9 Best Stretch Mark Creams Of 2020 For Pregnancy & Prevention

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9 Best Stretch Mark Creams For Pregnancy & Prevention 2020
Self

Striae, or stretch marks as they’re most commonly called, are perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

But if you’re trying to get back to the even skin tone of your younger years, there are some things you can do to prevent and reduce the appearance of these stubborn lines and textural irregularities, including finding the best stretch mark cream for your body.

When your weight fluctuates or your body goes through periods of change, such as pregnancy or puberty, stretch marks may begin to appear on your skin. They are typically parallel lines that are a different color and texture to the rest of your skin tone. Stretch marks range from purple to white to bright pink or even silvery gray.

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Stretch marks most commonly appear on your stomach, breasts, thighs, upper arms, and buttocks, but our bodies can develop them just about anywhere.

Stretch makes can feel like ridges or indentations on your skin when you touch them. They may also be itchy or sore from time to time, but they are never dangerous or anything to be concerned about. 

What causes stretch marks? 

When our bodies change in size and shape our skin stretches, for those with more elasticity in their skin, this doesn't necessarily lead to stretch marks. However, if this stretching coincides with an increase of cortisone in the body, stretch marks are likely to occur.

Cortisone, a hormone naturally produced in the adrenal glands, causes skin to lose its elasticity. Since everyone’s skin stretches at some point in life, there are countless reasons why someone may start to develop stretch marks.

Here are some of the most common reasons why stretch marks occur.

  1. Sudden weight gain/loss: Building or losing fat and muscle at a rapid pace can increase your chance at developing stretch marks since your body is changing quicker than the skin can improve its elasticity.
  2. Growth spurts: Stretch marks often appear in adolescence after teenagers experience sudden increases in height
  3. Pregnancy: While the skin stretches to make room for a tiny human, the constant tugging and pulling can cause stretch marks to appear. 
  4. Corticosteroid creams, lotions, or pills: Used to treat inflammation and a range of conditions, these medications increase cortisone levels in the body and decrease the skin's natural elasticity. 
  5. Adrenal gland disorders: Those living with Marfan’s syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or any other adrenal gland disorder are more likely to experience stretch marks since these conditions increase the amount of cortisone in the body

Do stretch marks go away?

Some stretch marks can fade naturally overtime, but others are more like scars and will stick around for the long haul.

Red or purple stretch marks are typically less than a year old and may fade quickly. Since they are freshly forming, the blood vessels beneath the skin are giving them their noticeable color. These will eventually fade to white as they get older, and will either fade completely or live as scars on the skin. 

The best way to ensure you never have to worry about permanent stretch mark scarring is through prevention.

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, you can prevent sudden weight gain or loss. Even during pregnancy, when your body will inevitably gain weight, diet and exercise can protect your skin from stretching more than it needs to. 

That said, sometimes, no matter what we do, stretch marks still occur.

There are a range of topical treatments or medical procedures available that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks or remove them completely. Many dermatologists offer chemical peels, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, radiofrequency, and ultrasounds to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but none of these remove stretch marks entirely. 

Equally, oils and creams that make big claims about clearing up stretch marks and evening skin texture rarely live up to their expectations. Some promising research has linked hyaluronic acid, retinol, and tretinoin to the reduction of stretch marks. 

Hyaluronic acid, a moisturizing factor produced in the skin, promotes the production of collagen and improve skin elasticity, making it ideal for early stretch marks. Retinol and tretinoin, which are both types of retinoids, also work to rebuild collagen but should not be used during pregnancy as they can cause harm to the baby.

If you’re trying to reduce the appearance of stretch marks or prevent them, here are the best creams, oils, and ointments:

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Best Overall Stretch Mark Cream

1. Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

If you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, an over-the-counter retinol treatment can be powerful for increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, meaning you can wave goodbye to stretch marks quickly and effectively. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Best Organic Stretch Mark Cream

2. Glow Organics Belly Butter

If you’re pregnant or just conscious of your environmental impact, this organic cream lets you ditch the chemicals while still treating stretch marks. By hydrating and nourishing your skin with shea butter, cocoa butter, and grapeseed oil, your stretch marks will heal quickly. This is also great for treating itchiness and sensitivity. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Best Stretch Mark Cream For Pregnancy

3. Basq Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter

Safe for pregnancy and nursing, this formula is enriched with peptides and extracts that boost collagen and prep your skin for all the stretching and moving that pregnancy and postpartum has in store.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Best Cream For Stretch Mark Prevention

4. TriLASTIN Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream

Whether you’re expecting or just preparing for a weight change, it’s best to start treatments early to prevent stretch marks. This pregnancy-safe ingredient list contains a blend of plant extracts including squalene, which fills textural irregularities and glycerin to restore moisture and bounce. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Best For Stomach Stretch Marks

5. Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter

With rosehip, shea butter, organic avocado oil, omega 3-rich organic Sacha Inchi oil, and vitamin E, this cream is rich in fatty acids that fade and reduce stretch marks, increase elasticity, and stop the itch of stretching skin. It’s also fragrance-free so it won't irritate sensitive skin. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Best For Stretch Marks On Hips And Thighs 

6. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

Since hips and thighs can be a large surface area to cover, you don’t want to overspend on a cream that you’ll use quickly. This budget cream is cheap but effective, containing argan oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter to hydrate skin that has been pulled and stretched. 

(Target, $7.99)

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Best For Red Stretch Marks

7. Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

Rich in hyaluronic acid and Centella Asiatica, this cream will boost your skin’s hydration and elasticity to quickly fade new stretch marks. According to a survey conducted by the brand, 76 percent of women who used this product for 12 weeks saw a reduction in stretch marks. 

(Walmart, $33.89)

Best For Purple Stretch Marks

8. LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

If your stretch marks are purple, they’re already on their way to fading but you may want to speed up the process with this retinol cream. Again, pregnant people should stick to some of the other safer options on this list instead of this one. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Best For White Stretch Marks

9. StriVectin SD Advanced Plus Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate

White stretch marks that have been on your skin for a long time might be here to stay. But you can take care of them (and encourage them to fade further) with this cream. Rich in hyaluronic acid and copper tripeptide, it targets 10 types of collagen to reduce the appearance of fine lines and stretch marks.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Bottom line: Weight change and skin stretching, along with all the bumps, scars, and marks that come with it, can be unavoidable.

Apart from prevention, the best thing you can do to treat stretch marks it catch them early and use a prescribed treatment or one of the creams listed above to encourage them to fade.

But even with all the creams in the world, some stretch marks will stay like scars on the skin. In this case, the best treatment is acceptance. Stretch marks are natural and a symbol of growth and change!

RELATED: Where You See Stretch Marks, I See A Lifelong War To Love My Body Just As It Is

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Alice Kelly is a writer and storyteller with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics. When she’s not creating content for YourTango, you can catch her working on creative fiction and vintage shopping.

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