Protect Your Skin With The Best Stretch Mark Creams (2018 Guide)
Yikes! I can still remember the first time I looked in the mirror when I was pregnant and really started to notice my protruding belly.
Literally looking like I swallowed a bowling ball, I knew I had to protect my skin as my belly and body continued to grow as my baby did.
An avid exerciser, I knew what I needed to do to keep my body in the best shape.
But, I also realized that stretch marks were a part of pregnancy, and they couldn’t always be cured.
So, I decided to do what I could to certainly try to prevent them, or make them less noticeable.
That’s when I turned to stretch mark cream.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how the right cream could make or break your skin’s appearance and what we recommend as the best stretch mark creams.
The Importance of Prevention
Prevention is key.
It’s important to try to prevent stretch marks from forming because once you get them, it’s nearly impossible to reverse the effects, unless you undergo expensive and invasive cosmetic treatments (and still, it might not fully work).
So, here are some top tips to make sure you do everything possible to take a preventive, proactive stance:
Minimize your weight gain.
When you keep your weight gain between 20 and 30 pounds, you can ensure that your skin doesn’t get overly stretched.
By no means should you starve yourself. But, keep in mind that you only need to consume an extra 200-400 calories each day, depending on your trimester and needs.
So, eat clean and watch your carbohydrate and sugar intake.
The less weight you gain and have to lose, the less your skin will stretch and shrink.
Drink lots of water.
Keep your system replenished and full of moisture.
Your skin looks fresh, glowing, and dewy when you consume 8-10 glasses of water a day.
When you’re pregnant, you end up needed much more water than that.
So, make it a point to drink 12-15 cups and this will keep your skin fresh and elastic.
Part of keeping your weight gain down involves moderate exercise.
And, when you keep loose and limber, your skin remains taut and toned, which is the perfect recipe for avoiding stretch marks.
Get a massage.
In addition to caring for your body, be sure to pamper your mind, body, soul (and skin) with weekly massages.
You can express your concerns to a massage therapist about getting stretch marks and she can regularly moisturize and massage areas that are prone to attracting marks.
This helps stimulate those areas, improves circulation, and elasticity.
You can keep your skin full of moisture, which improves the appearance and flexibility of your skin quality, by regularly applying special creams at minimum, twice a day (in special areas like the hips, tummy, thighs, rear, and breasts).
In order to achieve maximum results, apply the lotion to moist skin, right after you jump out of the shower or bath tub.
When Should You Start Thinking About Prevention?
I think a lot of women get so consumed with their first trimester just wrapping their head around the fact that they are pregnant, that they don’t consider their skin or stretch marks.
If you’re aware of the fact that your body is going to change in a bigger way you imagined from the get go, there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start and applying lotion from the moment you find out!
Worried that you’re applying cream too late (third trimester)?
While earlier is better, you can still try to resolve the situation and get favorable results by starting an intensive routine immediately.
Benefits of Using a Stretch Mark Cream
Stretch mark cream has some important benefits.
One, they keep skin elastic, smooth, and full of moisture.
Two, hey also keep your skin toned and tight, which is necessary for preventing your tummy and other areas from stretching out too much.
Important Features to Look For
How do you know what kinds of cream constitute as stretch mark cream?
Often times, their packaging is labeled as this specialized formula.
But, you can apply various creams that boast the following features and they’ll do the trick:
Ingredients To Look For
In addition to features of a great stretch mark cream, you should also check the ingredient list to ensure it contains the following necessary ingredients:
- 1Vitamin E. Vitamin E will help you maintain a healthy looking skin and protect you from the effects of free radicals which cause skin damage caused by pregnancy.
- 2Vitamin C. When applied topically, Vitamin C can help you produce more collagen and help promote skin elasticity. Vitamin C also acts as a bleaching agent which assists in lightening any stretch marks you may have occurred from a previous pregnancy.
- 3Vitamin A. Vitamin A both promotes the formation of new collagen and helps skin renewal. Increased collagen improves skin elasticity and enhances the texture of your skin as well as giving you an even skin tone.
- 4Shea and cocoa butter. Both shea butter and cocoa butter allow your skin to absorb the active ingredients. Shea butter also is filled with minerals and antioxidants that help build elasticity of your skin. Cocoa butter is omega-rich and can help boost your natural immune system.
- 5PurCellin oil. PurCellin is a premium ingredient that helps your skin absorb other active ingredients in the recipe of the product. PurCellin also provides a smoother application and creates a barrier for your skin.
- 6Avocado oil. Avocados are not only healthy to eat, but the oil is great for application directly to the skin. Avocado oils help keep you skin hydrated and moist all day long and helps increase the elasticity of your skin, ensuring it stretches safely.
- 7Argon oil. Argon oil helps raise the elasticity rate of your skin, allowing it to bounce back better after you have your baby.
- 8Omega 3 and 6. Omega 3 can help aid in the prevention of stretch marks due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Omega 6 helps repair damaged skin which aids in the reduction of dark stretch marks and nourishes your skin and keeps it hydrated.
- 9Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid keeps your skin hydrated which allows it to absorb other vital, active ingredients better. It's also known for its ability to maintain moisture in areas for extended periods of time making you less susceptible to stretch marks.
Organic vs Traditional Creams
It’s important to find a cream that works for you. Some women swear by organic, and others won’t use anything but the traditional formula.
Keep in mind that just because something is labeled all natural, doesn’t mean that it’s the safest thing to use, nor does it mean it’s organic.
Organic lotions have a certified organic stamp of approval.
And, regardless of which formula you end up using, you should always carefully read labels to avoid anything harmful.
Stretch Marks Do's and Don'ts
In addition to ingredients to look for, and the five ways to prevent stretch marks, there are also some do’s and don’ts to consider. They include:
What Happens If I Get Stretch Marks?
Sometimes, no matter what you do, stretch marks can’t be tamed.
Some believe that they are genetic. Others just gain or lose too much weight during and after pregnancy, which brings the silvery marks out.
If you end up getting them, just know you tried your best to prevent them and chalk it up as a motherhood memory mark.
You can cover up at the beach, or seek out medical treatment.
Although, some moms feel proud to show them off because it makes them feel womanly and is a constant reminder of their pregnancy journey.
Best Stretch Mark Creams
#1. Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Butter
Size: 4.1 Fl. oz
Maximize protection against stretch marks with this award winning tummy rub from Mama Mio (click here to check the price on Amazon).
This cream is packed with seven Omega-rich oils including coconut, avocado, almond and rosehip fruit. These oils are paired perfectly with a shea butter base that melts into your skin every time you decide to give yourself a quick rub down.
The gentle fragrance will relax you as you bond with your body and growing baby. Whether you use it on your boobs, belly, thighs or bottom, the high-end ingredients in this cream will increase your skin's elasticity and feel amazing.
You may want to consider Mama Mio above others if you have a family history of stretch marks.
#2. Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy
Size: 5.29 oz
You will fall instantly in love with this hydrating cream from Mederma (click here to check the price on Amazon).
Finally, a dermatologist recommended stretch mark cream that will reduce those painful stretch marks from popping up. Unlike others on the market, this product is completely safe to use during your pregnancy and even while breastfeeding.
Loaded with active ingredients such as cepalin, hyaluronic acid, and other plant extracts, not only help prevent you from getting stretch marks but also assist in fading existing stretch marks.
If you are like many women who suffer from dry, itchy skin as your body gains weight, this stretch mark cream might be just what you need.
#3. Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Size: 6.5 oz
Spoil yourself with this 99% natural belly butter from Burt's Bees (click here to check the price on Amazon).
The combination of cocoa, shea, and jojoba butter smooth and moisturize your skin as your baby grows. You can feel safe in knowing your body won't be absorbing harmful chemicals such as phthalates, parabens or petroleum.
The Vitamin E in this stretch mark cream will help speed up cell renewal, keeping your skin strong even with sudden weight gain. Designed to be irritant-free for expecting mothers who have sensitive skin.
You might want to consider this stretch mark cream if you are sensitive to smells, or suffering from morning sickness. This fragrance-free option might be a blessing.
Size: 12 oz
The high caffeine formula of this 100% natural coffee scrub from First Botany (click here to check the price on Amazon) works to shrink blood vessels and tightens your skin.
Made with well-researched ingredients for a stretch mark scrub that will not only reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks but will also help prevent new marks from forming.
The antioxidants in this cream are excellent for the reduction and prevention of stretch marks. However, if you have other skin problems such as acne or cellulite, or varicose veins, this will assist in aiding those challenges as well.
This scrub is ideal for mothers expecting a second -or third- child and already suffer from stretch marks.
#5. Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
Size: 4.2 oz
Give your skin some love with this clinically proven cream from Bio-Oil (click here to check the price on Amazon).
With active ingredients such as Vitamin A, E, and PurCellin Oil, it’s easy to see why it has won so many awards over the years.
The non-greasy formula was designed for any skin type and won’t clog pores. This formula is completely hypoallergenic and ideal for expectant mothers who have sensitive skin.
If you want to improve uneven skin tone as well as preventing stretch marks, dermatologists recommend this product.
You might want to consider this option if you are looking for a product that will pamper your skin and make you feel great throughout the day.
#6. Body Merry Stretch Marks & Scars
Size: 4 fl oz
This all natural butter from Body Merry (click here to check the price on Amazon) is loaded with Vitamins E, C, B3 and B5 as well as essential oils that are proven to work.
Stretch Marks & Scars is a nutrient-packed cream that's designed to give your skin an intense hydration as well as improved elasticity.
This velvety butter will leave your body feeling soft, smooth and supple even with rapid weight gain associated with pregnancy. Your body will thank you each time you use it.
If you are on the hunt for a product made with premium ingredients, this might be the butter of your dreams.
#7. Art Naturals Organic Arabica Coffee Scrub
Size: 8.8 oz
This Art Naturals Organic Coffe Scrub (click here to check the price on Amazon) is truly an environmentally conscious option.
Not only is this product vegan, but it is cruelty-free, and all packaging is made with recycled materials as well. You can prevent and reduce marks while feeling good about your purchase.
Made with all natural dead sea salt and Kona coffee makes this scrub rich in antioxidants. Use this scrub on your tummy, thighs, butt or boobs for an exfoliating scrub that will leave your skin refreshed.
If you are looking for a vegan cream that is Fair Trade Certified, this might be your best bet.
#8. Unrefined Shea Butter
Size: 16 oz
Whether you use this Unrefined Shea Butter (click here to check the price on Amazon) all on its own or combine it with your favorite ingredients, you will be pleased with its ability to moisturize and prevent painful stretch marks.
This all natural, chemical-free alternative is both vegan and cruelty-free.
Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the appearance of marks. It also has many vitamins and minerals that can help moisturize and soften your skin, preparing it for rapid weight gain and reducing the likelihood of stretch marks forming.
You might want to consider this option if you are looking to create a personalized, do-it-yourself cream. This product comes with instructions to access a DIY recipe book as well.
#9. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula
Size: 8.5 fl oz
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a massage lotion that's designed especially for recent and expectant mothers.
It may feel delicate, but it provides powerful results. With a combination of cocoa, shea, Vitamin E, Elastin, and many other dermatologists approved ingredients, it's easy to see why many mothers turn to this product.
Simply trade out your usual lotion for this easy to apply option to improve your skin's elasticity during and after your pregnancy. Whether you use this stretch mark lotion over your entire body or only on isolated problem spots, your body will thank you.
You may want to think about this lotion if you want something that can easily be added to your daily routine and has proven results.
#10. CeraVe Special Use Cream
Size: 5 oz
The CeraVe Special Use Cream (click here to check the price on Amazon) was developed by dermatologists, so you know it’s a product that will do the intended job.
This stretch mark cream is fragrance-free, so you can be assured it won't trigger your morning sickness either.
While the ceramides repair and restore your skin's natural barrier, the hyaluronic acid keeps your skin hydrated and prevents new marks from forming. Finally, the argan oil increases your skin's elasticity in the case of fast weight gain in your final trimester.
If you are on the hunt for a product that will show results in a matter of weeks, you might want to end your search here.
Editor's Picks: More in Healthy Pregnancy
- 12 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Pregnant (And 12 Foods to Avoid)
- 20 Tips for a Cool, Comfortable & Healthy Summer Pregnancy
- How to Choose the Best Compression Stockings & Socks for Pregnancy
- How to Choose the Best Probiotics for Pregnancy
- 51 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
- How to Choose the Best Postpartum Pads
- How to Choose the Best Prenatal Vitamins
No one wants to get stretch marks during their pregnancy. But, they can and do happen.
If you’re on top of your stretch mark game early on, it is possible to prevent them, and lessen the severity of their appearance.
Just be aware of awesome ingredients, as well as the top five methods of prevention to ensure you protect your skin, pamper your body, and keep confident when it comes to baring your body!