatment
Over The Counter
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) products purported to treat back striae. Many of these are backed by little scientific evidence. Amongst the OTC products that have the most research to support their use are those that include these ingredients:
- Vitamin A
Doctor-Provided Back Striae Treatments
The goal of treatment for stretch marks on the back is to rebuild the structure of the skin and decrease pigmentary discrepancies between the stretch mark and the surrounding skin. The most promising treatments appear to be:
- Lasers – help to rebuild missing collagen and elastin and lighten darker stretch marks
- Fractional Laser – similar to lasers
- Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion – promote collagen formation
- Platelet Rich Plasma – use a person’s own blood product to restore skin integrity
Camouflage Tattoos For Stretch Marks On Back
Camouflage tattooing can be a very effective treatment for striae that are lighter than the surrounding skin. This technique works the same way as traditional skin tattoos but makes use of specially formulated tattoo inks that are mixed to precisely match the skin’s natural skin tone. Camouflage tattooing for back striae can be a permanent solution but is not effective for striae on the back that are darker than the surrounding skin.
Stretch marks on the back can be induced by disease, rapid weight gain and loss, putting on muscle mass, and the use of medications (such as pharmaceutical and anabolic steroids). It’s a common problem that’s difficult to treat. OTC products can work but can also be unpredictable. Doctor-provided treatments might show more promise and camouflage tattooing can be a very good option for back striae that are lighter than the surrounding skin.
|Ud-Din, S et al. “Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology : JEADV vol. 30,2 (2016): 211-22. doi:10.1111/jdv.13223|