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Should you use stretch mark creams?
We all know what they are. Those scary, vibrant and almost impossible to remove squiggly lines in the skin that appear after giving birth to children or gaining and losing weight; stretch marks.
Luckily, there are literally hundreds of thousands of creams on the market for the treatment of stretch marks. A number of these have proven to be very effective in preventing or removing stretch marks.
Stretch mark creams can range in price from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. The ingredients found in stretch mark cream can range from cocoa butter to chemicals with so many syllables that I won’t even attempt to repeat.
Don’t worry, we’ve done our research to identify the most effective stretch mark creams in the market today.
What are the best stretch mark removal and prevention creams?
So, which stretch mark creams are best? Which stretch mark creams are worth the money? And most importantly, worth the time?
It is difficult to get a definitive answer to these questions because there are so many factors that go into the equation.
For example, how old are your marks? Are the creams being used preventatively or after the fact? Are you exfoliating before use? What kind of lifestyle do you have? Are you being consistent with application?
For the most part, stretch mark removal creams are not going to completely remove stretch marks. They can, however, reduce the appearance of stretch marks so much so that they are barely visible.
So, which stretch mark creams are most likely to minimize the appearance of stretch marks?
The 7 best stretch mark creams
There are certain brands of stretch mark cream whose names come up often on the internet and in women’s magazines.
Taking into consideration important variables such as before/after results, customer reviews and value for money, we’ve come up with a list of the top 7 stretch mark creams available in the market today.
Keep in mind however, it’s very difficult to provide a one-size-fits all approach to stretch mark cream. The type of cream that best suits you will vary depending on your circumstances.
For example, if you’re pregnant, the best type of stretch mark cream would differ then if you weren’t.
Because of this, we’ve highlighted the best stretch mark creams for different types of people and circumstances (pregnancy stretch marks/sensitive skin/stretch mark prevention, etc) to help you identify the best solution for you.
Firstly, the old-school, time-trusted, cocoa butter stretch mark cream.
Everyone knows that being pregnant comes with certain things. Nausea, weight gain, maternity clothes and…….cocoa butter.
Women have been slathering the stuff on their bulbous bellies for generations in hopes of reducing, preventing and diminishing the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks.
#7 Palmers Cocoa Butter
Palmers Cocoa Butter products are the most time-trusted products on the market for the treatment of stretch marks.
The product line includes stretch mark creams, stretch mark lotions, stretch mark oils and even stretch mark butter sticks.
Pricing is very reasonable and product availability is huge. These stretch mark creams can be bought online at Walmart, Target and your local drug store. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the stuff at a local gas station.
Palmers has expanded their standard ingredient of cocoa butter to include vitamin E, shea butter and Bio c-elaste, “…a powerful combination of collagen, elastin, centella asiatica, sweet almond oil and argan oil”.
For the natural, organic consumer; there are several raw cocoa butter products on the market as well that are free of mineral oils and refined chemicals. Palmers almost always tops the list.
Best for: Those on a budget or those that prefer cocoa butter creams.
Pros of Palmers Cocoa Butter:
- Easily available
Cons of Palmers Cocoa Butter:
- Not as potent or effective as other creams
- Before/after results are less convincing
#6 Revitol Stretch Mark Cream
Revitol stretch mark cream is labeled for prevention of stretch marks. However, women who used this cream after the appearance of stretch marks claim that the cream does also work to help stretch mark removal.
Revitol can be purchased directly through the manufacturer or on Amazon.
Revitol is supposed to increase collagen production and hence, create more skin cells to be able to stretch to new proportions.
The Revitol cream itself has vitamins and natural extracts such as grapefruit to remove dead skin cells and encourage new cell regeneration while strengthening the tissue.
The before and after photos for Revitol are very impressive. In some pictures, deep indentations seem to be smoothed out and the bright red or silvery crinkles are faded to almost match the skin’s original color.
Mainly, consumers claim that their red stretch marks (newer ones) disappeared and no newer ones appeared. However, the lighter and older ones were not as likely to fade.
There weren’t many complaints about odor and most people suggested that the scent was moderate to pleasant.
Absorption of the Revitol stretch mark prevention cream seems to be fairly average; not too greasy but not remarkable.
The 4 ounce bottles are unrealistically small and do not go a long way so I would advise one to buy a few at a time if they find that it works for them.
Pros of Revitol Stretch Mark Cream:
- Impressive before/after results
Cons of Revitol Stretch Mark Cream:
- Absorption is not as good as most others
- Poor value for money (4 ounce bottles don’t last very long)
#5 Cerave Intensive Stretch Marks Cream
The best stretch mark cream for sensitive skin
Cerave Stretch Mark Cream is ideal for those with sensitive skin. It also has great results with reducing the depth of the stretch marks.
This stretch mark cream has definite benefits in its own right. It is gluten free, hypoallergenic, is not tested on animals and is fragrance free.
It’s MVE delivery technology means that it does not require as frequent application as most other creams.
The 5 ounce bottle claims to contain skin ceramides, hyaluronic acid and argan oil and was developed with the support of dermatologists.
Cerave is also more affordable relative to others.
Best for: Those with sensitive skin or those that don’t have time to apply cream as frequently
Pros of Cerave Stretch Mark Cream:
- Relatively inexpensive
- Supported by dermatologists
- Required application is less frequent
Cons of Cerave Stretch Mark Cream:
- Customer reviews and before/after results are not as strong as others
- May be less potent than others
#4 Dermology Stretch Mark Cream
Dermology Stretch Mark Cream is up there in the top three as far as the before and after photographs go. The stretch marks are practically invisible after using this product.
Deep crevices and vivid purple red wrinkle lines are diminished to almost nothing.
Once again, there is little to no information on how old the marks were or how consistently the consumers in the photographs were using the product.
The ingredients in Dermology stretch mark cream are quite similar to the ingredients in Revitol. Vitamins, squalene oil and grapefruit seed extracts help to speed up collagen production and restore skin’s youthful resiliency.
Dermology stretch mark cream is marketed as a prevention cream also and therefore, will have the best results when used before the onset of stretch marks and as soon as possible after the onset of stretch marks.
Pros of Dermology Stretch Mark Cream:
- Before and after photographs are impressive
- All natural ingredients
Cons of Dermology Stretch Mark Cream:
- Difficult to measure the accuracy of before/after photos
- Results tend to vary dramatically between users
#3 Mustela Stretch Mark Cream
The best pregnancy stretch mark cream
Mustela Stretch Marks Cream is lightly fragranced and once again; a prevention cream. This cream is geared toward the treatment of pregnancy stretch marks and like its competitors, claims to improve skin elasticity.
Mustela stretch mark prevention cream is composed of namely natural, plant-based ingredients like avocado and ‘galactoarabinan’ – a patented ingredient from the Larch tree.
This outer space, Doctor Seuss sounding ingredient is intended to super charge collagen production.
The company claims that a whopping 96 percent of women who used this cream preventatively did not develop stretch marks. Impressively it scores 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 100 customer reviews.
For the price, this cream is definitely worth a shot since the claims are so remarkable. The cream is also fast absorbing, hypoallergenic and free from parabens.
It has been clinically proven to be safe for both mother and baby during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Best for: Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
Pros of Mustela Stretch Mark Cream:
- Relatively inexpensive
- Safe during pregnancy
- Compatible with breastfeeding
Cons of Mustela Stretch Mark Cream:
- Only for use on the abdominal area (can also purchase belly+bust pack)
#2 It Works! Stretch Mark Cream
It Works! Stretch Mark Cream is a product in a skin care line that is most commonly known for their wraps.
The company began and currently thrives on a business model similar to Avon or Mary Kay.
With the growth of online business, It works has expanded their line to create solutions for other health and beauty issues that women are facing.
It works stretch mark cream is composed of namely botanical ingredients and claims to be non-greasy and restore a youthful appearance to skin.
It can be ordered online through the It works website, on amazon or through a distributor.
Customer reviews of the product seem to be mixed, however there are more positive reviews then negative.
A closer look at the positive reviews reveals that the happy customers are usually very happy. Most claiming to have experienced dramatic improvements in stretch mark reduction or prevention.
The website has a disclaimer stating that the cream is not intended to prevent or cure any skin condition but is purely cosmetic in nature. This in general is to be expected from all creams as there is no way for them to penetrate or repair the skin at a deeper level.
The before and after pictures on youtube are fairly remarkable. Although there is little information about how long after the onset of the stretch marks the cream was applied.
Overall, if used persistently and as directed, the It works stretch mark cream should help to diminish the appearance of stretch marks.
Consumers are particularly impressed with the results that they have seen on the skin around the thighs where they have had “stubborn” stretch marks.
Pros of It Works! Stretch Mark Cream:
- Good at getting rid of stubborn stretch marks
Cons of It Works! Stretch Mark Cream:
- Customer reviews are mixed
- Requires consistent application to see results
You can read our comprehensive review of It Works! Stretch Mark Cream here.
#1 Mederma Stretch Mark Cream
The best preventative stretch mark cream
Mederma stretch mark cream, like all the others is recommended as a preventative cream. It can also be used during certain trimesters of pregnancy and after the appearance of stretch marks.
Mederma is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for stretch marks and has been clinically tested. It was originally a product for the treatment of scars so the technology used in their stretch mark cream is similar to that of their scar removal gels.
In a survey conducted over 12 weeks, 76% of respondents said that they were satisfied with the results. It has been shown to increase the moisture content of the skin and improve its elasticity.
Mederma stretch mark removal cream tends to do better than most at removing older stretch marks as well as preventing new stretch marks from forming.
We recommend buying a pack of two as it may take up to 12 weeks to start seeing visible results. It comes with a money back guarantee so if you don’t see results in that time you can get your money back.
Best for: stretch mark prevention
Pros of Mederma Stretch Mark Cream:
- Relatively inexpensive
- Great scent
- Backed by professionals
- Comes with a money back gaurantee
Cons of Mederma Stretch Mark Cream:
- May take up to 12 weeks to see significant results
- Is not suitable for all pregnancy trimesters
Stretch mark removal cream versus stretch mark prevention cream
Consumers tend to have better results when they use a stretch mark prevention cream rather than trying to deal with the stretch marks after the fact.
This is good in theory however, in many cases a person is not going to know that their child’s growth spurt in teen years or weight fluctuation is going to cause those unsightly stretch marks.
A cream like Revitol would be great to use during and after pregnancy for best results.
If skin is moisturized and in peak condition for collagen production then one is far less likely to have stretch marks. That being said, genetically some people are just more prone to stretch marks than others.
All of the above products have given some group of consumers’ results.
A person who is desperate to rid themselves of stretch marks might want to start with a less costly stretch mark cream and work their way up to the more expensive stretch mark creams until they find something that works for them.
Remember, not all skin is created equally. Diet, exercise and lifestyle can all have an impact on how difficult it will be to remove stretch marks and the severity of the stretch marks.
Is there a difference between pregnancy stretch marks and other stretch marks?
After much research, it must be said that there is little to no difference between the treatment of pregnancy stretch marks and non pregnancy stretch marks. This is because the cause of the stretch mark and the underlying physiology are identical.
There is a major difference, however, in preventative measures. One is far more likely to use a stretch mark prevention cream during pregnancy than during a growth spurt or sudden weight change.
Remember, stretch mark preventative treatment is much more effective then treating them once they have appeared.
Bio Oil/Vitamin E Oil
There were several reviews of other brands of stretch mark removal cream and stretch mark prevention cream in which consumers mentioned that they used Bio-oil or vitamin E oil in conjunction with the other stretch mark creams and multiplied the results (although they weren’t exactly sure if the results were from the oil, the cream or a combination of the two).
As a matter of practicality, Bio-oil and Vitamin E oil both cost less than $20.00 and are easily available at a local drug store. Bio-oil has even come out with it’s own line of creams as well.