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How To Remove Red Stretch Marks

    How To Remove Red Stretch Marks

    Stretch marks are a source of frustration for people who develop them. While red stretch marks are most frequently seen, the range in color reaches purple and brown before eventually settling as light or white streaks. Why exactly do people develop stretch marks. Can they be removed? Are there ways to stop them from developing? Here’s how to remove red stretch marks.

    What Are Stretch Marks?

    Striae distensae or stretch marks are a permanent type of dermal scarring. They can be the result of pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, or even genetics. In 90% of pregnant women, stretch marks tend to appear on the abdomen and/or breasts during the last trimester before giving birth.

    Stretch marks tend to appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, or other places on the body.


    Stretch marks don’t all look alike. They vary depending on how long you’ve had them, what caused them, where they are on your body, and the type of skin you have. Common variations include:

    • Indented streaks or lines on the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks, or other places on the body
    • Pink, red, black, blue, or purple streaks
    • Bright streaks that fade to a lighter color
    • Streaks covering large areas of the body

    Anyone can develop stretch marks, but some factors increase your likelihood of getting them, including:

    • Being female
    • Having a personal or family history of stretch marks
    • Being pregnant, especially if you’re young
    • Rapid growth in adolescence
    • Rapidly gaining or losing weight
    • Using corticosteroids
    • Having breast enlargement surgery
    • Exercising and using anabolic steroids
    • Having a genetic disorder such as Cushing’s syndrome or Marfan syndrome

    How To Remove Red Stretch Marks

    Stretch marks do not require treatment and often fade over time. In some cases, though, stretch marks may never disappear completely. Dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser surgery, or creams might be of help in helping to make stretch marks fade away.

    It has been argued that effective treatment of stretch marks should be instituted during the active stage, well before the scarring process is complete.

    Despite technically having no solutions, there are treatments that are available for how to remove red stretch marks and other types of scarring. None of these have been proven to be more consistently successful than the others.

    Method #1 for How To Remove Red Stretch Marks: Retinoid Cream

    Derived from vitamin A, retinoids — such as tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Avita) — that you apply to your skin may improve the appearance of stretch marks less than a few months old. Tretinoin, when it works, helps to rebuild a protein in the skin called collagen, making the stretch marks look more like your normal skin. However, tretinoin can irritate your skin.

    If you’re pregnant or nursing, talk with your doctor about other treatment options, because possible side effects of retinoid cream may affect the baby.

    Method #2 for How To Remove Red Stretch Marks: Light and Laser Therapies

    A variety of light and laser therapies are available that might stimulate the growth of collagen or promote elasticity. Your doctor can help you determine which technique is appropriate for you.

    Method #3 for How To Remove Red Stretch Marks: Microneedling

    This type of treatment involves a hand-held device with tiny needles that stimulate collagen growth. This technique has less risk of pigmentation changes than does laser therapy so is the preferred initial approach for people with skin of color.

    A 2017 study saw calcium hydroxylapatite combined with microneedling and ascorbic acid to treat stretch marks. That study concluded that combining 1:1 diluted calcium hydoxylapatite with microneedling and topical ascorbic proved to be safe and effective for treating stretch marks.

    Oils and Natural Remedies

    In 2009, another study reported on the application of unproven oils and natural remedies as a treatment for how to remove red stretch marks. The underlying principle for this use would probably be keeping the skin well hydrated. Sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and castor oil and applying seaweed wraps have these properties. Other remedies such as comfrey, hypericum, maritime pine, equisetum, slippery elm, and wheat grass, and eucalyptus tree oil are all used in creams or oils, but no efficacy studies have been performed to support these practices.

    Other studies conducted in 1996 and 2012 have proven to be inconclusive regarding the use of topical preparations in the prevention of stretch marks during pregnancy. Trofolastin cream worked in some women, verum ointment may be helpful, but the lack of placebo may have shown the benefit of massage alone.

    Key Takeaways

    Stretch marks are a natural occurrence for pregnant women in their third trimester. There are a number of treatments for how to remove red stretch marks. But since no treatments have proven to work definitively, it is still advised to let time take its natural course as the stretch marks fade away.

    Learn more about Skin Health here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


    Calcium Hydroxylapatite Combined with Microneedling and Ascorbic Acid is Effective for Treating Stretch Marks, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5640351/, Accessed December 16, 2021

    Stretch marks, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stretch-marks/symptoms-causes/syc-20351139, Accessed December 16, 2021

    Striae Distensae (Stretch Marks) and Different Modalities of Therapy: An Update, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01094.x?casa_token=yiotnNvXmcsAAAAA%3A_hIYNjpFk6YeHugyaeLNQPt5eheYc7eFoIWaieaH7NwGiB5agKBXV4ED8TJSou-vRvb5JltV4mpRsS0, Accessed December 16, 2021

    Topical preparations for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy, https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000066.pub2/abstract, Accessed December 16, 2021

    Creams for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy, https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000066/abstract, Accessed December 16, 2021

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    Written by Jason Inocencio Updated Aug 19
    Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza
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