Stretch marks come in a variety of colors.
There are yellow stretch marks over skin that has been stretched so violently that is has been bruised. There are brown stretch marks over skin that has dried out so badly it has become leathery.
There are white stretch marks where muscles grew and then shrank back to the original size, and there are red marks where actively growing skin is not able to keep up with the growth of tissues beneath it. Red stretch mark removal is by far easier than the removal of other types.
What is the Difference between Red and White Stretch Marks
A lot of people wonder what the difference between red and white stretch marks is? And we’d like to address that, for a second, before we move on to the best creams for stretch marks.
The difference between red (striae rubra) and white (striae distensae alba) stretch marks is time, mainly.
What Exactly is A Red Stretch Mark?
Red marks are wounds basically, and the color comes from the blood vessels visible underneath the skin. Red marks appear as the skin stretches, and it’s easiest to treat these fresh marks because, at this point, the wounds in your skin are still trying to heal themselves, so may respond better to treatment.
As with any wound, the color eventually will fade, regardless of the mark has been treated. And since a lot of these stretch marks aren’t treated in time, they’re allowed to sit and turn from an angry red to a faded pink, or often white.
White stretch marks have usually been there for a while (at least a year) and are far harder to treat. See, white marks signify a lack of collagen in that area of the body and standard stretch mark treatments, such as topical hydrating creams, won’t really do much, because by then, it’s too late to restore collagen to the affected skin. Often, white marks require laser treatment – but we’ll talk more about them in another article.
For now, let’s turn our attention to red stretch marks and what’s our best bet for treating them.
What Causes a Red Stretch Mark
The skin is held together by long filaments of a protein called fibrin. The skin makes fibrin from collagen, manufactured inside the skin itself from certain amino acids, with the help of vitamin C.
The microscopic chains of fibrin are tough, but they are not unbreakable. Certain conditions commonly cause the growth of tissues beneath the skin that is so fast that the skin cannot make enough collagen to make enough fibrin to cover them up. The pressure on the skin breaks the fibrin and causes a stretch mark.
Red stretch marks occur in about:
- 100 percent of men who use testosterone replacement therapy,
- 100 percent of bodybuilders who use androstenedione or steroids (legal or illegal), although the presence of stretch marks is not proof of using stretch marks,
- 90 percent of bodybuilders who not use steroids,
- 90 percent of women during pregnancy,
- 70 percent of teenaged girls about age 13, and
- 40 percent of teenaged boys participating in sports, causing red stretch marks on thighs, buttocks, and arms, as well as around the shoulders.
Redness is a sign of bleeding, and bleeding is a sign that the skin tissue is still growing.
Red stretch mark removal is much easier while the skin is still actively trying to form new collagen. This is especially true of red stretch marks on arms and hips.
Treating a Red Stretch Mark
When dealing with a red stretch mark, it is always best to start with the most straightforward treatments first.
A lanolin-based cream like Mother’s Friend may be all that is needed if the stretch mark is not associated with rapid muscle growth. Although this product is marketed to expectant mothers, it can be useful for men and women of all ages, from teens to nonagenarians.
If the red stretch mark appears after exercise, then gentle stimulation of the skin to make more collagen is the next step. This can be done with products that contain the Ayuvedic herb Gotu kola, like Mederma, in combination with the gentle use of skin rollers.
And if these home remedies for stretch marks don’t get results in six to eight weeks, then it is a good idea to see a dermatologist. Several non-surgical techniques can get rid of stretch marks for good in most skin types. The critical thing to remember is that the darker the skin, the gentler the treatment. Darker skin makes repair pigments that cause permanent discoloration when treatment is too vigorous.