BACKGROUND. Striae distensae, or stretch marks, are a very common cosmetic problem. The successful management of stretch marks has long been a source of frustration and curiosity for both the clinician and the researcher. Recent studies suggest lasers may have a role in their management. As yet, no study has reported on the effects of either of these lasers in the treatment of stretch marks on persons with skin types 4 to 6. OBJECTIVE. To assess the efficacy of short pulsed CO2 laser and pulsed dye laser for the treatment of stretch marks in skin types 4, 5, and 6. METHODS. Four patients were initially enrolled in the study. All were female with abdominal stretch marks, present for a range of 8 to 19 years. The patients had skin types ranging from 4 to 6. The test area consisted of a stretch mark long enough to be divided into three contiguous 2 cm sections, labeled A, B, and C. Section A served as the short pulsed CO2 test site, section B served as a control, while section C served as the 585 nm pulsed dye site. Patients were seen for evaluation after 1 week, then every 4 weeks for a total of 20 weeks. Patients were evaluated subjectively by the investigators, and the patients' own self-evaluation was reported as well. RESULTS. Following the 585 nm pulse dye laser, at 20 week follow-up patients with type 4 skin showed no improvement, while type 6 skin showed hyperpigmentation. The short pulsed CO2 test site showed persistent erythema in type 4 skin and marked hyperpigmentation in type 6 skin. CONCLUSIONS. For patients with types 4, 5, and 6 skin, laser treatment of striae should be avoided or used with great caution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas