Stretch marks, while not the worst condition you may face in life, are certainly unpleasant. The long, raised red or purple lines that appear on your skin make you feel self-conscious. You’d rather die than wear a swimming suit that reveals your stretch marks. You may tailor your whole wardrobe around these marks, something that might really make you suffer during summer months. In addition, you’ve probably found yourself guilty of spending a lot of money on stretch mark cream products that promise to make the marks disappear. But if you haven’t had luck with any stretch mark cream, you may be losing hope. It could be you’re using the wrong approach or the wrong products.

Whether you’re terrified that you’ll get stretch marks during your pregnancy or you’re hoping to diminish the appearance of already existing marks, finding the right product to do the job can be a challenge. Do any of the products available on the market actually work? Which products have been proven to help prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks? Are they safe? What should you look for in a quality stretch mark cream? You’re in the right place. All of these questions and concerns will be addressed in this article.

What Is Stretch Mark Cream?

Lady about to apply stretch mark creamStretch marks cream products are abundant in the skincare industry. A simple search will turn up hundreds of creams, lotions and oils that promise to make those pesky claw marks disappear. Others pledge that by applying the cream, you can prevent stretch marks from ever appearing! Stretch mark cream can really be anything at all that’s marketed towards preventing or eliminating stretch marks. So, anything from a basic lotion to a high-end, specially developed cream may all get slapped with a “stretch mark cream” label. 

However, ideally, stretch mark removal cream products should include ingredients that are proven to help with this skin condition. To understand the role that cream for stretch marks can play, first, we must understand stretch marks.

What Are Stretch Marks?

Lady showing her stretchmarksStretch marks, also known as stria, appear when your body grows so quickly that your skin can’t keep up. Essentially, it’s a result of a lack of sufficient collagen, which gives your skin elasticity, as weight is gained. For this reason, stretch marks often appear due to growth spurts, gaining weight very quickly, pregnancy, body building and a number of medical conditions. Stretch marks during pregnancy even have a special name: striae gravidarum. Stretch marks may be hereditary as they seem to run in families. Women are also more likely to get stretch marks than men. (1)

Stretch marks can appear differently for different people. While some experience dark purple or red raised marks that stick, others’ stretch marks are white. Over time, stretch marks often become lighter. Some typical places that stretch marks appear are on the belly, thighs, and around the breasts and buttocks.

There are two ways to approach stretch marks: prevention and helping them fade. What can you do to prevent these marks from appearing? You can’t always know if you’re going to get stretch marks. Since they often appear as a result of pregnancy, most women know ahead of time to take preventative action against getting stretch marks. When you get stretch marks for other reasons, you likely won’t know ahead of time. So, what can you do about marks after they’ve already appeared? You’ll find many a cream to get rid of stretch marks or prevent them from appearing in the first place. However, finding stretch marks creams that work is another story. In the skincare industry, there’s not always a lot of regulation or information about which ingredients are proven to function as promised. We’ve investigated the ingredients and effectiveness of a range of products that claim they can help with stretch marks. Here are the best stretch mark creams available today:

The Top 4 Best Stretch Mark Cream Products

The best stretch mark removal cream really depends on each person’s needs and body. Some people may be sensitive to certain ingredients. If you’re pregnant, you also have to be careful about what products you use. So, the answer to “What is the best stretch mark cream?” will probably result in a different answer for every person. Here, we’ve put together the highlights of some of the top ranking products so that you can decide for yourself what’s best for your needs.

  1. LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream for Stretch MarksThis popular cream is used for a number of purposes by users. Featuring a number of natural ingredients like aloe, jojoba, shea butter and green tea leaf extract, among others, this cream contains powerful ingredients proven to have a positive effect on skin.

Many customers use this cream as a facial cream to improve skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, other customers have also used it for stretch marks and use for this purpose is recommended by the company.

No fragrances have been added to its formula, although it has a nice, light smell. Reportedly, the cream goes on smoothly and does not leave a greasy feel once it’s been applied.

Overall the product is highly related. Most complaints seem to be of customers who had a bad reaction to the retinol level. It’s important to note that this is a stronger ingredient, and you may have to use sparingly at the beginning so that your skin can adjust.

Highlights:

  • Contains ingredients proven to help reduce stretch marks including hyaluronic acid and retinol
  • Contains soothing ingredients such as aloe and vitamin E
  • No added fragrance
  • Excellent reviews

Who Makes It:

Lilyana Naturals is a family run company based in the US. With products exclusively sold on Amazon, they’ve quickly become well known through the platform for their popular face creams.

The Bottom Line:

This is a great choice because of the retinol content, which is proven to help remove stretch marks. However, beware that if you have sensitive skin, you may have to work up to your ability to handle the cream. Customers are overall pleased with the product, making it easy to purchase with confidence.

  1. Stretch Mark Cream for Pregnancy by Mommy Knows Best

Stretch Mark Cream for Pregnancy by Mommy Knows BestMany mothers to be seek out the best pregnant stretch mark cream products to get rid of stretch marks from pregnancy. Both mothers who give birth naturally and those who have a c-section may have trouble toning their belly after birth, and stretch marks just make things first. This product is designed and marketed specifically for the purpose of helping women with stretch marks in the postpartum stage, although anyone with stretch marks can certainly make use of the cream.

The company notes that the cream is an excellent moisturizer as it contains ingredients like marrubiaum vulgare extract and safflower seed oil. In addition, the product also contains ingredients that may help increase collagen production.

From the stretch mark cream reviews on this product, it’s clear customers are happy with the product. Some have even posted impressive before and after photos that show a noticeable difference in the color and definition of the stretch marks after using the cream. Another advantage users mention is that only a small amount of cream goes a long way.

In addition to reducing stretch marks, the cream improves your skin overall, tightening it and making it more supple and elastic.

Highlights

  • Contains moisturizing ingredients
  • May help increase collagen production
  • 30 Day money back guarantee
  • Great reviews

Who Makes It:

MommyKnowsBest was originally founded to offer a range of lactation and milk supply increasing supplements. However, the company has expanded to offer a range of products for use during and following pregnancy. The founder is a mother herself! The company focuses on ensuring that ingredients in all products are safe for mama and baby and that products are cruelty-free and ethically produced.

The Bottom Line:

This is a great stretch mark cream for expecting mothers who want to make sure they’re using a product that’s safe. Ingredients are also safe for breastfeeding mothers and so can be used postpartum as well. The 30 day money back guarantee inspires confidence and makes a first purchase very low risk.

  1. Stretch Mark Cream by Botanic Tree

This stretch mark removal cream is great for individuals who prefer to use natural products. Full of natural, organic ingredients, this cream doesn’t contain a long list of ingredient names that are difficult to pronounce. The main ingredients are listed on the product as: Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Vitamin B5, Organic Moringa, Centella Asiatica, Olive Oil, Avocado,Organic Sunflower Oil. However, the product also contains other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and some other chemically based substances.

Centella Asiatica, in particular, is a promising ingredient found in some stretch mark creams including this one. It can be very successful at preventing stretch marks in pregnant women, according to studies. The organic ingredients found in this product in addition to effective, are also perfectly safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, Botanic Tree claims. This makes the product an ideal stretch mark cream for pregnant women.

A large number of customers report great success with both preventing stretch marks in pregnancy and eliminating old marks as a result of this cream. Other clients report that they’ve been able to reduce the appearance of scars, old and new, using this product.

Highlights

  • All organic ingredients
  • Contains Centella Asiatica, proven to help prevent the appearance of stretch marks
  • Contains hyaluronic acid, proven to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks
  • Money back guarantee
  • Safe for pregnant women
  • Amazon’s choice for customers seeking “stretch mark cream”

Who Makes It:

A family run company based out of Florida, Botanic Tree offers a range of organic skincare products. The company’s products have been featured on E!News, inTouch Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. This impressive coverage shows the quality and popularity of the company’s products.

The Bottom Line:

Who wouldn’t want to give this all organic stretch mark cream a try? Containing great ingredients known to help prevent and fade stretch marks, this product is a great choice. The company’s great reputation and high profile appearances inspires additional confidence.

  1. Pregmate Stretch Marks Treatment Cream

Pregmate Stretch Marks Treatment CreamThis highly rated product is also known as one of the best pregnant stretch mark cream products. It is moisturizing and helps hydrate the skin to boost your skin’s health overall while helping stretch marks fade away. For pregnant women, the product may also help prevent new stretch marks from appearing.

Customers report that the cream is highly effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Some have even posted before and after pictures that show dramatic fading of stretch marks as a result of using this product.

Highlights:

  • Contains moisturizing ingredients
  • Contains hyaluronic acid, proven to help fade stretch marks
  • Great reviews

Who Makes It:

Pregmate is a company that focuses on offering fertility products and tools. However, their range of products also extends to offer stretch mark creams. Available on Amazon, Walmart and Ebay, their products are quite popular.

The Bottom Line:

This stretch mark cream includes proven ingredients and is sold by a company specializing in women’s health. If you’re hoping for impressive results that reduce the appearance of your stretch marks, this is a great product to try.

So, there are some stretch mark creams that work! That’s the good news. But, how do they work? What ingredients should you be on the lookout for? Are there any products you should avoid? In the following sections, we’ll explain how stretch marks removal cream products work and what you should know.

What A Top Stretch Marks Cream Does: The Science

Woman applying stretch marks cream for preventionBecause stretch marks are largely viewed as a cosmetic issue without any medical concerns attached to them, there haven’t been tons of clinical trials and studies done on remedies and treatments for them. However, there are a few studies available.

One such study explains what processes and changes are necessary in the skin to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Among the requirements are:

  • Increased collagen production
  • Increased elasticity in skin
  • Increased skin hydration
  • Anti-inflammatory properties in skin

The information provided by this and other studies and the experience of doctors can help us understand which ingredients are the most effective. Here are some of the ingredients with the most support for effectiveness in preventing or diminishing stretch marks:

Retinol

Dermatologist John Anthony recommends using retinol creams for lessening the appearance of stretch marks. Why? It can boost the amount of collagen your body makes, which plumps and adds elasticity to your skin. You can use over the counter stretch mark creams containing retinol, or ask for a prescription for something stronger from your doctor. The stronger version, known as retinoic acid or tretinoin, has been proven to be effective in treating stretch marks.

However, it’s important to note that retinols are not recommended to be used by pregnant women.

Centella Asiatica and Hyaluronic Acid

Dermatologist and researcher Frank Wang says that preventing stretch marks is easier than eliminating them afterwards. Two of the ingredients he found to be most effective in a study he led were Centella and Hyaluronic Acid.

This means that if you’re expecting to get stretch marks due to pregnancy or quick weight gain due to body building, you should seek out a cream that contains one or both of these ingredients.

According to studies, hyaluronic acid in particular plays an important role in skin health and may also play a role in tissue repair.

Aloe Vera

This popular succulent plant is known for its many benefits to skin. In studies, it has shown to be effective in helping with wound healing and may be an inflammatory agent, among other uses.

As you’re searching for appropriate cream for stretch marks, keep these ingredients in mind. All of the best products listed in this article include ingredients that meet at least one of the requirements to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Many also contain one or more of the ingredients from this list! Just make sure that the ingredients are safe for you, especially if you’re pregnant.

Finally, keep in mind that stretch marks should naturally fade over time. It’s understandable if you want to speed up their disappearance and you can using some of the proven products above to do so. But, time is also on your side, Dr. Anthony asserts. If you wait long enough, stretch marks typically fade quite significantly.

Stretch Marks Removal Cream: 2 Products to Avoid

Pregnant Woman choosing beauty product carefullyNow that you know what the best cream for stretch marks include and have some examples of ideal products, what should avoid?

Here are two products you might want to skip, depending on your individual situation:

Products That Contain Parabens

Parabens are an ingredient commonly found in skin care products. They are preservatives and may be used to help prevent bacteria from growing in makeup or lotions and creams. While for the general population they may disrupt your endocrine or hormone system, research is still inconclusive about how much harm they may or may not do. However, for pregnant women, there’s worse news. If you’re carrying a boy, research shows that exposure to parabens may disrupt your baby’s growth.

Cocoa Butter

Don’t waste your money on purchasing products that only contain cocoa butter. Despite its popularity, a trial showed that it was ineffective at preventing stretch marks during pregnancy. The placebo group in the study used a placebo lotion, meaning they still may have gained moisturizing benefits. So, by all means, moisturize using cocoa butter if you’d like, but don’t count on it to remove existing stretch marks or to prevent them. Instead, opt for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and centella that have more evidence in their favor for preventing stretch marks from appearing

The Bottom Line on Cream for Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are difficult to get rid of once they appear. If possible, use preventative measures when you’re facing situations like pregnancy, in which you know ahead of time that stretch marks are likely to form. When stretch marks do appear, it’s also best if you can treat them right away.  

However, if you do have stretch marks, with the correct products for your needs and situation, you can likely make them fade away to an extent. Make sure you look for ingredients that are proven to be effective and apply the product according to the instructions.

Yes, stretch marks are annoying and can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. But, luckily there are effective products out there that can help you reduce their appearance and get your body back! You won’t have to hide your stretch marks any longer or limit your wardrobe. That’s a definite plus.

Do you have experience with effective stretch marks removal cream products? Tell us about your favorites in the comments below.