If you get pregnancy stretch marks, you might wonder what the color means. Is there a difference between red, purple and white stretch marks?
Varying colored stretch marks can signal different phases in the healing process. In this guide, we’ll go over what each mean and what you can do to prevent and treat them.
Read on to learn about white, purple and red stretch marks during pregnancy.
What Causes Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
Stretch marks are a type of scar that appears as a streaky-colored indent. They can vary in color based on how they’re caused and the healing process.
When stretch marks first occur, they might feel a little raised before they sink lower. Itching is also a common sign.
Stretch marks happen when the skin is stretched too quickly. When the skin slowly stretches, such as a slow weight gain, the skin has time to adapt. On the other hand, a sudden change can tear the structures in your skin tissue.
Most commonly, stretch marks happen when you gain weight. Between 50 to 90% of pregnant women get stretch marks. As you can imagine, growing a baby belly in 9 months puts some extra pressure on your skin.
Any person can get stretch marks and they can occur on any area that’s gained weight rapidly, including:
- Upper arms
- Hips or “love handle” area
During pregnancy specifically, you’re more likely to get stretch marks in these areas:
While you might be able to control weight gain in some situations, it may be more difficult to control when you’re pregnant. Although you can eat healthy, you need a baby belly for a healthy pregnancy, even if it causes some marks. If this bothers you, consider that marks typically fade away with time, but your baby is forever. It’s worth it!
Stretch Marks During Pregnancy: Red, Purple, White, Silver
If you’re seeing new scars on your body, you might be wondering if they’re stretch marks. If you’ve never had them before, a quick image search will show they can be a variety of colors. The differences in color are caused by a few different factors.
Red Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are red because of the blood vessels under your skin. This usually means the stretch mark is fresh. Although you might be disappointed to see them, this can be good news: stretch marks are easiest to treat early!
Although they’ll fade over time, some efforts can speed up the process and ensure the most minimal appearance.
- Use a stretch mark oil or cream and massage into skin
- If you’re still going through weight gain, use massage to prevent further stretch marks
Purple Stretch Marks
Another common color for new stretch marks is purple. Similar to red stretch marks, these are also caused by blood vessels through the skin. Similar to a bruise, recent stretch marks can be varying hues of red and/or purple.
Silver/White Stretch Marks
White stretch marks are typically older scars. As your blood vessels narrow, it becomes harder for your body to produce collagen. Collagen helps elasticity and encourages healing. Because these marks are older, they are usually harder to treat. A stretch mark treatment on a red scar might have drastic results while results on a white mark may be minimal.
If you want to reduce the look of stretch marks, it’s best to begin treatment before they reach this stage since healing will be easier. However, to treat white stretch marks:
- Use a stretch mark oil or cream
- Procedures can improve stubborn marks (options include microdermabrasion, laser therapy, etc.)
Are You More Prone to Stretch Marks?
While not everyone will get stretch marks during pregnancy, many will. How do you know if you’ll develop them? There’s no way to know for sure, but there’s a few things that make you more likely to get stretch marks.
- Unfortunately, you can’t control your genetics. One study suggested that some people are genetically prone to stretch marks while others aren’t. One explanation is that higher levels of cortisone can weaken skin elasticity, which can make scars more likely. How can you tell if you’re genetically prone to stretch marks? Ask your parents or grandparents if they’ve also experienced stretch marks.
- You’re young.Women who get pregnant while they’re young are more likely to develop stretch marks according to a 2017 study.
- You’ve had stretch marks before.If you’ve experienced stretch marks in the past, you’re likely to develop them during pregnancy too. Previous weight gain or puberty stretch marks means you may be generally prone to them.
3 Tips to Prevent Stretch Marks
Despite your best efforts, you might still develop stretch marks. However, if you don’t like the look of them, there’s some things you can try. These are the three most important pregnancy stretch mark prevention tips.
Control Weight Gain
You can’t control all of your weight gain during pregnancy, but you can control a portion of it. Your baby will grow as big as she needs to, but your health choices play a large role too. As you know, there’s two main factors in weight gain:
- It’s true that you’re eating for two now, so you should be consuming more. However, you might overestimate how much. You only need about 300 extra calories a day. The type of food you eat matters too. Although you might crave sugary treats, that’s not transferring extra nutrients to your baby. To improve your habits, you don’t necessarily need to go on a “diet.” Read our guide: Intuitive Eating During Pregnancy: What It Is & Why You Should Do It.
- The second factor is always physical activity. Even if you don’t typically enjoy exercise, there’s many ways you can incorporate it into your day. The trick is finding the right activity for you. For options, read 11 Easy and Super Fun Pregnancy Exercise Ideas That You’ll Actually Do.
Massage is beneficial during pregnancy for many reasons. Yet another is that it can help prevent stretch marks. In fact, when prevention oils are tested in trials, they are typically massaged into the skin because experts know that’s what works best.
Even when daily massage was used with regular olive oil, volunteers still had a lower incidence of stretch marks. The authors say this benefit isn’t attributed to oil but caused by the effect of massage alone.
Incorporating massage into your self-care ritual can help minimize the number of stretch marks that form. Ask your partner for a massage using oil or book a professional prenatal massage.
You can also use massage when you’re applying your stretch mark prevention oil. Instead of wiping it on your skin, take a few moments to work it in by massaging the area.
Use Prevention Oils
Many people use stretch mark oils after they’ve developed, but using products before can help prevent them in the first place. It’s important to know that oils can’t fully prevent stretch marks—that’s mainly up to your genetics. However, if you develop them, it can minimize their severity and appearance.
If you’re searching for a product to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, we recommend the MamaDerma line. The prevention oil is formulated with ingredients that have been clinically shown to reduce the severity of stretch marks compared to other regular oils. Massage this oil into your skin twice a day. Apply to areas where you’re personally prone to stretch marks (typically the stomach, breast and hips during pregnancy).
Try the Quick-Absorb MamaDerma Stretch Mark Oil!
Can Stretch Marks Go Away? Stretch Mark Treatments
Stretch marks fade over time. Sometimes, a white or silver scar may remain. Other times, it may heal completely and be unnoticeable.
To help the healing process, use a stretch mark treatment product as soon as you notice red/purple marks. Since massage has been shown to help stretch marks, make sure to always massage products into affected areas.
MamaDerma Stretch Mark Repair Cream with Roller
To help massage this cream into your skin, it comes with a roller head to stimulate collagen production. Apply the cream twice daily using the roller.
Learn More About MamaDerma Stretch Mark Repair Cream
MamaDerma Silicone Stretch Mark Spray
Simply spray and spread over your stretch marks. The medical-grade silicone helps lock in hydration and prevent further pulling. This encourages healing and helps prevent further damage. It’s also suitable to use on C-section scars.
Learn More About MamaDerma Silicone Stretch Mark Spray
Summary: Stretch Marks During Pregnancy by Color
Stretch marks are common during pregnancy and you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about them. However, if you’d rather minimize their appearance, there’s a few things you can do to prevent them. If stretch marks form anyway, you may wonder what their color means. Red and purple stretch marks are usually new scars—the best time to apply treatment products! White stretch marks are older and are typically more difficult to treat.