Stretch marks are common. They occur in 50%-80% of the population on different body parts and due to various factors (1). They appear as red, purple, or white narrow and long streaks or lines on your skin. New stretch marks are often purple.
Like any other scars, stretch marks are permanent. However, you can improve their appearance with treatment. This article discusses everything you need to know about purple stretch marks and ways to treat them. Scroll down for more information.
What Are Purple Stretch Marks? How Do You Get Them?
Stretch marks develop when your skin is stretched beyond its capacity. A lot of factors (discussed later in this article) can stretch your skin, causing rapid and abrupt changes in the elastin and collagen fibers. Both elastin and collagen fibers support the skin to keep it healthy. The abnormal stretching damages these fibers. As your skin tries to heal itself, stretch marks develop.
During the early stages, the stretch marks may appear reddish and purple. They may also appear pinkish and reddish-brown, depending on your skin tone. Early stretch marks can be a bit itchy and feel slightly raised when you run your fingers on them.
Purple stretch marks do not develop everywhere. They develop on specific parts.
Where Do Purple Stretch Marks Appear On The Body?
The most common areas where you get stretch marks are:
- Lower back
- Upper arms
Early stretch marks are easier to treat than late stretch marks (also called white stretch marks). This is because early stretch marks respond to treatment. Although you cannot erase them completely, you can improve their appearance and prevent the severity of the marks.
How To Treat Purple Stretch Marks
Microneeding may help minimize early stretch marks. In a study, 16 Korean women underwent three treatments at intervals of four weeks. Seven patients showed excellent improvement (43.8%), while the remaining nine patients showed a minimum to moderate improvement. No significant side effect was reported, except for erythema, mild pain, and spotty bleeding (2).
Tretinoin (Retin-A) is a prescription medication and a form of vitamin A. It may help reduce the appearance of early stretch marks (3). However, it may cause redness, skin irritation, and peeling. Also, avoid using Tretinoin if you are pregnant.
3. Chemical Peeling
Chemical peels are applied to your skin to remove the topmost layer and dead skin cells. This can make the skin smooth. Doctors may also use chemical peels to minimize the appearance of stretch marks. However, you may need multiple sessions.
4. Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is an effective way to improve the appearance of new stretch marks. In a small study, a 585-nm pulsed dye laser with a 10-mm spot improved the appearance of stretch marks (4). In another study, a1064-nm long-pulsed Nd: YAG laser improved immature stretch marks (5).
People often use natural and home remedies for treating stretch marks. But do they work? Find out in the next section.
Home Remedies For Purple Stretch Marks: Do They Work?
There is no science-backed evidence that states that home remedies can help eliminate stretch marks. Topical remedies may have mild effects. Also, it is not yet clear if the ingredients in topical creams and ointments have any specific effect.
A study found that the moisturizing effect of the creams and ointments might be the reason for the improvement in stretch marks (6). Hence, the best you can do is keep your skin well moisturized. You may use plant oils for this purpose.
The following plant oils may help keep the skin moisturized:
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Grape seed oil
- Argan oil
- Sesame oil
- Avocado oil
- Jojoba oil
- Shea butter
These oils prevent transepidermal water loss from the skin and maintain the integrity of the skin’s natural barrier (7). You can also use hyaluronic acid, which is thought to stimulate the fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) and keep the skin hydrated (8).
Above all, you have to watch your diet. When you eat healthy food, your skin gets enough nutrients and stays healthy. This can also help you manage your weight and avoid rapid weight gain.
You may also apply hydrating creams and lotions on the marks, but there is no proof that you will get definite results. However, you can use these remedies as a preventive measure to minimize the appearance of stretch marks, especially if you are prone to them. The following factors put you at risk of developing stretch marks.
Who Can Get Purple Stretch Marks: The Risk Factors
You can develop purple stretch marks if:
- You are pregnant.
- You experience sudden weight gain/loss.
- You are a teenager experiencing a growth spurt.
- You are overweight or obese.
- You are using corticosteroids.
- You are a bodybuilder who is trying to build muscle mass quickly.
- You are dealing with conditions like Cushing’s syndrome and Marfan syndrome.
Is It Possible To Prevent Stretch Marks?
Not always. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing stretch marks:
- Keep your skin moisturized.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Follow a balanced diet. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure your skin and body get the required nutrients.
- If you are pregnant, work with your doctor to maintain a healthy weight and follow a proper diet.
- Exercise regularly so that you can maintain a healthy weight.
Despite trying the suggested remedies and tips, you may not be able to prevent the development of stretch marks. But you can ensure that the scars are not severe by taking good care of yourself. Eventually, they will fade with time.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Q: What is the difference between white and purple stretch marks?
A: Purple stretch marks are fresh ones, and white stretch marks are the older ones.
Q: Do purple stretch marks go away?
A: They don’t go away permanently. They will fade and become less apparent.