Red vs. White Stretch Marks: What Does The Color of Your Stretch Marks Mean?

If you’ve ever been pregnant, or gone through some intense weight fluctuations, you may have noticed that some stretch marks first appear red. This has many wondering, “is it bad if your stretch marks are red?” In short, no, not at all! The color of your stretch marks is simply an indictor of where in the healing stage these scars are in. Let’s discuss further.

What Are Stretch Marks?

To start, it’s helpful know what exactly stretch marks are, and what causes them. When the outer layer of skin is stretched and pulled beyond its ability to retract naturally, the skin cells become separated and the interstitial space between cells can become damaged. If enough stretching occurs, the skin can become loosened and will scar much like any other wound. As stretched skin heals (as it must), the interior spaces are filled with scar tissue. 

As you may be aware, scar tissue starts out reddish, pink, and purple, and fades to a clear and shiny color over time. These thin, indented scars of varying colors are what we call stretch marks.

What Causes Stretch Marks?

So what causes this rapid healing & scarring that lead to these pesky marks? A number of things can cause stretch marks. The most commonly known one, of course, is pregnancy, but it’s far from the only one. Intense fluctuations in weight (be it weight loss or weight gain) that can come with dieting, illness, growth spurts, etc. are also common culprits. Hormonal changes (not associated with pregnancy), as well as genetics, and even simply working out can also be stretch mark causes as well.

Stages of Stretch Mark Healing:

So what’s the difference between red and white stretch marks? Simply put, it’s just the stage of healing your mark is in! Less intense stretch marks may heal quickly, and seemingly skip the red and purple stage, which is why some marks from growth spurts or weight training may appear white all along. Intense experiences like pregnancy, meanwhile, may leave you with more noticeable red marks. 

Many factors can go into the current color of your stretch marks, which is why they come in varying shades. Stretch mark treatment (such as our Stretch Mark Cream) is also a great antidote for helping the healing process along (or preventing marks altogether, if used early enough!).

The Red & Purple Stage

Scar tissue fills in the spaces left behind by the stretching of your skin– regardless of the cause of your stretch marks. Since scar tissue is used to repair this type of wound, you can expect your stretch marks to appear reddish or purple when they first form. Before this, you may not even know that your skin is stretching– unless you have the tell-tale itchiness in the area.

The Light & Shiny Stage

After the scar tissue has integrated into the rest of your skin’s structure fully, your body begins to soften and reconstruct it. Over time, the reddish, purple hue will fade to a lighter shade of your skin tone, but this may take up to a year. At this point, you can expect that the appearance of your stretch marks will change very little.

The Importance of Early Stretch Mark Treatment

Since stretch marks are, in fact, scars, you need to treat them like scars. Wounds of all kinds heal much better when you supply the necessary skin-building components to the surface of the wound. Our bodies are good at healing themselves, but if you want your scars to be less visible, you should start applying stretch mark treatment as soon as you feel the itching. This is because– at this stage– the damage is already done and the healing process is beginning.

Rejuvaskin’s Stretch Mark Cream

Here at Rejuvaskin, we’ve developed a product that can help prevent the final impact of stretch mark scarring. Including botanicals like aloe vera and cocoa butter, our Stretch Mark Cream is gentle on the skin and soothing, even to recently damaged, stretched skin. Pick up some today and start applying at the earliest stages of your stretch mark’s development for optimal results.