You know them, you dread them. If you’ve ever seen the inquisitive or pitying looks on the faces of people around you, you know the embarrassment stretch marks can cause.
Have you exhausted yourself trying countless salves and ointments? Have you gone so far as to consider painful and expensive surgical treatments? Or, have you simply given up trying to treat or hide those awful stripes of jagged lines?
Well, have we got good news for you! While there is no foolproof way to prevent stretch marks in certain cases (such as pregnancy), there are creams that may
help significantly diminish their appearance. No more hiding, no more embarrassment, just beautiful skin.
Got your attention? Now let’s find the best stretch mark cream for you…
Below, you will find our different sections for this article. Enjoy 🙂
Table of Contents
We’ve compiled a list of the top products for use on those pesky stretch marks, rating them on effectiveness, customer satisfaction, safe ingredients, and ease of use. No doubt, the best stretch mark cream for you will be found in the list below!
- Overall Rating
- Official Website
- Full Review
What causes them?
Also known as striae, stretch marks are scars caused by the literal stretching or tearing of the dermis (the layer between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues). They can be brought on by any number of reasons, vary in location and degrees of appearance, and effect both men and women universally.
Pregnancy – Yes, pregnant women obviously have a little person growing in there, so the mother’s skin is going to naturally have to stretch to accommodate. Sometimes both the rapid weight gain and fluctuating hormones of pregnancy can cause stretch marks.
Rapid weight changes – When your weight increases or decreases dramatically in a short span of time, your skin, no matter how elastic and healthy, will not be able to snap back into shape. Those who have undergone weight loss surgery, weight lifters, and even children experiencing growth spurts can suffer from the resulting stretch marks.
Medications – Certain corticosteroid lotions and pills, as well as long-term use of oral steroids can also cause stretch marks.
Health conditions/diseases – Unfortunately, stretch marks can develop uncontrollably through diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome, as well as certain genetic and hereditary conditions.
What should a proper cream do?
We expect that your answer might be something along the lines of, “Make them disappear like magic!” Well, there is no magic cure for stretch marks. However, thanks to recent advancements in beauty science and technology, many of the stretch mark creams available today can significantly decrease the look and feel of those unsightly, rough scars.
Elastin and collagen are proteins naturally found in healthy skin and form the basis for skin’s firmness and elasticity. Skin with good elasticity is able to stretch without tearing, and is able to “snap back” after being stretched. As we get older, we gradually lose these vital proteins, and therefore can increasingly suffer from sagging skin, wrinkles, and stretch marks. Stretch mark creams with CoQ10, vitamin E, collagen, elastin, and soy can help to replenish what your skin might be lacking.
Speed up cell turnover/lighten discoloration
Vitamins A, C, and certain retinoids (prescribed by your dermatologist) can help to speed up your skin’s cell turnover. As the old, scarred, weak skin cells are brought to the surface and sloughed away, new, healthier skin is revealed. Both the vitamins and the retinoids can stimulate new collagen growth, however, pregnant women should not use a retinoid, as it can be harmful to the baby.
Help improve the look and feel of your skin
Keeping your skin lubricated not only cuts down on the itchiness sometimes associated with stretching skin (especially prevalent during pregnancy), but it helps the skin’s surface to look hydrated and feel more smooth and supple. (You can also keep your skin hydrated and healthy looking from the inside out by drinking plenty of water daily).
How to pick the best cream for you
With so many products on the market, and many promising “miracle results,” you may feel a bit lost on where to start your search.
What to look for
You might not realize it, but your skin is the largest organ of your body! Doctors and scientists estimate that a significant portion of what you put onto it gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream. All the more reason to avoid artificial ingredients and chemicals in any skin cream or ointment. A truly beneficial stretch mark cream will contain natural ingredients, such as antioxidants, amino acids, botanical extracts, naturally occurring proteins, and vitamins.
What to avoid
Again, since your skin will absorb a portion of the cream into your bloodstream, you will want to avoid ingredients such as mineral oil, petroleum, parabens, and phthalates. These can cause nasty side-effects, not to mention their links to cancer. And if you are pregnant or nursing, the risks these chemicals pose to your child are just too high to chance it.
Application and use
Most stretch marks will eventually fade from a bright/dark red to a lighter pink/whitish color. But doctors see the best results by treating them while they are still in the reddish phase. The recommended application will vary from product to product, but as with anything where results are expected, be sure to remain consistent in use, and always follow directions.