How to Remove Red Stretch Marks?

Red stretch marks are often annoying, but they have the most treatment options when it comes to removing them. Keep reading.
How to Remove Red Stretch Marks?
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Written and verified by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 02 May, 2023

Red stretch marks are a skin manifestation that occurs quite frequently, especially on skin surfaces that aren’t properly nourished. They’re also the most recent appearance of stretch marks, so their early treatment will prevent their progression to the final form: White stretch marks. Therefore, here’s how to remove red stretch marks.

What are red stretch marks?

Stretch marks are generated as a result of the rapid stretching of the skin. In fact, in the beginning, they’re barely noticeable and have a pinkish color that evolves over time. It’s considered a mild inflammatory response as the skin tissues try to adapt to the consequences of stretching. Initially, they’re erythematous and noticeable, but over time, they turn white and become less obvious.

The causes of red stretch marks

While stretch marks are often closely linked to weight gain, there are multiple causes including the following:

  • Alterations in body weight: Weight gain in a short time causes pressure on the skin, which has to adapt to the increased body mass through stretching. Stretch marks can appear anywhere on the body.
  • Pregnancy: Rapid body growth during this period occurs around the abdomen, hip, and thigh areas.
  • Rapid muscle growth: Weight training can produce red stretch marks due to the increased volume of an area in a short period of time.
  • Growth spurts: The puberty stage and accelerated body growth can be a trigger.
  • Use of corticosteroids: The consumption of corticosteroids for prolonged periods can generate as a side effect the development of red stretch marks.
  • Underlying diseases: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome are characterized by the presence of red striae.
A woman pinching her thigh.
Red stretch marks appear at the peak of the development of the condition and can be improved or eliminated by treatments. If left untreated, stretch marks turn white and become chronic.

Types of stretch marks

Stretch marks can be differentiated by considering their different coloration:

  • Red stretch marks: They represent the acute stage of stretch mark development. A slight itching may even appear. However, this is the stage in which there’s a greater probability of reversing them, as they’re not definitive like white stretch marks are.
  • White stretch marks: This is the most chronic stage of stretch mark formation. Even the progression from red to white stretch marks is gradual and can take quite some time. In turn, treatments to remove them are more invasive and may take longer to show good results.

Discover how to remove red stretch marks

Stretch marks tend to fade over time, but when they’re already fibrotic and white, treatments should be more invasive.

Use specific creams

Currently, there are over-the-counter stretch mark prevention creams on the market that may contain vitamin E, cocoa butter, or shea butter in their ingredients. According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology Association, one of the most influential factors is the correct massage of these products on the skin.

Use rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is a great moisturizer and helps prevent the severity of stretch marks and their development. It also has a high concentration of vitamin A, vitamin C, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid. In addition, it provides great antioxidant properties due to its vitamin C content, while promoting collagen generation and increasing wound healing.

Perform laser treatment

Laser treatment is a physical tool used to improve stretch marks in the beginning. In fact, complications rarely occur when the equipment and parameters are used properly. The American Journal of Clinical Dermatology concludes in a review that laser treatment combined with topical agents provides beneficial effects.

Laser treatment is a good option for improving early stretch marks. In addition, it’s a safe method, as it doesn’t usually produce complications.

Moisturize with cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is used to reduce and prevent the appearance of red stretch marks, as it attempts to keep the skin surface elastic and hydrated. It’s also an oily substance that keeps the skin moisturized and nourishes the skin in a prolonged way to maintain its functions and correct anatomy.

Massage with body oils

The chronic and constant use of body oils, such as almond oil, with daily massages, can reflect important benefits. Argan oil is also very useful for skin care, as it improves elasticity and can prevent and reduce red stretch marks.

Red stretch marks are more than an aesthetic issue

Red stretch marks, although harmless, are a common cause of aesthetic concern that generates distress in those who suffer from them, especially in women. Therefore, removing them has become a requirement for many women when wearing clothing that reveals much of the skin.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Stretch marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them. [Internet] Disponible en:
  • Oakley AM, Patel BC. Stretch Marks. 2021 Aug 11. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 28613776.
  • Aldahan AS, Shah VV, Mlacker S, Samarkandy S, Alsaidan M, Nouri K. Laser and Light Treatments for Striae Distensae: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016 Jun;17(3):239-56. doi: 10.1007/s40257-016-0182-8. PMID: 26923916.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.