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The colors and stages of stretch marks

Updated January 7, 2021

Man stretching before workout

If you know the basics of stretch marks, you should also know that they can be of different colors. Their color usually tells you their age and severity. Before going into the details of their colors and stages, it is important for you to understand that different people can define colors differently (hint: the golden/white or black/blue dress mystery). In most cases, people define the color of stretch marks based on how it “appears” to them. It is not that stretch marks exist in all the colors of the rainbow, but it can appear to the looker that way.
You mainly classify them as red stretch marks and white stretch marks. All the different shades people talk about are slight variations of red and white. Let’s get to know a bit more about the two main types.

Red stretch marks

It is the slight variations of red that people can often define as pink, purple, or even blackish at times. It is not their fault, the color of a person’s skin can make red look purple or pink. However, red, purple, or pink stretch marks are the fresh ones. They have just appeared on your skin and can seem quite painful to look at even when they are not. The good news is that this is the stage when you can best treat them. They are fresh and will respond readily to any authentic treatment.

Topical creams are often a recommendable treatment for red (or call them purple or pink) stretch marks. The second viable option is pulsed dye. That’s a laser treatment but don’t forget, you are not to expect your stretch marks to vanish magically even after this treatment. The purpose of any of these treatments is to promote the growth of skin cells so the scars will fade away fast. In medical terms, you call the red stretch marks striae rubra.

White stretch marks

It’s the white stretch marks that people would often refer to as silvery or grayish. Once again, your perception of their color depends heavily on the skin complexion of the person who has the stretch marks. The crucial piece of information here is that they are old stretch marks. Their white, silvery or grayish color is a sign that they are dying. The bad news is that treatments will not work at this stage irrespective of the nature of the treatment. Microdermabrasion is often a recommendation but you are still taking a chance—there are no guaranteed results.

On the fun side, you can scare your friends by telling them you have striae distensae alba, which is just a scary medical term for white stretch marks. Or if you don’t have gray hair to back your “I’m a mature person who’s seen enough” claim, you could use your white stretch marks for support because they are also referred to as matured stretch marks.

In the end

You want to keep a healthy skincare routine to prevent stretch marks from appearing in the first place. If you fail at that, treat them as soon as you notice the red ones. If the stretch marks have already matured, try to determine how much they are bothering you and only spend your money if you can’t their appearance.