Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful times in a woman’s life, but it also leads to unexpected changes like stretch marks. Stretch marks are quite common, especially during pregnancy when the body balloons to accommodate a growing baby.
For some, it may be difficult to come to terms with these sudden changes. In the age of over-the-counter advancements, men and women are flocking for quick and easy solutions.
Store shelves are lined up with topical creams full of the promise for pre-baby skin, but do they really work?
Is there anything that can be done to prevent stretch marks from occurring?
Table of Content
- 1 Overview of the Top Products
- 1.1 Advanced Stretch Mark Prevention & Removal Cream
- 1.2 Strianix | Clinically Tested Advanced Stretch Marks And Scar Removal Cream
- 1.3 COS Naturals ANTI STRETCH MARK AND SCAR CREAM
- 1.4 Stretch Mark Prevention Cream by The Bullfrogs & Butterflies Company
- 1.5 Organic Stretch Mark Cream – Safe for Pregnant Women, 2oz by Somaluxe
- 1.6 Lil Leona Pregnancy Cream For Stretch Marks: Made with Shea Butter and Vitamin E – 8 oz by I am Happy
- 1.7 Erbaviva Stretch Mark Cream – 4 oz by Erbaviva
- 1.8 Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream with Natural Avocado Peptides, for Pregnancy
- 2 Benefits of a Stretch Mark Cream
- 3 What Are Stretch Marks?
- 4 What are Stretch Marks?
- 5 Does Everyone Get Stretch Marks?
- 6 What Other Factors Lead to Stretch Marks?
- 7 Why Did I Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
- 8 Can I Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
- 9 Do These Creams Really Work?
- 10 Best stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
- 11 Different Ways to Get Rid of Them
- 12 Ingredients You Should Look Out For and Avoid
- 13 Conclusion
Overview of the Top Products
Advanced Stretch Mark Prevention & Removal Cream
Of course, the main goal of stretch mark cream is to prevent stretch marks, but wouldn’t it be an added bonus if it also fought to keep your skin healthy and hydrafted all at once?
Advanced stretch mark prevention and removal cream was created specifically for mothers who are expecting and are working to prevent stretch marks from growing from the beggining of the pregancy, all the way until after you have given birth.
Say goodbye to itchy stretch marks and hello to being comfortable in your own skin.
Not only does it work to prevent stretch marks, but it also contains all-natural ingredients. Everything in this cream is organic, including avocado oil and shea butter, and non-artificial.
Leaving your body looking and feeling beautiful.
Another reassuring feature of this product is that the creators are mothers themselves, so they both know what you as a mother needs in order to prevent stretch marks and to only allow healthy and benefical ingredients on your body.
It comfortably melts into your skin and continues this process for a whole day after you’ve applied it.
Many people appluad the safe and natural ingredients. The smoothness of the cream and soothing scent made most mothers feel calmed and relaxed.
Most expecting and current mothers were impressed at how effective this product was, especially since it didn’t bring any harm to their own skin or more importantly, their baby.
Strianix | Clinically Tested Advanced Stretch Marks And Scar Removal Cream
In my experience, dry itchy skin is a terrible experience to have. It’s even worse if it’s located on your stretch marks.
This cream not only reduces your stretch marks, the all natural products also work to make your skin feel hydrated and healthy.
Created from all natural herb extracts and oils, this cream rises above others by providing a smooth, comfortable feeling, all while providing a pleasing and soothing scent.
A few of the delicious and unique scents include: cucumber, licorice shea, aloe vera, mango butter, and more.
Not only does it smell great, it feels wonderful on your skin as well. It digs deep into your skin to help open your pores and prevent your skin from feeling oily or greasy.
I have sensitive skin, so I’m always nervous that certain creams may cause me to breakout. This cream is hypoallergenic: so it prevents that issue from occuring.
Many women believe this product has helped them immensely. Many love to apply it not only on their stretch marks, but on other scars seen on their body.
This cream is effective in fighting to make stretch marks and scars dissapear before and after your pregnancy.
COS Naturals ANTI STRETCH MARK AND SCAR CREAM
Finding a cream that fights to reduce existing stretch marks is of course a smart goal to shoot for: but it’s also wise to aim to find a cream that prevents them from occuring in the future.
This cream nourishes your skin while at the same time using Vitamins C, E, B to hydrate and ensure that your stretch marks will disseapear before they even fully appear after you’ve given birth.
This cream is also made with plant-based ingredients, so it is is FDA approved, all natural and completely organic.
Currently, pregnant women use it during their pregancy and have yet to see any stretch marks develop on their bodies.
Many women who apply this cream every night still notice little to none stretch marks even after they have given birth.
Users are more than satisfied with the success they have found in this cream.
Stretch Mark Prevention Cream by The Bullfrogs & Butterflies Company
If you’re searching for a cream that serves several purposes, this is the one for you.
This stretch mark cream fights to keep your skin looking and feeling natural throughout your pregnancy, while also keeping it from feel itchy or uncomfortable.
This cream works to stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, while using the anti-oxidant rich formula to soothingly absorb and sink into your skin to provide moisture and a hydrating sensation.
Many are highly impressed with this product as it contains ingredients that not only rids their skin of stretch marks, but also contains a strong anti-itch formula.
This is a duo quality not often found in most stretch mark creams.
Organic Stretch Mark Cream – Safe for Pregnant Women, 2oz by Somaluxe
I personally know how much of a pain dry skin can be, add that onto pregnancy and it is an all-around uncomfortable experience.
This cream works to not only reduce your stretch mark apperance, but it uses plant extracts to keep your skin feeling smooth and less dry.
Not only does it prevent your stretch marks from showing, it also creates softer, fully hydrated skin along with reducing discoloration formed during or after your pregnancy.
If you’re concerened about the safety of you or your baby when applying this cream, you no longer need to be.
It doesn’t contain any harmful or harsh chemicals and only consists of organic, hypoallergenic ingredients.
This cream contains a thick and hydrating layer that many women have found to bring them comfort and relaxation while it effectively reduces their stretch marks before and after their pregnancy.
Since this cream is fairly creamy, most women have found that they only need to use a little at a time, so the cream overall lasts longer.
Lil Leona Pregnancy Cream For Stretch Marks: Made with Shea Butter and Vitamin E – 8 oz by I am Happy
It’s a really great feeling to purchase a product made by a smaller and non-mass produced company. That’s one of the great features of this cream.
This was created by a mother who mixes herbal extracts to get rid of scarring from skin that has been stretched before and after their pregnancy.
This belly butter also successfully prevents skin from feeling itchy and also works to hydrate skin so it feels softer and healthier overall.
Something that stood out to a lot of women looking to try this product is that fact that the label on the bottle read, “I am happy.”
They confirmed that this rings true, for when a woman is experiencing the end of her pregancy, she doesn’t look or feel very happy.
With the soothing extracts found in this cream, you can feel better and look their best during all stages of your pregnancy.
Erbaviva Stretch Mark Cream – 4 oz by Erbaviva
If you prefer all-natural and essential oils in your stretch mark cream, this is the way to go.
This cream contains a blend of sandalwood and carrot-seed ingredients in order to prevent itchiness and provide an appealing smell and beautiful feeling.
With this cream, your skin will feel rejuvinated and hydrated when it’s fighting to get rid of unwanted scars or stretch marks throughout pregnancy.
This cream is 100% safe, as it does not contain artificial fragrances, dyes or chemical additives.
Many women began using this at the start of their pregnancy.
They would apply the cream whenever the itchy feeling would occur, they stated that at the end of the pregnancy, they found little to no stretch marks and an overall satisfaction with the product.
Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream with Natural Avocado Peptides, for Pregnancy
This cream works to keep women happy and comfortable throughout every stage of the pregnancy. It works to reduce the view of stretch marks and provide relief from terrible itching.
Many women start using this product once a day, finding comfort from the product. Evenutally, as the itching grew on, they would start using it more often, around twice a day.
This cream contains all natural ingredients, along with a smell that complements the organic and all natural feeling the cream provides.
Benefits of a Stretch Mark Cream
Stretch marks are difficult to get rid of once you get them, but there are benefits to using stretch mark cream.
One of the measures to ward off stretch marks is keeping your skin hydrated. Stretch mark cream is loaded with essential vitamins and oils.
Some studies prove that Vitamin E boost cell generation and hydration, the best defense for skin susceptible to marks.
Currently, there are no studies that show that stretch mark cream gets rid of or prevent marks, but topical creams can still be beneficial. Over-stretched, dry skin is an unpleasant feeling for expectant mothers. Nourishing the skin can relieve some discomforts of pregnancy.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur when the skin quickly expands and leaves lateral creases, called stria. They can happen anywhere on the body and do not discriminate in gender and age. (Though, it is more common in females.)
They come in all sizes and colors. In lighter complexions, the lines can appear red and silver, and in darker complexions, they appear blue or purple; while white and faded marks are said to be older, less compliant marks. Either way, not one color is more or less severe.
What are Stretch Marks?
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that stretch marks were the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the two lines on my pregnancy test. Still, I must admit they were definitely in top 5.
With my family history of stretch marks, I knew I had to be proactive and at least try and limit the impact of all the changes my body was about to go through.
Stretch marks, or striae, are a form of scars. Our skin consists of three layers, and stretch marks form in the dermis, or the middle layer. The dermis is used to stretching slowly as we grow. However, during a pregnancy our body experiences such a rapid weight change that the dermis just can’t catch up with – so it gets stretched.
We’ve all seen them. At first, they are these reddish or purple streaks that can even feel a bit itchy, and if you touch them you might notice they are a bit raised. They fade and flatten with time, so yes, they do become a tiny bit less noticeable.
Stretch marks are extremely common – as much as 90% of all pregnant women are affected. You’ll probably start noticing them during the second trimester, or whenever you realize it’s time to buy maternity clothes.
They usually occur on the belly, as it’s the part that experiences the most rapid growth. Breasts, hips, and thighs aren’t insured against stretch marks either.
Does Everyone Get Stretch Marks?
You are not alone. Anyone is susceptible to stretch marks, but the number one factor is genetics. If stretch marks are in your family history, then there is a possibility of developing them, too. There is no amount of cream you can apply if you are destined to get them.
Some people swear by creams and state it has reduced the unsightly pigmentation of freshly-made stretch marks, but ultimately it boils down to DNA.
What Other Factors Lead to Stretch Marks?
Fluctuations in weight is the main culprit for marked skin. Females are likely candidates for weight fluctuation due to pregnancy. However, other weight changes include obesity and cosmetic enhancements, like breast augmentation, which may lead to the development of stretch marks.
Environmental factors like steroids, particularly topical ointments to treat rashes, can change the chemical makeup of your skin, leaving it thin and vulnerable to stretching.
Why Did I Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
It’s easier to understand the science behind the skin to explain why stretch marks are so hard to get rid of. Stretch marks that appear during pregnancy (otherwise known as striae gravidarum) involve two body substances: collagen and cortisoneis.
Collagen is a natural protein responsible for the elasticity of the skin. It’s what gives babies the fresh appearance of plump, unweathered skin. As you age, collagen levels drop significantly. Lower levels of collagen cause the skin to thin out and contribute to the likeliness of getting stretch marks.
The cortisoneis hormone, or cortisol, is a hormone made from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a natural substance created by the body in response to stress. Higher levels of cortisol are released during gestation and peak at the third trimester. This may also explain why women often get stretch marks toward the end of pregnancy.
Can I Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are for the most part, permanent. They are, in effect, scar tissue embedded into the epidermic tissue, which makes them harder to get rid of. However, there are steps you can take that could alleviate the chances of getting stretch marks.
Although there are no definitive treatments that can thoroughly remove marks, dermatologists may recommend alternative solutions for you.
Procedures like microneedling and laser treatments are non-invasive and relatively quick. These treatments are known to treat scar tissue due to acne and stretch marks, and are implemented to reduce marks visibly. Even so, results vary and are minimal. Don’t expect the elimination of scars.
There are other ways to fight against unruly stretch marks to incorporate in your daily life. Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet combats weight fluctuation. Foods high in vitamins and fatty acids help produce more collagen, the plumping ingredient in the fountain of youth.
Notable Food Items to Boost Collagen:
- Variety of fruits and vegetables
Pairing a regular exercise routine with a good diet can also help your body manage stretch marks. Not only does it help with weight fluctuation, but it’s a natural outlet for stress. (Cortisol, the stress hormone, was mentioned earlier as an influencing factor to stretch marks.)
Do These Creams Really Work?
Considering all the factors, are creams worth it? Some opinions swear by stretch mark cream, but most dermatologists agree that topical treatments may only provide necessary moisture. Of course, there are varying degrees of moisturizer in different products each with its own set of results.
Retinoids contain Vitamin A, an essential vitamin shown to reduce scar tissue, even reversing some effects of scarring.
Common beauty retinoid products are advertised as Retinol and come in all forms of topical treatments. However, they should not be used during pregnancy as it is harmful to an unborn fetus.
Optimal results from creams may help in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise.
Best stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
Once the stretch marks are there, there’s no getting rid of them. In other words, I knew I had a few months to prepare my skin as best as I could.
Prevention is cure. Here are some tips for prevention during pregnancy:
I got a lot more serious about moisturizing already at the beginning of my pregnancy. This meant that every other day, or even once a day, wouldn’t be enough.
For best results, it’s recommended to hydrate your skin twice daily.
The skin needs to stay elastic and plump so that it can easily adjust to your new body shape and weight. Dry skin just doesn’t stand a chance.
Control your weight with a healthy diet
Let’s be clear – you will gain weight, and that’s perfectly normal. But doing so slowly and steadily will give your skin the time it needs to stretch without leaving scars.
On average, women gain 25 to 35 pounds during a pregnancy. To make sure you stay within those limits, the best thing you can do is stick to a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Your skin will benefit a lot from food that contains the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C and E (citrus fruits, broccoli)
- Zinc (legumes, nuts)
- Vitamin B2 and B3 (turkey, tuna)
- Fatty acids like Omega-3 (salmon, chia)
- Protein (red meat)
If you need help finding the best diet, it’s always a good idea to contact a nutritionist.
Not giving up on exercise was the best thing I did during my pregnancy.
An increased blood circulation can do miracles for your skin’s elasticity. Gentle workouts such as yoga, swimming or even just walking will give you a good blood flow and boost the production of collagen.
Massage is another effective way to improve blood circulation and hydrate your skin at the same time.
Let your massage therapist know you’d like to focus on specific areas that are prone to stretch marks. Also, let’s not forget that pregnancy is the time to really take care of yourself and put your well-being first. What better way to do that than book a massage!
Yes, I know this advice gets thrown around a lot. But if there’s ever a time to really take it seriously, it’s now.
Your skin needs plenty of water to stay hydrated and healthy. The required minimum is said to be six to eight glasses a day.
It takes some discipline but I’ve found it to be totally doable.
Different Ways to Get Rid of Them
I still got some stretch marks during my pregnancy, but I like to think it could have been worse. I also try to accept reality – getting completely rid of them isn’t an option.
On the bright side, there are ways to make them less visible. Here are the most common ones.
Retinoids are various vitamin A-derived products. They are extremely versatile and can successfully treat acne, scars, wrinkles, and, luckily for us, stretch marks. Products containing retinoids can support cell regeneration and even out the skin.
You may be tempted to start using them already during your pregnancy but because of the high concentration of vitamin A, that’s not to recommend.
Many skincare products contain vitamin E–and for good reason. Vitamin E plays a big role in new cell growth, so stretch marks will become less visible over time if treated with it.
It Will Pass
Not exactly a great treatment advice, but I’ve learned we have to choose our battles. If getting rid of stretch marks is turning into an obsession for you, maybe it’s best to surrender and just live your life.
Time heals everything. Even your stretch marks will fade on their own and become less noticeable.
If you’re too impatient to rely on topical treatments, let alone wait it out, then laser therapy, a.k.a. red light therapy, is what you need. It’s a non-invasive procedure that’s usually done in salons.
A series of laser therapy sessions can considerably soften the appearance of stretch marks. In many cases, they aren’t even noticeable any more.
And some more good news – the results are permanent.
Ingredients You Should Look Out For and Avoid
As mentioned, it’s best to avoid retinoids and vitamin A while pregnant, both orally and topically. Retinoids can be harmful to your unborn baby.
Even if research is a bit inconclusive, it’s best to stay on the safe side.
Another thing to avoid, if possible, are corticosteroids. Regardless of whether it’s a cream or a pill, a prolonged use of corticosteroids can decrease your skin’s elasticity and make it easier for stretch marks to develop.
There is no cure-all for stretch marks. For many moms-to-be, stretch marks become their tiger stripes, a testament to the miracle of pregnancy. If anything, stretch mark creams can become a soothing practice or a triumphant pat on the back after an enduring day.