Medical Q&As

Striae - what are they?

I have noticed red marks at the top of my leg. They are about 1 inch long and have been there for a while. I am too embarrassed to show my GP, as she is a woman. What do you think they are?

There is a perennial difficulty in giving opinions on skin conditions when you donít have the opportunity of looking at the rash or skin blemish. That being said these marks sound like striae, which is the medical term for stretch marks. Striae are linear purple or red marks that commonly occur on the thighs and flanks. They result from rapid stretching of the skin, which may occur with obesity and adolescent growth spurts. Pregnancy is the commonest cause of stretch marks in women. Sometimes striae occur as a result of overuse of potent steroid creams. Striae usually fade over time leaving a white mark that blends in with the surrounding skin.