8 Stretch Mark Products You Should Try
Stretch marks tend to develop from periods of rapid growth or weight gain—everything from growth spurts in adolescence, to pregnancy, to everything in between can cause them. They’re basically scars that develop from the inside out, formed deep within the skin’s layers when collagen and elastin fibers break down while the skin rapidly expands.
Although they are extremely common and many people have them, some tend to be more prone to them—rapid weight gain as well as genetic predisposition all play a part. So, what can be done?
Even though there’s no research showing definitive results on topical preventative treatments, regularly applying creams and oils can still help to promote skin health. When skin is well hydrated and protected, it’s more supple and able to better withstand stretching. Topical creams will also keep skin comfortable, especially during pregnancy, as it gets tight and itchy while it expands.
Ingredients to look for to keep skin supple and help alleviate the appearance of stretch marks:
Massage creams or oils containing these ingredients into skin 1-2 times per day to keep skin hydrated and protected.
- Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and extremely hydrating, attracting 1000x its weight in moisture. It helps to boost collagen production, increase skin elasticity, and moisturize and heal wounds.
- Shea butter is extremely emollient and naturally anti-inflammatory, containing skin healing vitamin E.
- Cocoa butter is high in polyphenols, which helps improve skin elasticity and skin tone, collagen production, and hydration.
- Plant-based oils like rosehip and sea buckthorn are high in skin-healing fatty acids and vitamin C, which helps collagen production.
- Vitamin E can help nourish skin and promote wound healing.
Once stretch marks have formed, effective treatment comes down to their stage. If stretch marks are old and look white or silvery, then it’s unlikely any topical treatment will reverse their appearance. However, if the stretch marks are new and red in colour, then it’s possible they can be treated (over an extended period) using ingredients that stimulate and strengthen collagen fibers.
Ingredients to look for to help treat the appearance of stretch marks:
Use these treatments on stretch marks nightly for 2-3 months to see improvement. Follow up with emollient creams (such as those listed above in the “prevention” section).
- Vitamin C has been shown in part to improve stretch marks when applied daily for 12 weeks. If formulated properly, vitamin C can help to promote collagen synthesis and wound repair.
- Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin’s surface and can help fade the appearance of some newly formed stretch marks. It’s also safe to use during pregnancy and nursing, and can be used in combination with vitamin C.
- Vitamin A and retinoids can help exfoliate the skin, promoting collagen and elastin production. When massaged onto stretch marks nightly, the appearance and texture of the skin can improve. Note that Vitamin A/retinoids are not safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Top 8 Products for Stretch Marks
This intensively nourishing oil and cream system is made with plant-based oils rich in omega fatty acids and vitamin E that work to help skin stretch and grow, while minimizing damage. This system includes a soothing cream for daytime which helps to soften skin without feeling greasy, as well as a replenishing pomegranate and pumpkin seed oil which works to repair and strengthen skin at night.
Rich and reparative, this cream combines shea and cocoa butters to help promote and replenish the skin’s natural barrier function, with nourishing oils of borage, rosehip (rich in vitamin C) and calendula to keep skin moisturized and soothed as it expands and stretches.
Formulated by a nurse and herbalist, this versatile balm combines a mix of organic herbal ingredients traditionally used to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Use daily to help promote wound healing and skin repair.
This therapeutic blend uses a number of oils full of fatty acids and vitamins, such as vitamin C-rich rosehip seed oil and anti-inflammatory borage oil. These reparative oils help to soften skin and ease damage while skin stretches, helping to keep it healthy and strong.
Vitamin E oil can be sticky and hard to apply, but this Nature’s Gate roll-on makes application easy and convenient. The 32,000 I.U. of pure vitamin E oil quickly absorbs to help heal skin and reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.
This non-irritating form of glycolic acid is suitable for most skin types and uses the maximum allowable concentration to effectively exfoliate the skin and increase cellular renewal.
DeVita C Serum uses a stabilized form of vitamin C at 17% concentration to help improve skin tone and elasticity. Dermatologists recognize vitamin C as one of the best topical treatments to promote collagen production, which is necessary for wound healing and skin regeneration.
Retinoic acid, also known as tretinoin or Retin-A, is the active form of vitamin A. CyberDerm has developed a formula using an adapted molecule from retinoic acid, which can help counteract signs of aging as well as improve the appearance of early, active stretch marks. This new formulation uses a 1% concentration with minimal to no irritation and dryness.
Having said all this, there is no miracle “cure” for stretch marks. Everyone’s skin is unique and product efficacy may vary from person to person. At the end of the day, we hope you wear your skin proudly—stretch marks and all!
Seanna Cohen is a certified skin care therapist and founder of the Clean Beauty School, an online destination to learn skin care tips & tricks and get personalized advice. As a trusted skin care expert, she inspires others to take a holistic approach to beauty and find sustainable practices through her skin care coaching, webinars, and classes.