Of Stretch Marks and Rashes – Should You be Concerned?

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A lot of people out there are worried about the relationship between stretch marks and rashes. Could one lead to the other? Can you get a rash over your stretch marks? These are questions that regularly pop across the Internet. In this article, I’ll be doing my best to answer these questions and assuage any fears that might be bothering you.

We’ll examine the potential link between stretch marks and rashes and trying to link them with actual scientific data.

Reminder: Not everything you read online is an actual fact, and you shouldn’t let random opinions panic you, as long as they are not supported by substantial evidence (e.g., scientific studies).

Can Stretch Marks Look Like A Rash?

Several people online seem to have this problem – a weird sort of rash appearing on their skin, which they assume to be the early stages of stretch marks. However, there is no evidence to support such a possibility. While stretch marks will appear as bright red in the beginning and may even feel itchy or hurt you, that does not equate to a rash. Typically, stretch marks will have a stripey look we all expect from them – red streaks that may be slightly raised.

On the other hand, a rash tends to be red, swollen, with little bumps covering the skin, so even if the rash looks like stretch marks, it’s usually one or the other, but not both.

There are also some online claims that stretch marks are associated with Bartonella infection, but that is simply not the case.

PUPPP Rash and Stretch Marks: Can PUPPP cause stretch marks?

This is a far more pertinent question, so let’s take a closer look at it.

PUPPP ( Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) rash is a fairly common occurrence in pregnant women, often appearing in the third trimester. Most commonly, PUPPP rash affects the abdomen area, starting around the belly button. It can spread to other areas, such as the thighs or buttocks, but typically won’t go past the breasts.

PUPPP rash can look a lot like hives, and pustules often look like these tiny, pink pimples. They can be extremely itchy and cause serious discomfort.

But is it related to stretch marks?

Yes and no. The reason PUPPP rash appears is the same reason why you get stretch marks – your skin can not take the rapid stretching that often happens during pregnancy. Women who are on their first pregnancy or who are pregnant with more than one child are particularly at risk of developing PUPPP rash.

PUPPP rash can often form directly on the stretch marks, making the area particularly hard to endure since the itchiness and discomfort of the rash will add to the stretch mark’s initial itchiness.

However, PUPPP rash is not caused by your stretch marks, nor does it cause stretch marks. Usually, stretch marks will occur earlier in the pregnancy (usually around the second trimester) than the PUPPP rash, making it physically impossible for the rash to cause stretch marks.

If you experience a rash on your stretch marks while not pregnant, it is still unlikely that it is caused by your stretch marks or vice-versa. Rashes while not pregnant, may be related to various issues, from insect bites to contact dermatitis, psoriasis, or hot tub rash. However, their appearance directly on the stretch mark is a coincidence and not usually related.

Why Are Stretch Marks So Itchy?

A problem that a lot of people seem to encounter is that their stretch marks itch like crazy. This itchiness is, in fact, one of the main reasons for the above rash/stretch marks confusion. Since both these conditions can be itchy, some people assume they’re the same thing. They’re not.

To explain this, let’s take a look at why stretch marks get so itchy in the first place.

First of all, stretch marks will only be itchy for a brief period of time, usually in the very early stages. As you may or may not know, stretch marks go through a natural progression from red (and itchy) to white or silvery in color (and not itchy).

Remember, stretch marks appear as a sort of “cry for help” from your skin. When it is forced to stretch too much too fast, your skin tears on the inside, which is what leads to those infamous streaks.

This is also the reason why a lot of early stretch marks may feel itchy – it’s just another sign of your skin struggling to accommodate its rapid expansion and should not be a cause for concern.

If you are someone with naturally dry skin, then you know that your skin may start feeling itchy and irritated without proper hydration. This itching commonly happens in winter or other particularly drying periods, and it’s the same thing that happens with stretch marks.

My Stretch Marks Start Itching While Losing Weight!

Okay, so it makes sense why your stretch marks are itching when you put on weight, but what about the other way around? Well, stretch marks are not exclusive to weight gain, and they can also appear when you lose a significant amount of weight. Typically, this happens because your skin is struggling to adapt to this new form.

Do itchy stretch marks go away?

Well, the itch does go away, in time, but the stretch marks will be much harder to get rid of. That’s because the stretch mark has formed on the mid-layer of skin (the dermis) and is essentially a scar, which will need a lot of treatment and time to repair itself and fade to a certain extent (it’s very rare for stretch marks to disappear completely.)

How Should You Treat Itchy Stretch Marks?

Luckily for you, itchy stretch marks are a very common occurrence, so there are plenty of excellent products out there, designed especially to soothe the itch. What you want from a cream, in this case, is, first of all, hydration. The reason why your skin itches in the first place is that it does not have an adequate amount of collagen and elastin (two components that ease stretching). So you’ll want a good moisturizer that encourages the production of these two components.

Some excellent, naturally moisturizing ingredients include:

The next thing you’ll want from your stretch mark cream is a relief for itchy skin. Look for ingredients noted for their soothing properties, such as:

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark Lotion is formulated especially with collagen and elastin to promote skin regeneration and itch relief. TriLastin Intensive Stretch Mark Cream, likewise, boosts collagen and elastin among its ingredients and niacinamide, which is another potent moisturizer.

Bottom Line

There is no scientific link between stretch marks and rashes. While it’s possible to get a rash over the stretch marks (such as PUPPP rash), it is not caused by stretch marks, nor are the streaks a result of the rash.

When in doubt, always consult your doctor. I hope this article has answered some of your questions on the subject!