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Top 15 Best Stretch Mark Creams 2022: Most Effective Product Brands

Stretch marks tend to trigger insecurities. This phenomenon typically occurs when the body expands faster than our skin could grow, consequently introducing these unpleasant-looking scars. If you’ve never heard this from anyone before, stretch marks are completely natural and no fault of your own. Causes may range from family history and rapid growth during teenage years or pregnancy to significant fluctuations in weight and the impact of the cortisol hormone on elastic fibers in the skin, among an extensive list of causes [1].

Nevertheless, our editorial team decided to scavenge the market for stretch mark creams that may reduce their severity to a certain degree. After spending a considerable amount of time researching, we landed on 15 products that could potentially be saviors in this situation. Before proceeding to the pertinent details regarding our process of elimination, everyone will have a sense of what each product is intended to achieve. Let’s get started!

The Top 15 Best Stretch Mark Creams for 2022

Below is a list of the best stretch mark creams for 2022:

  • Skinception Stretch Mark Therapy
  • H-Stretch Marks Formula
  • Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
  • Revamin Stretch Mark Cream
  • Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention
  • Stretch Marks & Scars Defense Cream
  • Mama Belly Butter
  • Belly Butter
  • Evereden Nourishing Stretch Mark Cream
  • Stretch Marks Therapy
  • Mustela Stretch Marks Cream
  • Orgono LIVING SILICA
  • Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Stretch Marks
  • HerSolution Smooth
  • Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream

Skinception Stretch Mark Therapy

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  • Company: Skinception by Dave David, MD
  • Starting Price: USD $49.95

Skinception by Dave David, MD, is an all-natural intensive stretch mark therapy formulated to minimize scars, blemishes, and wrinkles, tighten and smoothen the skin, all while producing a vibrant and youthful complexion. Thirty-two years ago, Dr. Dave David certified in obstetrics and gynecology and had been a practicing cosmetic surgeon for over 40 years. Also, he founded Medical Face & Body Aesthetics in Boston, where he employed the latest medical and surgical procedures that help patients defy signs of aging.

Having someone experienced in the field and who pushes skin health education onto men and women gives this brand a competitive edge. That said, Skinception is dubbed “the next generation of anti-aging skincare and body care with a range of clinically-tested formulas and treatments that address everything from stretch marks to loose skin.” So, what’s inside this stretch mark cream, you ask?

Active ingredients include Regestril, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Lactate, Darutoside, Caprylic Capric Triglycerides, Isopropyl Palmitate, Pro-Sveltyl, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Stearyl Alcohol, Pro-Coll-One+, Green Bean Extract, Allantoin, Beta Glucan, Phytoceramides Siegesbeckia Orientalis, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Nelumbo Leaf Extract, Orange Peel Oil, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Rutin, and Panthenol.

H-Stretch Marks Formula

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  • Company: Healing Natural Oils
  • Starting Price: USD $34.95

For the past 20 years, Healing Natural Oils has been on a mission to “provide only the finest natural products which are ethically produced using the best quality, natural ingredients available.” As a team known to create lasting relationships, Healing Natural Oils avows that their solutions have been tried and tested over many years and reflect positive feedback, high standards, and ongoing research. Additionally, they have supported many local, regional, and international charities, emphasizing nurturing the planet!

On the topic of stretch mark alleviation, their H-Stretch Marks Formula embodies pure essential oils intended to quickly seal in moisture so that skin texture and tone can be enhanced. When topically applied onto the arms, breasts, stomach, hips, buttocks, and thighs, individuals can anticipate a reduction in the overall appearance. Credit has been given to the union between Corylus Avellana Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Lavandula Officinalis Flower Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil, and Pogostemon Cablin Leaf Oil.

Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

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  • Company: Bio-Oil
  • Starting Price: USD $8.92

The Bio-Oil team has been around for as long as time could tell. Their journey of helping to improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks started in 1987, and this team has been holding firm ever since. Oddly the idea of using oil was dismissed in the past, especially seeing that this was a period where stretch mark creams and lotions were celebrated.

Fortunately for Bio-Oil, Skincare Oil became the “world’s leading scar and stretch mark product.” From there, their research continued, and a specialist laboratory was set up. As a result, the team formulated an oil-based gel for dry skin in 2018, a completely natural scar and stretch mark product in 2020, and high-oil cream moisture in 2021. As maintained by Bio-Oil, they always “focused exclusively on research, with the selling and distribution of its products licensed to leading skincare companies around the world.”

Bio-Oil Skincare Oil was the first-ever oil to be submitted to clinical trials, which prompted doctors and pharmacists to recommend them with every successful outcome. What is it that makes this solution so effective? The more recent rendition includes Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil, Chamomile Oil, Calendula Oil, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Purcellin Oil.

Revamin Stretch Mark Cream

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  • Company: Revamin
  • Starting Price: USD $59

Revamin Stretch Mark Cream was designed to lighten stretch mark visibility, increase skin elasticity and firmness, ensure optimal skin nourishment and softness, and possibly prevent the formation of future marks. With the potential to effectively fight stretch marks on the belly, upper arms, thighs, and buttock regions, this topical solution allegedly combines the likes of Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Avocado Oil, Apricot Oil, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and other plant oils. According to the makers, Revamin is dubbed “No.1 Cream for Stretch Marks, ” and it certainly has enough of the right ingredients to justify this bold claim. While other brands and products have revealed themselves and their procedures, the makers of Revamin could do a better job of explaining why it is the top-rated stretch mark cream. Would we invest in this Revamin? Yes, it is affordably priced and has many of the ingredients associated with yielding real results for customers. Despite some level of transparency in question, the Revamin Stretch Mark Cream is a viable option if none of the products above spoke loudly to you.

Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention

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  • Company: Revitol
  • Starting Price: USD $59.95

Founded in 2002, Revitol is dedicated “to providing safe and effective products that help people supplement their lives.” Precisely, their products symbolize the benefits of unprecedented research and development, the latest breakthroughs in nutritional science, and high-quality ingredients. In the context of stretch marks, we have the Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention cream, which is intended to tighten, tone, smoothen, and strengthen the skin.

In so doing, the team avows that existing and future stretch marks can be defeated. Revitol claims to have loaded their cream with two clinically proven skin-toning agents, i.e., Squalane Oil and Grapefruit Seed Extract, coupled with authentic Aloe Vera. At the time of writing, there are many things that stand out with the Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention Cream for those who want to boost the production of elastin and collagen in the epidermis naturally.

Stretch Marks & Scars Defense Cream

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  • Company: Body Merry
  • Starting Price: USD$19.99

Body Merry is a personal care company devoted to creating budget-friendly solutions, producing results, and ensuring each person’s skin is happy with what is being applied to it. The team affirms to “fill each bottle with the best ingredients, packed with a smile, and a special wish for your happiness.” Although very little is known about the brand’s entirety, we at least have in-depth knowledge of the Stretch Marks & Scars Defense Cream.

This cream was developed for all skin types in dire need of a fading solution for stretch marks from pregnancy, a growth spurt, scars, or burns. The formula includes Organic Shea, Organic Cocoa Butter, and an array of antioxidants in the forms of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, and Seaweed Extract are poised to increase skin elasticity, prevent, and reduce said appearances. Also, this solution can be used as a deeply moisturizing body butter for dry skin types.

Mama Belly Butter

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  • Company: Burt’s Bees
  • Starting Price: USD$10.12

“Wild-bearded and free-spirited,” Burt Shavitz is the namesake for this company. He teaches how to live simply and harmoniously with the natural world. He was quoted as, “I’m less interested in the inside of whatever it is I own than the outside of what it sits on.” And believe it or not, this philosophy is integrated within Burt’s Bees, a brand that delves into nature, natural ingredients, and cycles of renewal are front and center.

The team’s goal is to empower “people to care for their skin so that it can be its most beautiful, season after season.” Their final products also reflect careful studying, needs of specific skin types and concerns, keeping up with the skin’s natural pace of renewal (which is supposedly 28 days for new skin cells), and rigorous testing at the 4- and 8-week marks. How can anyone neglect Burt’s Bees climate pledge (use of sustainable certifications), dermatologist support, and contribution to restoring biodiversity through the Burt’s Bees Foundation?

Taking everything into account, Mama Belly Butter is designed to nourish bellies before and after pregnancy. The combination of Shea Butter, Jojoba Butter, and Vitamin E is assumed to promote utmost moisture preservation and help the skin recover from such an experience.

Belly Butter

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  • Company: Earth Mama
  • Starting Price: USD$21.99

Founded by mother, nurse, and avid herbalist, Melinda Olson, Earth Mama took off after her hobby led to serious planting, nurturing, and harvesting herbs. Her passion for this realm was deeply fueled by the need to educate people on their innate abilities to overcome everyday toxicity.

Before Earth Mama, her solutions were made in the kitchen. After moving from the kitchen to the garage and her dining room, Melinda eventually expanded her company to Clackamas, Oregon. With growing feedback from pregnant women and new mamas regarding their health and that of their babies, Earth Mama took a vow to “go to the ends of the earth to make sure [their] customers are safe and unharmed […] Our work is never done: we endlessly rethink, re-evaluate, research and reformulate.”

This is where it is best to fit to introduce the Belly Butter, i.e., a moisturizing pregnancy lotion that contains organic herbs and oils to help soften the skin while encouraging the skin’s natural elasticity to unveil itself. What many people might find comforting about this lotion is that it has been dermatologist- and clinically tested for irritation and is certified to the “NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients.” Belly Butter is also the recipient of the Cribsie Awards of 2021!

Ingredients responsible for such recognition include Aloe Leaf Juice, Olive Fruit Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Sweet Orange Peel Oil, Rooibos Leaf Extract, Jojoba Seed Oil, Calendula Flower Extract, Borage Seed Oil, Raspberry Seed Oil, and Neroli Flower Oil.

Evereden Nourishing Stretch Mark Cream

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  • Company: Evereden
  • Starting Price: USD$45

The Evereden team symbolizes two universal truths: “everything that touches your family’s skin has the potential to create a lasting impact on its health and there’s no such thing as being too safe, exacting or thoughtful when it comes to getting skincare right.” There are several reasons why Evereden qualified for this guide. First, they abide by strict standards. To date, the EU banned 1400 unsafe skin care ingredients, but this team currently refuses to use over 2000.

Second, their scientific advisory board combines 55 years of medical experience. The moms in medicine who are part of this board include Head of Pediatric Dermatology, Dr. Joyce Teng, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Dermatology, Dr. Sarina Elmaria, MD, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Dr. Rebecca Hartman, MD, MPH. Next, five scientific organizations and agencies have certified this brand, making them “over-certified,” as put by Evereden. Lastly, their cream has boasting rights because it has been EWG Verified!

As for the Nourishing Stretch Mark Cream, it has been created for pregnant/expecting mothers. It includes Mango Butter, Peptides, Centella Asiatica, and Rosehip Oil to deeply moisturize, strengthen, and increase the skin’s elasticity. This process is reckoned to hydrate the skin, combat stretch marks, and treat their appearances. Dr. Joyce further explained that skin elasticity is imperative “so that the skin won’t break as much when undergoing the stress of changing.” Therefore, she recommends “applying a rich emollient as you massage to promote wound healing and to encourage localized blood flows to certain areas.”

Stretch Marks Therapy

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  • Company: Mederma
  • Starting Price: USD$27.82

Mederma is a doctor- and pharmacist recommended brand for scar treatment. This brand is primarily known for its unique triple action formula intended to penetrate beneath the skin’s surface seal in moisture for renewed skin cells while aiding in collagen production. Moreover, their educational resources have been greatly appreciated because they dive deep into each topic of interest (i.e., scar, stretch marks, and cold sores).

At Mederma, the team strives to “manufacture products of high quality and performance,” they demonstrate to continue to capture customer feedback for product development purposes. Nevertheless, Stretch Marks Therapy has been clinically proven effective because of Cepalin, Hyaluronic Acid, and Centella Asiatica. Individuals can anticipate visible results after the first four weeks and more significant improvements after 12 weeks of a daily application when applied as directed.

Mustela Stretch Marks Cream

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  • Company: Mustela
  • Starting Price: USD$21.99

In 1950, Paul Berthomé partnered with pharmacist Claude Guillon to create the first-ever cleansing milk designed for babies’ skin. Seventy years and after many million soft-skinned babies later, Mustela remains strong in up keeping their promise: “to stand by parents and make their life easier.” With their production site in Epernon, in Eur-et-Loire, France, the team has complete control over their value chain from research right down to the production, marketing, quality, and safety control aspects. Regarding research, interested parties can review their 59 scientific publications on the skin and the filing of 14 patents!

Another facet that we admired about Mustela is their aim to do better today, tomorrow, and in the unforeseen future. With 500 other B Corp certified companies, Mustela is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. This naturally implies making changes to their sourcing and manufacturing processes. Honestly, we can keep going with their efforts. Still, the key takeaway is that Mustela embodies the power of knowledge, advanced technology, transparency, a healthy reputation, and commitment to the people.

Getting back on track, we have the dermatologist-tested Mustela Stretch Marks Cream, which should be applied throughout one’s pregnancy to prevent and limit the appearance of stretch marks. It contains Passionfruit Oil, Avocado Oil, and Avocado Peptides to moisturize and soothe tingling skin sensations. This also means reinforced skin elasticity and soft and supple skin for pregnant women. This product is also EWG-verified since it is 96% plant-based.

Orgono LIVING SILICA

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  • Company: Silicium Laboratories
  • Starting Price: USD$49.95

LIVING SILICA is advertised as a “lifestyle brand” of Spanish-based company Silicium Laboratories. This company specializes predominantly in silicon research and the development of dietary supplements. Their passion is established through their desire for high bioavailability that paints a picture involving silicon biochemical and physiological effects. As put by the team, “We focus on the quality and excellence of our products as a result of our policies of continuous improvement which renowned universities and quality certificates back.”

On the topic of the oral supplement, it is a mineral-based, highly bioavailable collagen-booster designed to enhance one’s health by advancing the body’s functional potential. This doctor-formulated and clinically tested liquid silica supplement has been demonstrated to renew, strengthen, and revitalize bones, joints, hair, skin, and nails from the inside out. Undoubtedly, the only ingredient offered per serving is Silica (22.5mg).

According to the formulator, Dr. Loïc Le Ribault, our natural sources of Silica deplete with age. This increases hindrance among hundreds of the body’s functions, hence, the dire need for replenishment. For those wondering how LIVING SILICA might tend to stretch marks, the answer rests in collagen production. Collagen is a type of protein that ensures skin elasticity. Usually, a lack thereof might limit skin regeneration processes essential for alleviating skin appearance, texture, and tone.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Stretch Marks

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  • Company: E.T. Browne Drug Company
  • Starting Price: USD$5.99

E.T. Browne Drug Company is yet another long-standing company that operates in the skin and hair care space. If anything, they are probably the oldest family-owned business to have started in the mid 19th century while serving the community for well over 50 years. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula brand took shape under current ownership. The mission is to use “only the finest ingredients to provide consumers the highest quality formulas at affordable prices.” All Palmer’s products infuse heritage and superior formulations, two facets we rarely see together.

While we’re on the topic of formulation, the Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks is created to help visibly improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Whether individuals are looking for a solution during and after pregnancy or weight fluctuation, this massage lotion might be worth considering thanks to the likes of Vitamin E, Collagen, Elastin, Lutein, Argan Oil, Almond Oil, and Coconut Oil. Astonishingly, the primary outcome stemmed from an 8-week in-home trial by 102 female panelists aged 18 to 49. Over 98% of them reported better skin elasticity, texture, and tone (more details can be found on the official website).

HerSolution Smooth

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  • Company: HerSolution
  • Starting Price: USD$49

At HerSolution, priority is allegedly given to natural, plant-based ingredients that are trusted to promote wellness for all. The latter has been reflected in their anti-aging stretch mark cream, dubbed, Smooth. It contains a customized blend of high-quality natural and organic ingredients that increase hydration, reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and help restore skin tone and texture. Sadly, our editorial team wasn’t as persuaded by this solution as the previously mentioned ones because the ingredient list is nowhere to be found. Likewise, details on the company are minimal, which only triggers more doubt. For now, all we can say is there is no clarity on why HerSolution might have garnered even a second thought.

Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream

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  • Company: TriLASTIN
  • Starting Price: USD$46

Finally, we have TriLASTIN’s take on stretch mark cream tailored for pregnant and expecting mothers. Women are specifically asked to apply this cream during pregnancy (before and after) so that future stretch marks are limited and existing ones are eased.

As for how the Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream is meant to work, the team justified their choice of Apricot Kernel Oil, Mango Seed Butter, and Grapeseed Oil as having the ability to hydrate the skin, induce collagen production, and promote elasticity on the belly. A feature belonging exclusively to this brand is the Sequenced Diffusion Delivery System (SDDS). This delivery system creates a protective, invisible skin patch that optimizes hydration based on the claims made. Furthermore, it is believed to extend skin absorption for efficient results.

Besides that, TriLASTIN is on a mission “to support and nurture your skin every single day,” whether mothers are looking to tend to themselves or their little ones. Since 2004, TriLASTIN partnered with a team of award-winning scientists to develop formulations that treat existing stretch marks. Since then, the Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream has reached 130 countries worldwide!

The Ranking System that Determined The Top Stretch Mark Creams

From the product overviews above, it must be clear that most companies approach stretch mark alleviation differently. Some creams carried substance, while others simply didn’t meet the mark. A discussion unfolded among us regarding the evaluation process to arrive at these top candidates. In asking ourselves which factors to be accounted for in the ranking system, research and personal opinions led to eight primary ones. Be aware that this system is customizable to one’s likings and currently only possesses looked-for basic requirements of a stretch mark:

Reputable Brand & Transparency

As with any product or service, company information must be available. It is nonsensical to purchase something without it because it may be absent in other areas such as ingredients selection, the manufacturing process, and facets unique to the company. Most of our top contenders have clearly stated company backgrounds, team members, scientific and medical boards (if applicable), and detailed explanations on why a formulation is composed a certain way. Naturally, transparency is expected here because the absence of pertinent information, by default, is equivalent to poor transparency.

Clinically Tested Ingredients

Not all ingredients can heal or reduce the visibility of stretch marks. Our editorial team was interested to see which of the brands considered clinically tested ingredients and, if they haven’t, whether a study was conducted to assess efficacy. Some top contenders have gone above and beyond to ensure their stretch mark creams are equipped with the essentials. What impressed us in numerous instances were the comprehensive justifications as to why stretch marks take form, the solution, and how the ingredients are meant to work. To our surprise, some of the top contenders even published their findings in academic journals!

Free from Chemical Preservatives

Ideally, the selected cream must be free from parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, triclosan, triclocarban, benzyl benzoate, methylisothiazolinone, zinc pyrithioxine, and benzalkonium chloride. Exposure to these and many others can harm the skin and wellness altogether. Hence, we advise individuals to read the labels carefully before investing. EWG Verified is a stamp given to products that are free from preservatives. While this is not the case for all our products, we still encourage everyone to visit the official website to see where the desired product falls on their safety scale.

Skin Type & Absorption

Stretch marks can occur on just about any skin type. Therefore, it was essential for us to see that companies factor in all skin types. Absorption is next on our list because if the skin does not wholly reap the included active ingredients, it defeats the purpose of applying them. Our top contenders each took a specific direction that satisfies this requirement.

Texture & Hydration

Since our guide focuses on creams and lotions, there are certain facets to be mindful of. Creams usually have a thicker consistency, meaning that they can be worn as a layer over serums, concentrates, and lotions. They may not penetrate as deeply into the skin as other mediums, yet they create a barrier to prevent moisture loss. On the other hand, we have lightweight lotions with perfect consistency for layering. Creams do not sit too long on the skin and often offer healthy hydration for moisture-locking and a toned, soft, and hydrated finish [2].

Advertised Benefits

We evaded the key advertised benefit of the claim surrounding vanished stretch marks. Stretch marks are here to stay; however, their severity can be significantly reduced based on the type of product employed. So, any company suggesting complete disappearance within as little as days was immediately delisted. Consistency matters and noticeable fading might only be apparent after months on end. Some of our top picks proved to initiate some degree of fading in 4 weeks, while it took over eight weeks for a meaningful difference in these marks.

Dermatologist Formulated, Tested or Recommended

There are specific claims to understand when a supposed dermatologist is involved. The most sensical one is “Dermatologist formulated,” which means that a dermatologist developed the formula. “Dermatologist tested” is an umbrella term encompassing many things. For instance, they may have patch tested the product or contributed to the formulation process, namely, ingredients selection.

Additionally, this term is used in cases where a product may have been applied during a clinical setting to assess its efficacy and risk of allergies and side effects. Finally, “Dermatologist recommended” means that these professionals are content with the product and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others. Whether their recommendations are honest or because of payment is usually left to decide. Our research suggests that those above are genuine, especially when the brand is legitimate and reputable.

Value for Money

Lastly, we have value for money; a factor practically summarizes how many of the items from our ranking system have been checked off and whether the listed price is justifiable. If a product checks off several things but costs $69, this is merely a rip-off that individuals should steer clear of. The days where a high price implies high quality are put behind us. Now that information can be accessed within a snap of our fingers, conducting a thorough investigation before investing in any product is imperative!

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are indented streaks or fine lines when rapid growth or weight gain stretches the skin. Although the skin is naturally stretchy, overstretching disrupts the body’s regular production of a type of protein called collagen. Collagen fibers allegedly create the elastin and hyaluronic matrices in our skin, which determine the skin’s elasticity and hydration, respectively. Hence, the previously mentioned disruption hinders subsequent steps, causing stretch marks [3].

In search of dermatologist opinions, we landed on one piece where New York-based, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Scott Weeks explained things from his viewpoint. Specifically, he defined these marks “as an area of weakness in the skin underneath an intact epidermis layer,” agreeing that “stretch marks are tears in the collagen fiber of the dermis that occur whenever the skin is stretched beyond its tensile [4].”

How Are Stretch Marks Created?

To understand how stretch marks are created, individuals must first understand the terms “scars” and “stretch marks,” which explains the experts from the Bio-Oil team. According to research directors Justin and David Letschert, scars and stretch marks can be classified together because both are signs of permanent damage to the skin. David explained that spots present themselves when the skin actively tries to heal itself beyond its capacities.

Justin chimed in by further elaborating, “So, when you cut yourself, or graze yourself, or you have surgery, what happens is, the skin moves into survival mode. And to survive, it’s got to repair the wound as quickly as possible. So, it overproduces collagen,” which creates a scar. Now, for healing stretch marks, individuals must assess whether they are newly formed or have existed for some time. In the former case, products can be applied, where the skin is given a chance to expand and possibly prevent stretch mark formations (i.e., during pregnancy, bodybuilding, adolescence, etc.). In the latter case, we have a stretch mark turned scar. This is where stretch mark creams can be helpful because the visible nature can be lessened or faded over weeks and up to months.

Taking everything into account, Bio-Oil is unconventional because they preferred to resort to oil as a medium. Justin said, “When you apply an oil, the skin accepts it, and all the beautiful ingredients inside your product can get into the skin and do their job.” He also seems to be against creams because they are primarily water, and the skin repels it, but to each their own. Cream-based solutions have not been turned out, seeing that studies on their uses have also suggested efficacy.

Who Gets Stretch Marks?

The Mederma team [5] took the time to shed light on what probably will be the most frequently asked question, “who gets stretch marks?” This is far from the truth for people who think these marks are only experienced during and after pregnancy. As per the team, “Pregnancy is one of the most common causes for stretch marks,” adding that as the baby grows inside the womb, the belly stretches, hormones change, and connective tissues are weakened.

Up to 90% of women get stretch marks from pregnancy; however, this doesn’t mean that men aren’t at risk. Mederma insists that “over 25% of suffers are men (HRA internal),” where scenarios can range from growth spurts and sudden weight gain to sudden weight loss and rapid increases in muscle mass. Interestingly, not all people are prone to stretch marks stresses the reputable brand. Those who seem to be influenced by genetics and hormones. Moreover, connective tissue weakening conditions like Cushing’s, Marfan, or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome might increase the risk of stretch marks along with increasing steroid levels.

What Are The Main Types Of Stretch Marks?

There are two main types of stretch marks (also referred to as striae) [6]:

Striae Rubrae

Striae Rubrae [6] is the earliest stage of skin undergoing overstretching. At this point, the epidermis is flattened and is reckoned to experience a loss of rete ridges. Likewise, collagen fibers become densely packed, and elastic fibers are decreased in quantity. In alignment with the inflammation remark made by Mederma, this source also noted that this is where the skin starts to “turn pink/red or violaceous in color.” This is also the stage during which stretch marks are most itchy.

Striae Albae

Striae Albae [6] stretch mark embodies a mature stage into its formation. The stretch marks in this phase become more “scar-like, irregularly shaped and hypopigmented (faded/white-losing vascular alterations.” Getting to this stage from the earliest stage can take several months to possibly years highlights the source.

Other Classifications

Other classifications [6] worth studying include:

  • Striae Gravidarum: stretch marks because of pregnancy
  • Striae Nigrae: normally applicable to darker skin complexions
  • Striae Caerulea: dark blue/purplish stretch marks (also fitting for darker complexions)
  • Striae Atrophicans: likely to develop among those with Cushing’s syndrome due to prolonged use of corticosteroids or after surgery

What Does Science Suggest About Stretch Mark Creams?

A couple of ingredients have been studied for stretch mark reduction. The top 5 (in no particular order) include:

Centella

Centella Asiatica (or Gotu kola, kodavan, and Indian pennywort) is an herbaceous, perennial plant belonging to the family of Apiaceae plants. A review investigating its role in cosmetology noted that the plant could treat minor wounds, hypertrophic wounds and burns, psoriasis, and scleroderma. Centella allegedly works by promoting fibroblast proliferation and increasing collagen production. Moreover, it has been shown to improve the tensile strength of newly formed skin while preventing inflammation experienced during the phase of hypertrophic scars and keloids. The author concluded their review by insisting on its topical application validated in photoaging skin, cellulite, and striae [7].

Hyaluronic Acid

Next, we have a natural moisturizer called hyaluronic acid, which is naturally produced in the body yet depletes with age. A piece by the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) highlighted that in two extensive studies, the application of hyaluronic acid led to lessen stretch mark appearance [8]. In search of more answers, we stumbled upon a literature piece that scavenged existing textbooks, PubMed, and Medline databases to understand the management of striae gravidarum (SG), i.e., pregnancy-related stretch marks.

The researchers discovered that “younger, maternal and family history of SG increased pre-pregnancy, and pre-delivery weight, and increased birth weight were the most significant risk factors.” Additionally, they learned that the combination of Centella, hyaluronic acid, and daily massages “showed some promise [9].”

Retinoid

Derived from vitamin A, retinoids such as tretinoin (i.e., Retin-A, Renova, and Avita) are believed to improve the appearance of stretch marks “less than a few months old,” writes another piece[10]. The most popular one is tretinoin, which allegedly rebuilds collagen and transforms the skin to resemble ordinary skin types. Tretinoin specifically has been associated with skin irritation. Thus, individuals may want to consult their respective doctors before proceeding. Regarding the latter’s concentration, anything with at least 0.05% has previously demonstrated up to 47% improvement (especially in SG) and 50 to 75% improvement in treated lesions of striae rubrae [9].

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera and hyaluronic acid are comparable because the former ingredient’s gel is trusted to soothe and moisturize the skin. One piece delved into natural stretch mark treatments referenced a 2018 research article where aloe vera was concluded to help heal burns and wounds. As per the Bio-Oil justification above, existing stretch marks are practically scars from damaged skin. Thus, aloe vera’s skin-repairing properties are reckoned to promote prevention and fading. The author also noted that more studies need to be conducted to ensure aloe vera’s role is beneficial [11].

Bitter Almond Oil

Bitter almond oil is created from the crushed kernels of bitter almonds. This is different from sweet almond oil because the latter’s almond plant is different altogether. The former is deemed superior because of its therapeutic value. A 2012 study that looked at the effect of topical application of SG found positive results. Primiparous women who visited the pregnancy unit between February 1st, 2010, and April 15th, 2011, were recruited and divided into three groups: bitter almond with massage (n = 47), bitter almond alone (n = 48), and the control group (n = 46). In the end, the researchers summarized that the combination of oil and massage during the development of SG was most effective, while the oil alone had no effect [12].

Bear in mind that these five were merely chosen to illustrate their impact on stretch marks and several other ingredients that individuals should be investigating. When persuaded by a product, one must review all active ingredients, roles, and potential side effects before confirmation! Nonetheless, of all our 2022 candidates for alleviation, Bio-Oil is said to be the most investigated. Our editorial team was curious to see how this solution takes the crown, so we continued our search.

Immediately, the first piece we discovered was one where a 2018 study [13] of 80 people with non-hypertrophic scars was discussed. Precisely, the researchers used Bio-Oil, which resulted in a 14% improvement in scarring and stretch mark appearance compared to untreated areas. Subjective outcomes were also reviewed and recapped:

  • 93% reported long-lasting softness and suppleness
  • 61% reported improved skin appearance
  • 51% reported less noticeable scars and stretch marks
  • 17% reported no changes

Frequently Asked Questions About Stretch Marks

Q: What is a stretch mark again?

A: A stretch mark is a fine line or an indent found on the skin. It takes form because of any cause ranging from rapid growth, hormonal changes, increased cortisol levels, quick gain in muscle mass to weight loss/gain and pregnancy, among other known causes.

Q: What do striae mean?

A: Striae is a medical term used to describe “stretch marks.”

Q: What are the first signs of a stretch mark?

A: Before a stretch mark fully appears on the skin, the area might appear thin and pink. This is also the period where individuals will experience the most irritation and itching sensations, not to forget the wrinkling of marks.

Q: How do stretch marks age?

A: Aging of stretch marks depends on skin type and color. A stretch mark usually appears red, pink, or hues between purple and blue on pale skin. During this stage, inflammation may occur, but as healing persists, they become thinner, paler, and more indented, writes Mederma [5].

Q: Are the terms “stretch mark” and “cellulite” synonymous?

A: The single similarity between “stretch mark” and “cellulite” is that the duo can affect skin appearance; otherwise, they are two different conditions. Stretch marks develop on areas where the skin is overstretched, whereas cellulite, often appearing as dents, is found on lower body parts. In the latter case, they are formed inside the fatty layer between muscles and the skin and progress in appearance as fat cells expand [14].

Q: What do stretch marks look and feel like?

A: Stretch marks are frequently described as streaky lines that are scar-like and bumpy over time. The appearance and feel depend on the skin tone and the phase (infancy versus maturity).

Q: Are stretch marks harmful?

A: No, stretch marks are not harmful. They should be embraced, as they symbolize changes experienced over time.

Q: Why are stretch marks itchy?

A: Stretch marks are usually itchy only when they are developing. These are active stretch marks and not yet thin scars, and red.

Q: Why are stretch marks red?

A: As mentioned above, stretch marks in infancy are almost always pink, red, or any shade between purple and blue.

Q: How are stretch marks prevented?

A: Some means of preventing stretch marks include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping the skin hydrated and softened, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and treating fresh stretch marks when they first appear. When they become scars (i.e., matured stretch marks), use products to lessen their appearance, but they will be permanently around [15].

Q: Is coffee bad for stretch marks?

A: As per one source, caffeinated beverages may increase the risk of developing stretch marks because they promote dehydration. For those who drink coffee, it might be a good idea to balance out fluid intake by adding water, teas, and other caffeine-free fluids [15].

Q: What are Pruritic Urticarial Papules & Plaques and what causes them?

A: Yes, PUPPs are lesions that unveil themselves during the development stage of a stretch mark due to excessive weight gain or multiple gestation pregnancy. Once again, the rapid stretching of skin damages our connective tissues, thus, resulting in these undesired bumps [16].

Q: What are some dermatological ways of removing stretch marks?

A: Medical treatments for removing stretch marks include [17]:

  • Laser treatment: Delivering multiple sessions of focused light to fade stretch marks
  • Microdermabrasion: Exfoliating the skin to scrub away dead skin cells
  • Microneedling: Creating tiny pricks in the skin to produce collagen and elastin
  • Radiofrequency: Sending energy waves to stimulate collagen production
  • Chemical Peel: Applying glycolic acid for deep exfoliation and to stimulate collagen

Q: What role do Cushing’s, Marfan, or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome play on stretch marks?

A: All three syndromes are multisystemic disorders that affect connective tissues, in turn making atrophic scarring a highly likely outcome.

Q: Do men get stretch marks too?

A: Yes, the idea that pregnant women or women altogether are the only ones to get stretch marks is a myth. Though the risk is higher for them, men can also develop said stretch marks.

Q: What impact does the cortisol hormone have on stretch marks?

A: Excess cortisol can promote signs of Cushing’s syndrome characterized by a fatty bump between the shoulders and pink or purple stretch marks on the skin [18]. The stress hormone is also associated with prolonged skin healing processes, weight gain or loss, and weakened elastic fibers, common causes of stretch marks [19].

Q: Does the sun help with stretch marks?

A: No, a natural tan will not mask the appearance of stretch marks; this is merely a myth.

Q: Can exercising reduce stretch marks?

A: Exercising to maintain a healthy weight might prevent future stretch marks, but when done to lose or gain an excess amount of weight in a short period, they will further existing ones and nurture new ones.

Q: Can diets help with stretch mark alleviation?

A: Yes, diets that contain a rich source of fatty acids (i.e., salmon, herring, sardines, flaxseeds, soybeans, algae, etc.) and nutrients (vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, etc.) might promote stretch mark alleviation [20].

Q: Where do stretch marks appear?

A: Stretch marks are likely to appear on the belly, hips, thighs, breasts, buttocks, calves, arms, and back.

Q: Is it possible for stretch marks to disappear on their own?

A: No, stretch marks will not disappear on their own. Individuals will need to tend to them to lessen their appearance actively.

Q: Are stretch marks genetic?

A: Yes, so if there is a family history of stretch marks, then one is likely to develop them as well.

Q: How can stretch marks be treated?

A: According to Dr. Joyce Teng, treatment entails moisturizing the skin to increase elasticity and not easily break under stress. Massaging a product of choice is highly recommended. Why? Because the act of rubbing is believed to promote wound healing and may encourage localized blood flows to certain areas.

The Top 15 Best Stretch Mark Creams for 2022 Final Thoughts

Ultimately, treating stretch marks can either entail taking natural or medical approaches. Medical approaches introduce invasive and somewhat painful procedures and are far from what we aim for. This guide sought to turn to natural methods to ease the appearance of stretch marks or prevent them from developing in the future. When individuals actively treat an infant mark, the chances of eliminating them are more significant than trying to treat a mature stretch mark. With maturity, the only possible outcome is fading stretch marks, which is still beneficial, especially for those conscious of their existence.

So, the first course of action is to identify the phase of a stretch mark, its type (i.e., typically linked with a degree and cause), and the available options. Individuals are invited to revisit the top stretch mark creams of 2022 to see which one tends to their marks and scars based on their respective health, skin type, and preferred medium. Undoubtedly, some outliers are far from adequate, and we hope that their inclusion helped differentiate between a good and poor solution.

Then, it is a matter of researching the label’s contents and giving the product a shot. The key takeaway is that healing takes time and consistent application; otherwise, results will only be prolonged. We encourage individuals to consult dermatologists or a healthcare professional who might recommend tweaks to lifestyle choices for complete peace of mind. Until we re-evaluate this sector, we hope our guide provided some preparative tips on easing the appearance of stretch marks before, during, and years after their initial presence!

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