All the Different Stretch Mark Colors – Explained

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While information is abundant out there on how to treat stretch marks, it can be confusing to navigate between all the different stretch mark colors. You invariably hit upon questions such as “what does it mean if my stretch marks are turning red?”.

In this article, we aim to give you as complete as possible a guide to what each color means.

So, What Colors are There?

Stretch mark colors differ based on the age of the scar itself, as well as the shade of the skin they’re occurring on.

In broad terms, there are two ‘big’ color categories, and these are red stretch marks and white stretch marks.

Aside from these two, stretch marks can also be a darker shade of pink, dark brown, silver, purple, or even black.

What do the Different Colors Mean?

The red marks (striae rubrae) are younger and more fresh on the surface of the skin, and while they may appear uglier or more severe, they are, in fact, easier to treat. This is because, at this stage, your body is naturally looking to heal the damage. By boosting the amount of collagen in your stretched skin, you have a chance of treating the red stretch marks before they have time to ‘settle in’.

At the very early stages, budding stretch marks can appear pink, in color.

The white marks (striae albae) are typically more than a year old and have had time to fade, but also become more ‘deep-set’ into the skin, that is to say, your skin has by now adjusted to the lack of collagen and has learned to adapt to it, which makes white stretch marks far more challenging to treat.

What does It Mean When Your Stretch Marks Change Color?

All of the other shades of stretch marks are a gradual journey from fresh to old and become progressively harder to heal.

Darker, almost black stretch marks (striae nigrae) tend to appear in darker complexions. This is also the case for blueish or purple stretch marks (striae caerulea), as they, too, affect darker skin types. However, lighter skin types can also have purple-looking scars. Again, this is to do with the blood vessels visible through the skin.

In these stages, the stretch marks are still new and should be treated either with the use of hydrating topical creams or oils or by the use of lasers, or other such methods. We have several articles on the treatments of different types of stretch marks, which we highly encourage you to check out.

How do I get Rid of Dark Stretch Marks?

The number one rule in the treatment of stretch marks is hydration. There are several stretch mark creams, and body butters available that contain highly nurturing ingredients (such as shea butter). It’s recommended that you begin using these as soon as you notice the stretch marks to feet your moisture-starved skin.

You can also use stretch mark oils (even more hydrating) and exfoliate regularly (be careful to be very gentle, though), to get rid of dead and damaged skin cells. If all these fail, you can use a retinol-based cream (very useful in lightening skin) or even employ laser treatment.

Learn more about Dark Stretch Marks

Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks the Same Thing?

Then, we have the stretch marks that generally occur during pregnancy, known as striae gravidarum. Now, pregnancy stretch marks are a bit different from those arising from other causes (such as bodybuilding or growth spurts).

Pregnancy stretch marks happen due to the stretching of the skin, of course, but are also influenced by the different hormone levels in the body during pregnancy. It is believed that the increased amount of hormones attracts more water to the skin, which in turn, loosens the bond between collagen fibers, making it easier for the skin to tear.

Pregnancy stretch marks appear pink in color, at first. In women with darker skin, stretch marks tend to be of a lighter color. Afterward, as the skin continues to stretch, the marks will turn from light pink to a brighter red and sometimes even brown color. At this stage, the marks can still be treated.

Usually, the red phase lasts a while, varying from a few months after birth to a year or two. Afterward, the stretch marks will increasingly fade away, turning to a silver-white shade. Again, these are much harder to treat.

So basically, yes and no. Pregnancy stretch marks are very similar to regular ones, though other factors also influence them.

But like regular stretch marks, they are best treated as promptly as possible. In fact, it’s recommended that you begin moisturizing your skin as soon as you find out you’re expecting – the more hydrated you are, the less your skin will tear.