Red Stretch Marks: How To Treat Them

by Ramona Sinha

Your skin is elastic, and it can be stretched. However, when it is stretched farther than it is used to, it scars and creates a stretch mark. These marks appear as a band of lines on your skin. Initially, these stretch marks appear red. They gradually change color and turn white. Stretch marks are easier to treat and fade when they are fresh or red. Curious to know how? Scroll down to read more about red stretch marks and ways to get rid of them.

What Are Red Stretch Marks? 

Shutterstock

You might have noticed red lines on your stomach, thighs, arms, or any other body parts. These red lines are red stretch marks or striae rubra. This is a common skin condition that is caused by overstretching the skin. Overstretching your skin damages the elastic fibers in your skin.

Fresh stretch marks usually appear red due to the skin in that area becoming thinner. As a result, the blood vessels present beneath the skin become visible and the stretch marks appear red. However, the redness fades away and the color of the stretch marks changes with time.

Several factors are responsible for the overstretching of skin.

Causes Of Red Stretch Marks

1. Pregnancy

Women usually develop stretch marks during pregnancy. The fibers in the skin around the belly become soft and stretch to make room for the developing fetus. As the embryo grows, the skin stretches and develops stretch marks.

2. Growth Spurt During Puberty

Often, adolescents experience a sudden and rapid growth spurt when they hit puberty. At that time, their body grows and either loses weight or gains weight quickly. This sudden stretching and contracting may leave stretch marks.

3. Rapid Weight Gain Or Weight Loss

When you gain weight in a short period of time, your skin stretches suddenly and develops stretch marks. The same happens when you try to lose weight quickly and go on a diet. That’s why it is advisable to lose or gain weight gradually so that it does not strain your skin.

4. Genetics

If you have a family history of stretch marks, you too may develop them.

5. Corticosteroids And Medications

Using corticosteroids for a long time can bring down the level of collagen in your skin. This affects your skin’s ability to stretch, and you become prone to developing stretch marks.

6. Body Building

When you are trying to build muscles, the rapid growth of muscle mass can also stretch your skin and create stretch marks.

7. Medical Conditions

Rare health conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and Marfan’s syndrome may also cause stretch marks due to various physiological factors associated with the conditions.

You do not get stretch marks on your hands, feet, or face. There are specific body parts where you usually get stretch marks. Check them out below.

Common Body Parts Where You Get Red Stretch Marks

You are most likely to get stretch marks on your:

  • Thighs
  • Breasts
  • Belly
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Abdomen

You may also notice stretch marks on your lower back and on the back of your arms. You are most likely to get stretch on the parts where your body stores more fat.

Red stretch marks are easier to treat as the skin in that particular area can still produce collagen, which can cover up the marks. However, once the stretch marks become old and turn white, it is tough to treat them. With proper treatment, the marks may not go away entirely but fade to a great extent.

How To Treat Red Stretch Marks

Here are some remedies that can help fade red stretch marks.

1. Medical Procedures And Treatment Options

I. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is one of the best ways to deal with red stretch marks. Multiple studies have found that microdermabrasion can help improve the appearance of red stretch marks (1). Microdermabrasion is the process in which a wand-like device with a crystal tip is rubbed on your skin to buff the top layer. This helps make your skin smoother.

2. Microneedling

The needles in the microneedling device poke the skin to boost collagen production. A study done on Korean women found that microneedling can improve the appearance of early stretch marks (2).

3. Laser Therapy

Treating red stretch marks with 1064-nm long-pulsed Nd: YAG laser was found to be effective in improving their appearance. It not only reduces redness but also boosts collagen production, thus improving the appearance of the stretch marks (1).

4. Topical Creams

Tretinoin creams have been found to improve the appearance of red stretch marks. However, they may also cause irritation, redness, and peeling. Pregnant women should also avoid using tretinoin creams (3).

Emollient oils are also beneficial in treating and preventing red stretch marks. Applying emollients helps improve skin elasticity, which prevents and treats early stretch marks. One anti-stretch marks ointment that was studied in Romania included emollient ingredients like argan oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax (4).

5. Chemical Peeling

In this process, skin acids are used to peel away the top layer of your skin, revealing a smoother surface. This might help in gradually fading red stretch marks, though the efficacy of this treatment is unknown (3).

You may even try at-home remedies to treat your red stretch marks. However, there is not enough scientific evidence that these at-home treatments will give you results.

II.  At-Home Treatment Options 

1. Creams And Lotions For Stretch Marks

There are topical creams and lotions available for fading stretch marks. There is no scientific proof for the efficacy of these products and their ability to fix the torn elastic fibers in your skin. However, these creams can moisturize your skin, which may reduce the appearance of early stretch marks.

2. Almond Oil

You can prevent the formation of stretch marks by massaging your skin with almond oil (5). It helps keep your skin moisturized and improves its elasticity. This prevents stretch marks even when your skin stretches during pregnancy.

3. Hyaluronic Acid

As per the American Academy of Dermatology, applying hyaluronic acid on early stretch marks may help reduce their appearance. It can help fade them and make them less noticeable (6).

4. Keep Your Skin Moisturized

Apply emollient ingredients like cocoa butter and beeswax to keep your skin moisturized and prevent stretch marks (4). You may even consider massaging your skin with other emollients such as shea butter, virgin coconut oil, or any other plant oils. Though there is no evidence that these ingredients reduce or prevent stretch marks, they can keep your skin moisturized. This might help in reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

5. Check Your Diet

This is important to prevent sudden weight gain and prevent stretch marks. Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet and avoid junk food. A diet rich in essential vitamins and nutrients also keeps your skin healthy.

Other than these treatments and remedies, there are a few quick fixes for hiding stretch marks that you can use if they are bothering you:

  • Self Tanners: These are available in the form of creams, lotions, and sprays and usually used to give your skin a tanned look. They can help even out your skin tone and hide the stretch marks for a few days.
  • Body Makeup: You may use body makeup to hide your stretch marks. However, remember to use waterproof and transfer-proof makeup so that it stays on your skin even when you are in a humid environment.

Although there are many treatment methods that claim to help you get rid of red stretch marks, the truth is that you cannot make them disappear completely. With proper care and treatment, the marks may only fade and become less noticeable. It is always best to consult a dermatologist to understand the way your skin heals and responds to treatment.

If you have any more questions about red stretch marks and how to treat them, drop them in the comments section below and we will get back to you.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Do red stretch marks fade?

Yes, they fade if treated properly.

How do I know if my stretch marks are new?

If your stretch marks appear reddish, they are newly formed stretch marks.

Will I get stretch marks if I lose weight?

Yes. When you lose or gain weight rapidly through diet and exercise, your skin also changes. It may lose its elasticity and ability to stretch. This can lead to stretch marks.

6 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
scorecardresearch