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Striae distensae in darker skin types: the influence of melanocyte mechanobiology


Gérald E Piérard, Department of Dermatopathologty, CHU du Sart Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium, E-mail:


Introduction   Striae distensae in White people are commonly described as being reddish at first and turning white in time. This dual perception has been challenged. Indeed, the color difference between striae distensae and their surrounding skin varies on a wide range in part depending upon typology.

Aim   To study striae nigrae that are found only in subjects of darker complexion.

Materials and methods   In the present study conducted in 44 darker skin adults, dermoscopy was combined to reflectance colorimetry.

Results   Striae nigrae exhibited hypermelanosis of the epidermal rete ridges crossing transversally the lesions in a laddering pattern. By contrast, striae albae showed only faint melanotic networks.

Conclusions   As striae distensae are in part under the influence of skin stretching, their colors are likely to be controlled by some mechanobiological process activating or inhibiting melanogenesis in people of darker complexion. No argument involving an inflammatory mechanism is supported by the present observations.