Taking the Mystery Out of Finding the Best Stretch Mark Cream

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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.

Monica's Beauty Cover Photo

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 🙂


Our top picks

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!

Before you dive into these options, consider reading on for some background information on stretch marks, where they come from, how to prevent them, and other useful information that will help you narrow down your search. Let’s begin!

What causes them?

What causes stretch marks

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.

Here are the 4 main causes of stretch marks:

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.

Whatever your reason for having stretch marks, there are ways to reverse the effects that don’t involve painful, expensive, or painful surgical treatments. Will they go away overnight? No – however, if you’re consistent and use the right products as instructed, you’ll notice a change in no time.

How to Prevent Stretch Marks

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’re looking for a miracle remedy to get rid of your stretch marks. We hate being the bearer of bad news, but you’re not going to find a cream or lotion that makes them disappear overnight. You will, however, find one that works for you as long as you use it consistently and follow directions.

It’s a good idea to know how to prevent stretch marks, especially if you’re pregnant. If this happens to be the case, use topical creams that contain the ingredient Centella. This ingredient derives from a plant and is often found in products that contain hyaluronic acid. Previous studies have shown they can be used to prevent stretch marks while pregnant.

Moreover, be sure to follow the usual recommendations which include:

  • A healthy diet
  • Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes a day)
  • Occasional massages

For pregnant women, it’s a good idea to start thinking about prevention during their second trimester. Consider creams that contain Centella as well as aerobic or yoga exercises.

What should a proper cream do?

So, you know you want to start using a cream, but what does it need to 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.

Here are a few things the best stretch mark creams should do:

Increase collagen/firmness

Stretch marks pregnancy

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. This is where we come in! We’ve compiled this review and buyers guide to narrow down your selection to the best stretch mark creams currently on the market.

Stretch mark crem what to look for

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.

Always check the ingredient list of any product you decide to use. Many of us make the mistake of investing in costly products. We assume that if they are expensive, they must work – right? This is not always the case. Before price, you need to consider the ingredients and know what you’re putting on your skin.

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.

If your skin responds to it negatively, stop use immediately and speak with your doctor.


This brings us to the end of our best stretch mark cream review. You should now have an overall understanding of why these marks appear and how to reduce their appearance. Now that you know what you need to be looking for, we encourage you to try one of our top picks. Our goal is to make the buying process quick and easy for you.

If you’ve already tried or are currently using one of our best stretch mark creams, we want to hear from you! What was your experience with it? Did it work out for you? What didn’t you like? Share with us down below – we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

What’s next? Check our top pick Trilastin SR!

Avatar for Alina Jumabhoy
About Alina Jumabhoy

With almost 10 years of experience writing for the skincare industry, Alina brings her unique perspective into all of the in-depth reviews and articles she writes.