The Differences Between Red and White Stretch Marks

by Jamie Poteat ; Updated September 28, 2017

Changes in the body, such as quick growth or weight gain, can overstretch the tissue under the skin and tear it, resulting in stretch marks. These scars do not require medical attention, but many people consider them unsightly. There are two different kinds of stretch marks. In general, red stretch marks are newer ones and white stretch marks are older, mature ones.

Red Stretch Marks

Red stretch marks are often a normal part of puberty for girls and boys. When a body gains weight fast, stretch marks appear, often on the stomach, arms and legs. Young men can get stretch marks from participating in body altering sports such as football and weight lifting. Women get them on their abdomen from pregnancy. At first, stretch marks are red, almost purple, but lighten over time.

White Stretch Marks

When stretch marks get older and matured, they turn white. Although they never go away, they may get smoother over time, and could also turn silver. Another cause for white stretch marks is inflammation and collagen remodeling, which may lead to the loss of pigment and turns red stretch marks to white.

Treatment for Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are permanent. Some creams claim to hide the appearance, but they just plump up the skin to hide the marks. Once you stop using the cream, the marks return. Some doctors offer laser treatments--Aramis Quantel--to reduce the appearance permanently. The treatment stimulates new collagen through thermal energy. Collagen formation around a stretch mark will minimize it. Laser treatment will not change the texture of skin, such as shiny or crepe-like texture, but it will improve the skin around the stretch marks. Another laser treatment that doctors use is the Q-YAG V, which helps to reduce the red color in stretch marks. The effect of laser treatment can vary in each patient since no stretch mark and skin condition are the same.

About the Author

Jamie Poteat started writing professionally in 1990. She works for NAResearch, and writes all of the new user documentation for the company. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Poteat has also published two books, "The Dog Treat Cookbook" and "Our Family's Recipe Favorites." She holds an Associates of Arts in sociology from North GA Technical College.