What are Red Stretch Marks?
Red stretch marks, dermatologically known as Striae rubra, are stretch marks that are a deep red, purple or mahogany color. These stretch marks tend to be newer stretch marks.
Stretch marks form when the skin stretches too fast and the dermis cannot expand enough to accommodate the continued expansion of the body (or the belly in your and other pregnant womens’ cases). When this happens, the dermal layer of the skin, the layer beneath the epidermis, tears. This exposes the blood vessels underneath and causes the red coloration.
Anti-Stretch Mark Creams
There are a number of anti-stretch mark creams in the market. Most of them are just deep moisturizers that help your skin retain its moisture and elasticity. As such, using anti-stretch mark creams can be a great option for preventing your current marks from getting worse. You can maximize the benefit of these creams by using them together with other kinds of treatments. Here are some vitamins, nutrients and minerals to look out for when choosing your anti-stretch mark cream.
- Vitamin C: An essential part in the synthesis of the protein collagen. The protein that makes up our skin, the multicellular matrix of the dermis and some other connective tissues.
- Cocoa Butter: An edible vegetable fat extracted from the Cocoa plant, cocoa butter has a lot of known benefits. Cocoa butter is a known deep moisturizer, healing skin problems related to sensitive skin such as eczema and dermatitis.
- Vitamin E: One of the best and most known anti-oxidants. Vitamin E encourages the healing of your stretch marks by neutralizing toxins therefore making the healing process for efficient.
- Shea Butter: Similar to Cocoa butter, Shea butter is also a deep moisturizer.
Do not Use Anything with Tretinoin and Retinol
Honestly, there is only one topical treatment that has clinical trials to back it up and this is Tretinoin (Retinol or any other Vitamin A derivative). These compounds have been found to help with the discoloration in stretch marks by encouraging blood vessel constriction. It also encourages stretch mark healing by allegedly stimulating fibroblast function.
Word of caution however, DO NOT use anything with Vitamin A or Vitamin A derivatives when you are either pregnant or nursing. These compounds are known teratogens, meaning they can cause congenital defects in your child, and should be avoided by all cost by all pregnant and nursing women.
Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment
We only suggest undergoing pulsed dye laser treatment after you have given birth. Even then, it is still better if you get your dermatologist’s and your OB-Gynecologist’s opinion about going through the treatment.
Pulsed dye laser treatment has been the treatment of choice for children with port wine stain birth marks because of its safety (CAUTION: Even then, you must take extra precaution if you are either pregnant or nursing).
This laser treatment works by flashing a strong beam of light onto the skin that can only be absorbed by the red pigment. This pigment specific kind of treatment allows the laser to treat* the area without harming the surrounding tissue. In stretch marks, it works in a similar way by blasting light onto the blood vessels allowing them to constrict and eventually disappear. This should take care of the red marks on your belly.
The options provided above are options to suit different kinds of budgets and lifestyles. For best results you may consult a trusted physician as to your safe and available options. We say this because we assume that you are either nursing or possibly still pregnant. As such, you must take extra care that any sort of treatment you undergo gets a go signal from your OB-Gynecologist.