The 10 Best Stretch Mark Creams

Updated February 15, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Stretch Mark Creams
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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whether you're starting to have a little more time to think about yourself again after giving birth or are proactively looking to prevent stretch marks during a period of bodily change, one of these creams can help. They come in natural and synthetic formulations designed to tackle existing blemishes or even prevent them from showing up in the first place. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best stretch mark cream on Amazon.

10. Protégé Vanish

The formula of Protégé Vanish works well for treating both new and old discolorations. It also prevents the formation of future marks with ingredients that stimulate skin to regrow, stopping the damage before it ever becomes evident.
  • results may be seen in 4 to 6 weeks
  • contains mainly natural ingredients
  • doesn't work at all for some users
Brand Protege Beauty
Model VAN001
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. It Works! Moisturizing EU212

Every tube of the optimistically named It Works! Moisturizing EU212 is packed with a veritable bouquet of botanicals, and it can help bring out a healthy, youthful glow even in skin that is decidedly tired out by the stresses of life as a new parent.
  • good for reduction of cesarean scars
  • very expensive for 6 ounces
  • feels a bit watery
Brand It Works
Model EU212
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Body Merry Scars Defense

Body Merry Scars Defense should be applied liberally every day. While it might not be quite as concentrated or potent as some other options, the good news is that it's relatively affordable, so go ahead and slather it on to your heart's content.
  • rich in vitamins b3 and b5
  • contains raspberry and jojoba oils
  • scent bothers some users
Brand Body Merry
Model NA
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. 100% Pure Coconut

Contrary to its name, 100% Pure Coconut contains more than one ingredient, but it does help renew and heal your skin and reduce the appearance of striae. In addition to coconut oil, its formula includes avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and more.
  • helps reduce the effects of aging
  • improves skin elasticity
  • visible effects require extended use
Brand Honeydew
Model pending
Weight 0.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Mederma Therapy

As the reigning name brand in its field, Mederma Therapy is one of the most popular and frequently recommended choices for those who wish to do away with unsightly lines and discoloration. It uses a combination of plant extracts and hyaluronic acid to get the job done.
  • good pre-treatment before pregnancy
  • has a greasy feel
  • too pungent for some
Brand Mederma
Model MERZ429530
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. CeraVe Special Use Intensive

To get rid of those lines once and for all, try a tube of CeraVe Special Use Intensive. It was developed by dermatologists to deliver visible results and help restore your skin's protective barrier as it nourishes and helps prevent new marks from forming.
  • produced without animal cruelty
  • slow-release formula
  • free of fragrant ingredients
Brand CeraVe
Model 30187222201
Weight 8.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Mommy Knows Best Vanishing Cream

Mommy Knows Best Vanishing Cream is a vegan, American-made option that uses essential oils and vitamins that are clinically proven to help erase the signs of body changes on your skin. It's an exceptionally hydrating moisturizer as well.
  • comes with a money-back guarantee
  • helps reduce age spots and freckles
  • works on marks that are years old
Brand Mommy Knows Best
Model 3504105025328
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula

The dermatologist-tested, highly concentrated Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula is effective for both reducing the visibility of existing marks and preventing new ones from showing up. It's quite wallet-friendly as well, at less than $10 for a 4.4-ounce tube.
  • contains argan and almond oils
  • also works as a baby moisturizer
  • 1-year shelf life once opened
Brand Palmer's
Model 2408797
Weight 4.2 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Mama Belly Butter

Recommended for use during pregnancy as well as six months after giving birth, Lilah James Skincare's Mama Belly Butter helps relieve the itching that comes along with stretching skin as it works to prevent its visible effects. It comes in an extra large 8-ounce tub.
  • contains raw african shea butter
  • hydrates and promotes elasticity
  • doesn't feel greasy
Brand Lilah James Skincare
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Cos Naturals Cream

Whether you'd like to reduce the appearance of striae on your hips, thighs, belly, or bottom, Cos Naturals Cream is a great option to help you get it done. It also works well on scars, and is made from all-natural ingredients, so you can feel good about using it.
  • fda approved for topical use
  • contains hyaluronic acid
  • works even on high contrast marks
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What Exactly Are Stretch Marks?

The medical term for stretch marks is striae, referring to the thin, narrow grooves or channels they resemble. While they do most often look like bands of parallel lines on the skin, not all stretch marks look alike. Their appearance and severity will vary depending not only on what caused them and where they are, but also based on your body's own unique physiology.

The causes of stretch marks are numerous, but they occur anytime the dermis, the middle layer of skin, is torn due to rapid growth or weight changes. The result is a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. While they pose no heath risk, they can cause an irritating burning or itching sensation. For some, the changes in skin appearance can be substantial and even cause emotional distress.

Sudden growth spurts in puberty and extreme weight gain at any time in life are the best known risk factors for the development of stretch marks, but there are lesser-known risk factors to keep in mind. Bodybuilders who over-train can gain muscle mass too quickly and stretch the dermis much in the same way weight gain can. Heavy or long-term use of corticosteroids, widely used to treat arthritis, asthma and allergy conditions, has also been proven to contribute to the formation of stretch marks.

Prevention and Treatment of Stretch Marks

When it comes to treating stretch marks, Benjamin Franklin summed it up best when he said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Because stretch marks are essentially scars, expensive cosmetic surgery is the only way to completely remove them, and even this method has its limitations.

An abdominoplasty, most commonly referred to as a "tummy tuck", will eliminate your stretch marks, but only if they are located on the areas of excess skin to be removed from your abdomen. In addition, surgery candidates need to be in good health, have a significant amount of excess skin on the stomach, and be prepared to endure a long 4-6 week recovery time.

If you are unable or unwilling to go under the knife, or have stretch marks in other areas, laser removal is another option. The success of laser treatments is directly tied to the severity and age of the striae to be treated. Laser removal can be highly effective on stretch marks that are less than a year old. Excimer laser therapy, uses high-energy ultraviolet light to disintegrate the tissue instead of burning or cutting the affected areas.

While the recovery time from laser treatments is significantly shorter than that of surgery, patients will still be red and tender and can experience temporary blistering. Deeper stretch marks will never be completely removed, but significantly reduced and faded.

The most effective way to prevent stretch marks is to avoid sudden weight changes. Preventative creams are popular, especially during pregnancy when you know you'll be gaining weight, but their effectiveness varies widely. Because everyone has different skin, you may need to experiment to find what works for you.

Be wary of creams that claim to remove stretch marks. While this isn't really possible, the right cream can reduce their size and coloring to the point where they are barely noticeable. For many this less expensive, non-invasive treatment is preferable to surgery or laser treatments.

Pregnancy and Stretch Marks

Because weight gain is one of the leading causes of stretch marks, they are often commonly associated with having a baby. Almost three out of four women will develop striae on at least one of the areas affected by the rapid, dramatic body changes of pregnancy.

You are most likely to end up with pregnancy-related stretch marks if you are carrying multiples, an unusually large baby, or excess amniotic fluid. Even without these factors, if your mother had stretch marks after her pregnancy, chances are you will too. While there is no way to change your genetics, you can be proactive and take a few steps to reduce your probability of getting them.

When you are pregnant, you can anticipate the weight gain that is coming, and that the skin on your abdomen will be expanded to its limit. Gaining no more than the recommended amount of weight and gaining it slowly is the best way to reduce potential stress to the dermis. Before any stretch marks appear, try massaging the skin with a nourishing preventative cream. While there are no oils, salves or creams guaranteed to prevent stretch marks, keeping your growing abdomen moisturized is still a good idea because it will definitely reduce dryness and itching.

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Last updated on February 15, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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