You may not see many stretch marks on airbrushed images of celebrity mothers in glossy magazines, but rest assured most mothers have them. Stretch marks are a normal part of pregnancy, and they are thought to affect as many as 90% of women during pregnancy.
You may be wondering if there are steps you can take to avoid them altogether. There are plenty of stretch mark creams out there, but do they live up to the hype? Could regularly using a stretch mark cream for pregnant women help you to keep your bump mark-free?
Stretch mark creams will help to keep your skin moisturized and soft. They may even help to reduce itching, but whether they can prevent stretch marks remains to be seen. There is little scientific evidence that stretch mark creams prevent the appearance of stretch marks. However, plenty of women swear by the stretch mark lotion they used during pregnancy.
Stretch mark creams may help to reduce the appearance or number of pregnancy stretch marks, or they may help the lines to fade after the birth. Most women seem to take an ‘it won’t hurt to try’ approach to pregnancy stretch mark creams. If it works, fantastic! If not, at least you had a lovely moisturized bump throughout your pregnancy, right?
What Do Pregnancy Stretch Marks Look Like?
Stretch marks look like thin lines that appear on the skin after periods of rapid growth. They often appear during puberty and pregnancy, times when the body grows fast in a short space of time.
The jagged lines usually appear in small clusters on fatty areas of the body, including the belly, breasts, hips, thighs and buttocks. During pregnancy, they are most likely to appear on your bump, breasts and hips as these are the areas that grow rapidly during pregnancy.
Stretch marks may be red, purple, white, silver or blue. They are usually darkest when they first appear and then fade to a less prominent color.
What Causes Stretch Marks When Pregnant?
Understanding what causes pregnancy stretch marks may help you to accept the lines appearing on your body. When your body grows, for example, during pregnancy or puberty, your skin has to stretch. The middle layer of your skin (the dermis) contains strong fibers that allow your skin to stretch. If this stretching happens quickly, however, the fibers in the dermis can break.
During pregnancy, your skin is forced to stretch fast, and this can cause the dermis to tear. These tears allow the blood vessels to show through, which is why stretch marks often look red or purple at first. Eventually, the blood vessels will contract, and the appearance of the marks will fade. Instead of showing the blood vessels, it will now be the pale-colored fat beneath the skin that shows through the tears, giving the stretch marks a silver or white color.
Will I Get Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
Stretch marks are a common complaint of pregnancy, so it’s highly likely you will notice at least a few on your body before the end of the pregnancy. During pregnancy, your skin has to do a lot of stretching. Make sure you take plenty of bump shots throughout your pregnancy so you can truly appreciate how much your body changes during these nine short months. While your bump is busy stretching to accommodate your growing baby, you may be wondering whether you’re going to get stretch marks.
Stretch marks are thought to be hereditary. Ask your mother whether she suffered from stretch marks during pregnancy. If she did, the chances are you will too. If not, you might be one of the lucky ones who escape pregnancy stretch mark free.
How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
If you’re worried about stretch marks, you’re probably keen to try anything that could help you avoid them. Some people believe eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of getting stretch marks. It’s important to note that there is no science to back this up, but eating healthy isn’t going to do you any harm so you may as well give it a go! You may already be eating a balanced diet rich in fresh vegetables, greens and fruits. The key is to ensure the foods you choose and bursting with vitamins and minerals. For healthy skin, be sure to eat plenty of vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc and silicon (this is a mineral).
Another way some mamas claim to have dodged the stretch mark bullet is by religiously applying stretch mark creams throughout their pregnancies. Some women use these from the moment they discover they are pregnant, but others wait until their second trimester of pregnancy before using these products. There are plenty of stretch mark creams on the market, but how do you know which ones are worth the price tag? We’re going to share with you which are our eight best stretch mark creams available – and why.
8 Best Stretch Mark Creams
BellyBelly’s Top Pick Stretch Mark Cream
This Earth Mama Belly Butter is about as natural as a product can come. It’s great for those with sensitive skin. Earth Mama Belly Butter is certified organic and doesn’t contain any hidden nasties like petroleum, mineral oil, parabens or artificial fragrance. It’s not entirely fragrance-free, but it has a very mild natural fragrance that the manufacturers promise won’t aggravate your morning sickness.
If you’re familiar with the Earth Mama brand, then this product won’t disappoint. It is high quality and luxurious, just like the rest of their product range. The handy pump design means you can squirt the lotion into your hand easily – there’s no wrestling with a lid while having slippy lotion hands! It’s a long-lasting lotion so you can apply it in the morning and then go about your day without worrying about your skin. A little Earth Mama Belly Butter goes a long way, so you won’t have to worry about running out too soon.
This rich moisturizing Belly Butter contains organic herbs and oils traditionally used during pregnancy. The herbs and oils encourage the skin’s natural elasticity, allowing nature to do its job. It’s a lotion, rather than an oil, which some women prefer the feel of on their skin. It’s not as slippery as oil or as thick as a body butter but is the perfect compromise somewhere in the middle. The lotion goes on smooth and quickly absorbs into the skin. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy but instead leaves skin soft.
This natural product is particularly great for mamas-to-be who suffer from sensitive skin. It’s organic, which means you can feel safe applying it to your bump during pregnancy. Earth Mama Belly Butter is cruelty-free, vegan certified and organic. It isn’t a budget option, but the price is reasonable for an organic certified high-quality product.
Runner Up Best Organic Stretch Mark Creams
Stretch Mark Cream #2 Glow Organics Belly Butter
Glow Organics Belly Butter is 100% organic, vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free. It’s made in the USA and is free from parabens, synthetics, dyes, phthalates, sulfates and artificial fragrances. If you are trying to use natural, organic products during pregnancy, then look no further. This all-organic Belly Butter will keep your skin moisturized and relieve that dreaded bump itch caused by stretching skin.
Glow Organics Belly Butter promotes skin elasticity during pregnancy and beyond. It is unscented so it won’t leave you feeling nauseous. With a shea butter base, this Belly Butter is thick and creamy. It spreads easily onto your skin and is quickly absorbed, leaving your skin moisturized. The manufacturer recommends applying the product twice a day for the best results.
Glow Organics Belly Butter is one of the more expensive products on this list, so it’s not suited to every budget. However, it is a high-quality Body Butter which keeps skin hydrated all day. It’s organic, which means you don’t need to worry about what you’re rubbing into your skin.
The Belly Butter solidifies when not in use, so some pregnant women have complained that it’s hard to get out of the tub and rub in. It does liquify quickly when in contact with skin. It’s worthing waiting a minute for the butter to warm up against your skin, so it’s easier to rub in. It comes in a small tub, and some customers have complained that it doesn’t last as long as other products on this list.
Best For Prevention
Stretch Mark Cream #3 Trilastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
Trilastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream helps to improve the skin’s natural resilience and elasticity to prevent stretch marks. This claims to be one of the best cream for stretch marks prevention. The cream relies on essential oil that the manufacturer claims can help to prevent stretch marks from developing during pregnancy.
Trilastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream is a safe, hypoallergenic pregnancy stretch mark cream that soothes, hydrates and protects the skin. It contains 15 naturally-sourced botanical oils and extracts and is enriched with antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It was designed by a team of award-winning scientists and is manufactured in the USA. It is one of the best pregnant stretch mark cream products available.
The hydrating formula of Trilastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream is also designed to prevent itchiness during pregnancy. It is a non-greasy formula and is safe for sensitive skin. It leaves your skin feeling hydrated and soft, rather than greasy or oily.
The bonus of the non-greasy formula is that it doesn’t leave your hands feeling greasy after application.
Trilastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream is cruelty-free and contains no parabens. It isn’t a budget option, but it does leave your skin feeling beautifully soft. If you’re on a budget, or would simply prefer to purchase a more affordable cream, take a look at the other options in the list.
Best For Sensitive Skin
Stretch Mark Cream #4 Burt’s Bees Mama Bee
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee is a nourishing oil which contains vitamin E. Vitamin E is thought to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and keep the skin healthy. This lightweight body oil provides soothing relief to stretching skin during pregnancy. It gives your skin a natural glow that will help you look and feel your best.
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee is an oil rather than a lotion or butter, so it feels lighter when it’s applied. It is 100% natural and made with sweet almond oil, lemon oil and vitamin E. The manufacturer claims this product will give you healthier looking, beautiful skin. Created with expectant mamas in mind, Burt’s Bees Mama Bee reconditions and revitalizes skin throughout pregnancy and helps to keep skin soft.
Burt’s Bees pride themselves on making safe, effective products for babies and pregnant women alike. Using top-quality ingredients and natural fragrances, Burt’s Bees have been creating safe and natural skincare products for 30 years. Their other products, like Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Nourishing lotion, their baby lotion for dry skin, are loved by parents. Burt’s Bees Mama Bee is designed with sensitive skin in mind, so you can feel safe rubbing it into your skin.
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee should be applied straight after a shower or bath so that it can lock in moisture and keep skin hydrated. The smooth feel of the product will leave you feeling pampered after every use. The oil leaves your skin feeling silky soft. You don’t have to use much; the lemon-scented oil goes a long way so the bottle may last longer than you think. Despite being an oil, Burt’s Bees Mama Bee is quickly absorbed into the skin, so you don’t need to wait around before you can get dressed.
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee is cruelty-free and made with natural ingredients. It contains no phthalates, parabens, petroleum or SLS. It isn’t one of the cheapest products on the market, but it is an excellent option if you are looking for an oil that will prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
Best For Massage
Stretch Mark Cream #5 Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks was designed with pregnant women in mind. The unique skin-strengthening formula c a special blend of pure cocoa butter, vitamin E and shea butter. The lotion is mild so it won’t irritate your skin, but it is effective and will leave your skin feeling hydrated.
The lotion is safe for all skin types and is designed for use during pregnancy and beyond. Palmer’s cocoa butter is a household name when it comes to the treatment of stretch marks. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion is designed for all-over body use to reduce pregnancy stretch marks. This massage lotion improves the skin’s elasticity and helps retain moisture. With regular use, it can reduce stretch marks.
The non-greasy massage lotion for pregnancy stretch marks can help relieve the dryness and itchiness some women experience during pregnancy. If your partner offers you a massage to relieve your pregnancy aches and pains, use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion to moisturize your skin and reduce stretch marks. The lotion contains natural oils, collagen, elastin and lutein to keep skin hydrated and supple for up to 48 hours.
Made in the USA, this product can be used in place of a daily moisturizer, to give your skin extra protection during pregnancy. The bottle has a pump top which makes it easy to use. This is an affordable product which many pregnant women rely on during pregnancy.
Best Intensive Treatment
Stretch Mark Cream #6 Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Basq Butter
Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Basq Butter contains peptides and extracts which boost collagen renewal for stronger skin that can stretch and rebound. The manufacturers claim it contains clinically proven ingredients to help prevent and repair stretch marks. It is free from parabens and phthalates and clinically tested for use on all skin types.
Basq Butter contains a rich blend of shea and jojoba butter, as well as omega-rich oils, that help to nourish skin and prevent itching as the skin stretches. If you’re struggling with itching skin as your bump grows, this could be the solution. The creamy butter provides instant relief and helps to protect your skin from further damage.
This award-winning product has been attracting praise for over a decade. It contains darutoside, a powerful plant blend, that builds collagen and strengthens skin. Basq’s Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter contains Biopeptides and Algisium C, which help soothe itchy skin. This combination also helps to prevent skin damage before stretch marks form. The butter is made from skin-nourishing vitamins E, D and A.
The intensive stretch mark butter is thick and creamy but doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy. It won’t leave a residue on your clothes or leave you feeling sticky and uncomfortable. It’s fast-absorbing and will nourish and hydrate your skin while you get on with your day.
Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Basq Butter isn’t cheap, and it comes in small tubs, so you’re bound to get through a few during your pregnancy. While some reviewers love the scent of the product, those with sensitivities to strong smells during pregnancy have complained that this product was overly fragranced.
Stretch Mark Cream #7 Bio-Oil Skincare
Chances are, people have been recommending Bio-Oil to you ever since you announced your pregnancy. Bio-Oil is a household name when it comes to pregnancy products. Some women swear by it for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy.
Bio-Oil is marketed as a product that can improve the appearance of new and old scars, improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, and smooth and tone ageing skin. Is Bio-Oil effective for old stretch marks? Many women claim Bio-Oil is useful for treating old stretch marks from previous pregnancies. As far as pregnancy goes, it claims to prevent the formation of stretch marks and improve the appearance of existing stretch marks.
As the name suggests, Bio-Oil is an oil rather than a lotion or butter. This means it is easily applied and quickly absorbed. It can be built into the daily skincare routine and can be used all over the body and face. The oil goes on smooth and will leave your skin feeling soft to the touch.
Bio-Oil contains vitamins A and E. The oil includes lavender, rosemary and chamomile oils. It also contains the unique ingredient PurCellin Oil. It is absorbed easily deep into the skin and provides targeted treatment to pregnancy stretch marks.
Bio-Oil is an affordable product and is a great option if you’re on a budget. It is available in different sized bottles so you can get a small one at first if you want to try it out. Be careful how much oil you use, you won’t need much to moisturize your entire bump.
Bio-Oil is versatile because it can be used to treat so many skin problems. You can continue to use it after the birth and can use it to help with scars and uneven skin tone.
Stretch Mark Cream #8 Botanic Tree Stretch Mark Cream
Botanic Tree Stretch Mark Cream for pregnant women delivers intense hydration and claims to prevent and reduce stretch marks during pregnancy. It is safe for use during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. The cream uses natural and effective ingredients to penetrate your skin and deliver high levels of moisture.
Incorporate Botanic Tree Stretch Mark Cream for pregnancy into your daily skincare routine and help to keep your skin hydrated throughout your pregnancy. The cream is fast-drying and doesn’t leave a greasy or oily residue upon your skin. The cream is thin and easily applied, so it can easily be used each morning and night.
Many mamas swear this product has helped to heal their existing stretch marks after pregnancy, even after short term use. Others have noted the instant relief is provided from the dreaded pregnancy itch. Many reviewers were pleased with how quickly they noticed results after adding this cream into their daily routine.
Some users have commented on the cream’s strong scent, which may not be ideal if you’re suffering from nausea during pregnancy. It comes in a small tube, and so you would probably need to purchase more than once. The positive here is that it allows you to try the product without having to buy it all in one go.
Bonding With Your Bump
Even the most cynical person can’t fail to notice one of the apparent benefits of using a stretch mark cream for pregnancy. While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that creams and oils work, there is very little science. However, you can’t argue with the importance of bonding with your bump during pregnancy.
As you apply your chosen cream or oil, use this as an opportunity to bond with your developing baby. As you moisturize your bump, talk or sing to the baby in your belly. You can start this as soon as you get a positive pregnancy test result, in the second trimester of pregnancy, or during your third trimester. At first, you might not get a reaction, but this time spent focusing on your baby and the pregnancy will still provide benefits. And, as your baby grows, they will be able to respond to the gentle nudges as you rub your bump. Expect a few kicks, somersaults and nudges as your baby grows big enough (and strong enough) to respond to your touch!
By your third trimester, your baby will be able to hear you chat and sing to them during your daily ritual of moisturizing your bump. Make it your daily prompt to talk to your baby. Tell your baby how excited you are to meet them. Tell them all the things you’ve been doing to prepare for their arrival. Don’t be afraid to open up about your worries about the future. Talking about your fears can help you to process and deal with them, even if you’re talking to somebody who can’t answer back.
Can You Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?
There is no proven way to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy. Some women do manage to avoid them entirely, but the overwhelming majority of women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy. Experts believe stretch marks are hereditary, so whether you get them or not will depend upon your genetics. However, there are plenty of mamas out there claiming they have wonder products to thank for their mark-free postpartum bellies.
Can Stretch Marks Go Away After Pregnancy?
Yes and no. Stretch marks won’t ever completely disappear. They are essentially small scars on the skin, and so it’s impossible to get rid of them. You can, however, reduce their appearance and make them far less noticeable. Stretch marks will fade by themselves, but this will take time. Many people choose to spend their hard-earned cash on products that claim to speed up this fading process.
Some women choose to use postpartum belly wraps to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The best postpartum belly wraps are believed to help your body and skin shrink back down after pregnancy. Postpartum belly wraps are relatively new products to the market so you may struggle to find personal recommendations of which is the best postpartum belly wrap.
What Week Do Stretch Marks Appear In Pregnancy?
When stretch marks appear in pregnancy varies between women. They most commonly start to emerge from the second trimester of pregnancy, as by this time, the skin is having to stretch to accommodate the growing baby. Some women don’t develop stretch marks until further into the pregnancy, as their baby grows even bigger. Some women think they have escaped stretch marks altogether only to find their belly full of them in the days after the birth. It’s not just stretching that can cause them; losing weight fast can cause stretch marks, too.
Does Scratching Cause Stretch Marks When You’re Pregnant?
No, scratching during pregnancy does not cause stretch marks. Stretch marks are caused by the skin stretching fast, and it is also believed hormones may be partly to blame. Scratching and itching during pregnancy will not cause stretch marks but may be uncomfortable.
What Does It Mean When Your Stretch Marks Are Itchy?
If your stretch marks are itching, it might mean your baby is having a growth spurt. If you have an intense urge to itch or scratch your bump, this could be because your skin is stretching. The feeling of your skin stretching is not pleasant, and many women complain of itchiness during periods of rapid growth. Moisturize your bump regularly to reduce the itchiness.
What Is The Best Stretch Mark Cream For Pregnancy?
We have named Earth Mama Belly Butter as BellyBelly’s best stretch mark cream 2019. However, there are creams, lotions and oils to suit all skin types, so check the list above to find the one that will best suit you. Ask any new mama friends you have which stretch mark treatments they would recommend. You will probably find that what works for some may not work for others.
Why are my stretch marks pink?
If you are wondering why your stretch marks are pink, it could be because they are relatively new stretch marks. Stretch marks can be purple, red, pink, blue, silver or white. They tend to be a darker color at first and eventually fade until they are silver or white in appearance. A pink color may be indicative that the stretch marks have only recently appeared. Or, it may be a sign that your once-purple stretch marks are fading.
How do you know if your stretch marks are fading?
If you want to know if your stretch marks are fading, you should monitor their appearance regularly. It should be pretty obvious when they start to fade, though you may not notice it happening if they fade slowly over a few months. You may find that one day you see they have pretty much disappeared without you noticing it happening.
If you want to monitor your stretch marks, use your smartphone to record their appearance. Try taking weekly photos of your stretch marks to see whether you can see any difference in how they look. Make sure you take the photographs in the same lighting so you can compare like with like. The internet is filled with before and after photos of stretch marks, so try making your own to see whether the best lotion for pregnancy stretch marks you choose really works.
What Do Red Stretch Marks Mean?
If your stretch marks are red, it may mean they are new stretch marks. If you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, they are a sign that your body is stretching quickly now that your baby is growing bigger. Most stretch marks start red or purple and slowly fade to a much lighter (and less noticeable) color. The color of your stretch marks doesn’t mean much. If the red marks bother you, you could try using one of the stretch mark creams for pregnancy listed above to see if they help to speed up the fading process.
What Is The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks?
You are probably wondering what the most effective way to get rid of stretch marks is. The most important thing to remember is that your stretch marks will fade over time. They will not disappear entirely, but they will fade and become much less noticeable. The angry red marks you see now will soon fade to silvery whispers upon your skin.
There isn’t anything you can do to remove stretch marks from your skin permanently, however you could try the following to help the marks fade:
- Give it time
Stretch marks do fade given time. You might hate the look of them now, but they will fade to a silvery-white, and you may not even notice them then. You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive treatment options to reduce your pregnancy stretch marks. They will fade themselves if you give them time. They won’t disappear completely, but they will one day be something you barely notice.
By the time your baby turns one, your stretch marks will be much less noticeable than they are today. This may even happen sooner for you; some women find their pregnancy stretch marks have faded by the time their baby is six-months-old.
- Vitamin E creams
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that vitamin E creams may help stretch marks to fade. However, there isn’t much scientific evidence to back up these claims. If you are self-conscious about your stretch marks, however, you could try applying one of the best lotion for pregnancy stretch marks containing vitamin E.
Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, applied to the skin, may help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. This is most successful when the retinoids are used within a few months of the stretch marks first appearing. Retinoids help to rebuild collagen in the skin, and this reduces the appearance of stretch marks. Retinoids, however, are not advised for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding so you will need to hold off on this treatment option.
- Laser therapy
Light and laser therapies can be used with success to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. These therapies work by encouraging collagen or elastin production in the skin. However, this treatment option may be costly, and you will need to find a qualified laser technician to perform the procedure.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Stretch Marks?
If you’re reluctant to fork out money for products that might not work, you may be wondering if coconut oil is good for stretch marks. Coconut oil can be used as a daily moisturizer and will help to hydrate your skin. This may improve the health and appearance of your skin. Many women choose to use coconut oil to prevent and treat stretch marks during pregnancy. You could try moisturizing with coconut oil every morning and night to see if it helps reduce the appearance of your stretch marks.
How do I permanently get rid of stretch marks?
It’s not possible to permanently get rid of stretch marks. You may be able to find treatments that will encourage the stretch marks to fade, but they will still be present on your skin. You will still be able to find them if you go looking for them, though they will be less barely noticeable to other people.
Even if you do reduce the appearance of your stretch marks, there’s no guarantee they will stay away for good. If you fall pregnant again or put on weight quickly, you are likely to notice new stretch marks appearing on your skin. Stretch marks are to be expected when the skin is forced to stretch quickly. They may not look great at first, but they will fade over time, and you may find that you stop noticing them after a while.
To find out more about Coconut oil, you can read BellyBelly’s article:
Are Stretch Marks Normal?
Yes, stretch marks are normal. As many as nine out of 10 women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. They are a natural and normal part of pregnancy. You may not think it thanks to this world of airbrushing and Instagram filters, but most mamas have stretch marks. Celebrities have stretch marks. Models have stretch marks. They are a normal part of many of our bodies. You may not love the look of them, but they are normal, and they are nothing to be ashamed of.
Nobody has perfect skin, even the influencers and models who appear flawless have imperfections. Do not compare what you see in the mirror with the digitally-altered images you see online or in magazines.
Are Stretch Marks Bad?
No, stretch marks are not bad. They are not a sign of poor health or bad skin; they are simply a normal and natural thing that many people have. You may feel self-conscious about your stretch marks, but this is down to societal pressure rather than stretch marks being ‘bad’. There is nothing wrong with having stretch marks. Most people won’t even notice your stretch marks; you are probably your own worst critic.
Your stretch marks are a physical reminder of the amazing strength your body showed when growing and birthing a new life. Your body stretched and changed to accommodate and nourish a growing baby. You shouldn’t look for flaws in your body. Instead, your body should be celebrated and respected for the amazing things it has achieved. Pregnancy isn’t easy, it can be tough, and it proves just how strong women are. Those stretch marks are your tiger stripes, your warrior markings, and you should wear them with pride. Yes, you are a mother, yes, your body has changed, and yes, you are proud of what it has achieved.