Stretch marks are a common result of pregnancy — one that most of us moms would rather do without. But although there’s no surefire method of erasing them completely, thankfully, there are some things you can do to minimize them.
Understanding stretch marks and choosing the best stretch mark cream for your skin is a good place to start.
We’ve written this guide to help you do just that. We’ll explain stretch marks and give you our tips for preventing them. We’ll also review our favorite products for minimizing those tiger stripes and soothing your overstretched skin.
- 100% organic
- Made in the U.S.
- Safe for pregnancy
- pH balanced
- Contains vitamin E
- Made with natural ingredients
- Safe for sensitive skin
- Dermatologist tested
- Two in a pack
- Provides hydration for 48 hours
- Clinically tested zero sensitivity product
- Pregnancy & nursing friendly
- Penetrates deep into the skin
- Dermatologist tested for irritation
- Organic ingredients
- Does not contain artificial fragrances
- No preservatives
- Clinically proven to be effective
- Triple-action healing
- With vitamins A, B5, C, and E
- Proven effective
- Contains vitamin E
- All natural
How Do Stretch Mark Creams Work?
Stretch mark creams work in two different ways:
Prevent Stretch Marks
By keeping your skin nourished and moisturized, you may be able to prevent the formation of stretch marks altogether. You may regularly apply a pregnancy-approved stretch mark cream to your belly, and any other area prone to stretching, to help reduce your chances of developing stretch marks.
Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks
Once stretch marks have formed, it’s impossible to eradicate them completely. Instead, you’ll have to focus on reducing their visibility. You can minimize stretch marks by using creams rich in vitamins A and E.
Products to Use for Stretch Marks
When choosing a product to treat stretch marks, look for the following:
Cream, Lotion, or Oil
There are many types of topical products to rub on your skin to prevent or heal stretch marks. You can choose from oils, lotions, creams, and body butter. Each will deliver hydration and nourishment. Don’t get caught up in the hype over what type of product is better. Choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.
Vitamin E is important in preventing the development of stretch marks, but it may also help treat them after they appear. It is also safe to use during pregnancy. If you’re specifically trying to treat stretch marks, choose a product with vitamin E.
If you are pregnant, avoid products containing retinoids, which may also be labeled as vitamin A. Retinoids are typically used in products marketed for treating wrinkles or acne and reducing scarring.
The Best Stretch Mark Creams of 2022
Here are the top stretch mark creams on the market.
1. Glow Organics Belly Butter Stretch Mark Cream
Best Organic Stretch Mark Cream
When you’re pregnant, you want to use the best products for yourself and your baby. When it comes to slathering something all over your belly that has the potential to affect your baby, you may prefer to opt for organic products to ensure your little one’s safety.
This belly butter is made with 100% organic ingredients, so you can feel good about putting it on your skin. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free, so it fits with a variety of lifestyles.
Infused with organic shea and cocoa butter, it ensures maximum moisture delivery. The shea butter penetrates your skin deeply to help nourish skin at the source of stretch marks, while the cocoa butter creates a barrier to lock in moisture.
It doesn’t contain synthetic ingredients, phthalates, sulfates, artificial fragrances, or parabens — which can mimic estrogen.
It’s unscented, so it will not bother women who struggle with morning sickness.
It’s also made in the U.S., so you can shop with confidence.
- 100% organic.
- Made in the U.S.
- No added fragrances.
- The solid formula doesn’t rub in as nicely as most creams.
- The natural scent may not be pleasing to some.
- Works better at preventing than healing existing stretch marks.
2. Trilastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
Best Stretch Mark Cream for Prevention
If you’re pregnant and want to prevent stretch marks, pick a cream or lotion that will effectively hydrate your skin. It’s essential to avoid harmful ingredients like retinol that could potentially harm your baby.
Trilastin designed this cream to help keep your skin thoroughly hydrated. With 15 botanical oils and extracts, it is formulated to help keep skin healthy — even when it’s stretched to its max. It also contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which help develop collagen and aid in skin elasticity.
This stretch mark prevention cream is considered hypoallergenic, so it is not likely to cause an allergic reaction. It is pH balanced for your skin and safe to use during pregnancy.
Trilastin is made in the U.S., and while it has a fragrance, it is derived from natural extracts, including orange oil. This may be particularly helpful if you suffer from pregnancy nausea and are bothered by typical product scents, as citrus scents tend to be more tolerable — for even the most severe morning sickness sufferers.
- No retinol in the formula, making it safe for pregnancy.
- It is pH balanced.
- Hypoallergenic formula.
- It may not lighten existing stretch marks.
- It is expensive.
- Does not contain cocoa or shea butter.
3. Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Best Stretch Mark Cream for Sensitive Skin
Burt’s Bees formulated this belly butter with the pregnant mama in mind. It doesn’t contain any dangerous ingredients or those that are questionable for use during pregnancy. In fact, it is made with 99% natural ingredients.
The shea butter formula helps moisturize the skin as it stretches, and the vitamin E helps lighten the appearance of existing stretch marks.
The nourishing belly butter can help treat the itching, pain, and irritation that frequently occur due to extreme stretching. It will help you stay comfortable while staving off stretch marks.
It is an excellent product for sensitive skin as it doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients and can be applied either directly to the skin or while you’re in the shower to help lock in moisture.
It comes in a larger size than many other body butters, so even though it runs a little pricey, you get more for your money.
- It contains vitamin E.
- It is made with natural ingredients.
- It is safe for sensitive skin.
- It may not work on exceptionally dry skin.
- Its natural scent may not be pleasing to everyone.
- It does not contain as many vitamins and nutrients as other products.
4. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Cream for Stretch Marks
Best Massage Stretch Mark Cream
This stretch mark cream offers both effectiveness and value. You get two packs for the price of one, so you can fight your stretch marks for longer before needing to re-order.
It contains vitamin E, which is widely accepted as one of the top ingredients to combat stretch marks. It also contains argan oil, which helps condition the skin, and lutein, which helps support your stretching skin.
It provides hydration for up to 48 hours, so you don’t need to reapply constantly. It is dermatologist tested and considered hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for skin prone to allergies or irritation.
It doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil, but it does contain collagen and elastin, which help improve skin elasticity and prevent stretch marks.
- Dermatologist tested.
- You get two in a pack.
- It provides hydration for 48 hours.
- It has a strong scent.
- It is best as a preventative product.
- It is very thick.
5. Basq Stretch Mark Butter
Best Intensive Treatment
This stretch mark cream will help you stave off those annoying stretch marks if you apply it throughout your pregnancy. And you can feel safe applying it as it is toxicologist approved for safe use while pregnant or nursing.
It is made from shea butter, which is absorbed deep into the skin to restore hydration and elasticity where the primary damage from stretch marks occurs. It helps relieve irritated and uncomfortable skin as it stretches and prevents visible scarring.
This body butter doesn’t contain any ingredients you should avoid during pregnancy, such as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, caffeine, or artificial colors. Nor does it contain any ingredients widely known to cause allergic reactions or irritation. It’s clinically tested and considered to be a zero-sensitivity product.
It does contain ingredients that help build collagen in your body. A lack of collagen can put you at greater risk for developing stretch marks, so boosting your body’s ability to produce collagen can help combat them.
It’s a vegan-friendly product, as it was not created using any animal products.
- It does not irritate.
- It is pregnancy- and nursing-friendly.
- It penetrates deep into the skin.
- Best for prevention.
- More expensive than some other options.
- Strong lavender scent.
6. Earth Mama Belly Butter Stretch Mark Lotion
Best Fragrance-Free Stretch Mark Cream
This pregnancy-friendly lotion might become your best friend as your body grows during pregnancy.
It contains no mineral oil, petroleum, or parabens. This is important because parabens can mimic estrogen and should be avoided during pregnancy so they don’t interfere with your hormones.
With no artificial fragrances, it shouldn’t irritate your morning sickness.
This belly butter will help prevent the development of stretch marks by nourishing and hydrating your skin. It can also help relieve the pain and itching you may feel as your skin gets stretched to the max. It uses shea butter, organic herbs, and oils to help restore your skin’s elasticity and prevent the appearance of stretch marks. It also helps reduce the severity of existing stretch marks.
You can continue to use this belly butter to help restore elasticity to your stretched skin after pregnancy.
This product has also been certified NSF/ANSI 305 by Oregon Tilth. This certification is reserved for personal care and hygiene products made with 70% or more organic ingredients.
- Contains organic ingredients.
- It is safe for use during pregnancy.
- Does not contain artificial fragrances.
- The thick formula may feel greasy.
- It is more effective at preventing than healing stretch marks.
- It has a light scent.
7. Bio-Oil Specialist Skincare Oil
Most Versatile Stretch Mark Cream
If you’re ready to try something more natural on your stretch marks than the typical lotion, cream, or body butter, Bio-Oil is one of the most widely trusted brands around.
This oil has no preservatives and delivers high-intensity moisture directly to your skin. Though you might be afraid to try an oil because you think it may leave a residue, this formula is non-greasy.
It helps rehydrate the skin and restore natural elasticity, which can help to prevent the formation of stretch marks. It has also been clinically proven effective in reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks.
It’s very versatile, as you can use it to help fight the signs of aging and help with uneven skin tone.
However, it’s important to note this oil may have more effect on newer scars. Older scars may not change as much.
The hypoallergenic formula can be used on all skin types. It’s not likely to cause a reaction, which is important since your skin tends to get more sensitive when you’re pregnant.
There is no added fragrance that could bother you if you’re struggling with pregnancy nausea.
- It has no preservatives.
- Versatile formula prevents and treats scars, stretch marks, and signs of aging.
- It is clinically proven to be effective.
- It may not be very effective on older scars.
- Oil product is messier to apply than a lotion or cream.
- Not specifically formulated for pregnancy.
8. Botanic Tree Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
Best High-End Cream
This pregnancy-safe stretch mark cream has dual effectiveness for preventing the development of stretch marks and reducing their visibility once they’ve appeared.
It is made from 100% organic ingredients, so you can feel good about using it on your skin while pregnant. It contains the moisturizing powerhouse combination of shea and cocoa butter and additional conditioners including vitamin B5, olive oil, avocado, and Centella asiatica extract, which has been proven to reduce the development of stretch marks (1).
For women who already have stretch marks, this cream can also help.
It is free of parabens, which is good because they can cause hormonal disruption, which can be particularly troublesome when you are pregnant. It also helps reduce scars without the use of retinoids.
This cream is made in the U.S. and is cruelty-free. It also comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so you can get your money back if you’re not satisfied.
- Organic formula.
- It is clinically proven to be effective.
- Non-greasy formula is easy to rub into skin.
- It is pricey.
- It does not contain vitamin E.
- Not all users found the product to be completely effective.
9. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil
Best Stretch Mark Oil
Whereas lotion tends to be a popular way to moisturize the skin in the U.S., oils tend to be popular abroad. When it comes to preventing and healing stretch marks, hydration and nourishment are essential — and you may find you prefer to use an oil product over a cream or lotion.
Lotions often include synthetic ingredients, preservatives, and emulsifiers to stay good on the shelf. Oils need fewer added ingredients, so you can have a better idea of what’s in your product. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil contains no preservatives and still includes cocoa butter to help moisturize your skin.
This lightweight formula doesn’t include mineral oil, which tends to be more greasy and can clog pores. It contains vitamin E, which is widely recommended to help treat skin scarring.
It is free of retinol or vitamin A, which you should avoid during pregnancy as it can impact your baby.
- Lightweight formula rubs in well for an oil and doesn’t clog pores.
- Great value for your money.
- It contains vitamin E.
- It is an oil.
- It does not contain shea oil.
- Some users don’t like the smell of the rosehip-scented version.
10. Honeydew Stretch Mark Cream
Best Stretch Mark Cream for Postpartum
For those who despise or are affected by fragrances, this product is best for you. This product was ethically made in the U.S. and is best for sensitive skin.
Not only does it target the appearance of your stretch marks, but it helps to soften them as well.
This body butter delivers intense hydration to your skin without being greasy. It also contains ingredients known to nourish your skin and help with stretch marks, including vitamin E, shea butter, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and rosehip oil. Most of the ingredients are natural and highly sustainable.
Not only does it help with the appearance of stretch marks and scarring, but it also helps firm and tighten your skin and restore elasticity, which can be helpful post-pregnancy as the skin around your belly can remain loose, even after your body has returned to “normal.”
This cream is made in the U.S. and is cruelty-free.
- It is cruelty-free.
- Useful for preventing signs of aging.
- Fragrance-free formula is great for sensitive skin.
- Takes a while to see improvements.
11. Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy
Best Nourishing Stretch Mark Cream
One application of this cream will continue to penetrate the skin for hours. Recommended by dermatologists, Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy uses ingredients that are safe for both you and your baby, including hyaluronic acid, Centella asiatica plant extract, and cepalin.
Even when breastfeeding, this cream is 100% safe and comes with a promise of providing visible improvement within four weeks of continued usage.
When you don’t need a stretch mark cream anymore, this is still a great overall cream to keep on hand due to its nourishing properties. I love using it on my dry heels – it’s made them much softer.
- 100% paraben-free.
- Clinically proven to improve your skin’s moisture content.
- Lasting formula feels luxurious on your skin.
- It’s expensive.
- It can take a minute to rub in fully.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks While Pregnant
However, there are a few things you can do to combat the development of stretch marks.
1. Avoid Excessive Weight Gain
Unless advised by your doctor, you should never attempt to lose weight or avoid weight gain while pregnant. It is normal and healthy to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy. However, excessive weight gain can contribute to stretch marks.
Check with your doctor about how much weight you should gain, and ask for a referral to a nutritionist if you find yourself struggling to gain at an appropriate rate. Try to eat healthily and exercise regularly throughout your pregnancy to stave off excessive weight gain.
2. Stay Hydrated
Hydrated skin is healthy skin, and it may be less prone to developing stretch marks. At a minimum, drink eight cups of water each day to keep your skin adequately hydrated (3).
Exercise not only helps keep you healthy and limit excessive weight gain during pregnancy, but it also increases blood flow. The increased circulation can improve skin elasticity and limit stretch marks. Exercise also can be a great stress reliever, which can help limit your body’s production of cortisol. Even walking is so healthy for you and your baby and will make labor easier.
4. Eat Certain Nutrients
Certain nutrients help create collagen, which increases skin elasticity and may help reduce your risk of stretch marks.
These nutrients include:
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin B2 — also known as Riboflavin.
- Vitamin B3 — also known as Niacin.
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
Examples of foods that contain these nutrients are:
- Most fruits or veggies.
5. Topical Products
The best way to keep your skin healthy and avoid stretch marks is to keep it hydrated. There are lots of pregnancy beauty products on the market to help moisturize your skin.
You can use an oil on your skin to keep it healthy, or you can choose a cream or lotion. Lotions that have vitamin E tend to be the most effective, as vitamin E promotes cell regeneration.
Vitamin A is often marketed as a way to reduce the appearance of scars, including stretch marks. However, you should avoid vitamin A during pregnancy as it has been linked to birth defects.
Can You Eliminate Stretch Marks?
Once you get stretch marks, it’s not possible to get rid of them completely. Just like scars, they will remain on your skin for life. However, they should fade over time. A lot of women think of them as their “tiger stripes.” It’s not easy to grow and birth a baby. Your body will change, but it will still be beautiful.
Although you can’t completely eliminate stretch marks, you can make them less visible and reduce their prominence.
These are some things you can use to help them fade:
- Vitamin E: There is evidence that creams containing vitamin E may reduce scarring and have an effect on the visibility of stretch marks.
- Retinoids: Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A and can treat wrinkles, acne, and scarring, including scarring due to stretch marks. You can use retinoids topically, but you should not use them during pregnancy. They are more appropriate to treat stretch marks after giving birth.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy has been shown to reduce scarring. In particular, red light therapy may be most effective. This therapy is chemical-free and non-invasive and is usually done in salons or dermatological clinics (4).
- Wait it out: Over time, most stretch marks fade on their own so that they are no longer so noticeable. They won’t completely disappear, but they may lighten in color.
Ingredients to Avoid for Stretch Marks
When choosing a product to treat your stretch marks, you should avoid vitamin A if you are pregnant (5). Vitamin A is listed as a retinoid in skin care products and is frequently used in products treating wrinkles, discoloration, or scarring.
Retinoids have been conclusively linked to birth defects when taken orally. While the evidence is not as strong that using them topically can affect your baby, out of an abundance of caution, experts recommend that pregnant women avoid them in all forms.
So, if you’re looking to treat your stretch marks and are currently pregnant, avoid products labeled as retinoids or those that contain vitamin A. However, they are safe to use after you’ve delivered your baby.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick for the best stretch mark cream is Glow Organics Belly Butter. It doesn’t contain any ingredients you need to avoid during pregnancy. You can use it on your bump to prevent stretch marks from forming and continue to use it after delivery to help restore skin elasticity.
It’s organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, so you can feel good about using it.
The thick combination of shea and cocoa butter will help lock in the moisture your belly needs to combat itching and discomfort you may experience late in your pregnancy as your skin stretches to its max.