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Stripe down my thigh

Q:

I am African American and I have what looks like a stripe down the back of my thighs and the skin is darker on one side of the "stripe" than the other. I don't wear shorts because of this. Can skin resurfacing repair this? If not what can?

A:

 

 We have a very large number of Afro-Americans in our surgical practice. What you are describing is most likely stria or a type of stretch mark.  Be very cautious and careful with laser correction of this defect. You could end up with bleaching or hypopigmentation of your skin. If the practitioner is not first performing a test pattern to determine how you skin will respond then, you are probably in the wrong office. Personally, we do not perform these procedures on Afro-Americans as they often very expensive, extremely risky and are not very effective. Best,

 

  Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

A:

Being Afro-American does increase your risk of pigmentation complications with laser procedures and I would not recommend this to my patients for the problem you describe.  However, you might try a bleaching agent (i.e. 4% Hydroquinone) which you can get from your plastic surgeon to see if this won't help blend the pigmentation in the area of concern.  This is a relatively inexpensive way to go if it works for you.  It may take a month or two to show significant change.  However, when you stop the bleaching agent, the pigmentation variation may return.  You should discuss your concerns with a board certified plastic surgeon or member of the Aesthetic Society.  www.drtoddcase.com

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