Best Stretch Mark Creams for Pregnancy
Growing a brand new human is no easy feat, and there are bound to be a few battle scars. As the skin on your breasts, belly, thighs, and rear end stretches to accommodate the developing baby, it may cause tiny tears in the various layers of collagen and elastin. Those tears eventually begin to heal, and in many women, they leave behind indented streaks or colored lines. These scars are known as stretch marks.
All this stretching skin can feel exceptionally itchy and uncomfortable, and a high-quality stretch mark cream can help. These days, there are near-countless products on the market that promise to target stretch marks. And while there’s no proven way to prevent (or completely get rid of) stretch marks, there are some benefits to using creams, lotions, and oils to keep skin moisturized throughout pregnancy.
How Do Stretch Marks Develop?
Hydration, genetics, diet, and lifestyle all play a role in whether or not you’ll develop stretch marks during pregnancy. That said, many experts agree that the best way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy is to gain weight slowly and steadily. Your healthcare provider can help you establish a diet and exercise plan to help you avoid excessive weight gain, while still getting the nutrition you need to sustain yourself and your baby.
Do Stretch Mark Creams Really Work?
When it comes to eliminating stretch marks during pregnancy, there’s not much research to support the effectiveness of creams and oils. Like any scar, stretch marks are permanent. However, you can take steps to make them less noticeable, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Moisturizing daily and massaging the skin may help reduce the appearance of existing or emerging stretch marks. In addition, using the best stretch mark creams daily may help boost circulation, build collagen, and smooth your skin. Treatment can also help relieve the itch.
When to Start Using Stretch Mark Cream in Pregnancy
Begin applying stretch mark creams early in your pregnancy and well after giving birth for best results. Damp skin absorbs moisturizer better so apply creams and oils after a bath or shower. Gently rub the products into your skin with light, sweeping motions toward the heart to promote healthy circulation. Using a stretch mark cream may not prevent or eliminate stretch marks, but it might help make them less noticeable and less itchy by improving skin elasticity and smoothing your skin.
What to Look for When Choosing a Pregnancy Stretch Mark Cream
Again, while there isn’t much evidence showing topical treatments are effective at eliminating stretch marks, moisturizing can minimize their appearance (as well as provide some much-needed itch relief). Here’s what to look for when browsing the options:
- Select hydrating ingredients. Moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides are exceptionally effective at hydrating skin and improving elasticity.
- Choose hypoallergenic products. Dyes, fragrances, and even essential oils may irritate sensitive skin or, in some cases, trigger an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic products won’t have these ingredients.
- Select soothing ingredients. Cocoa butter and shea butter can soothe inflamed, irritated skin as it grows and stretches.
- Avoid products containing retinoids during pregnancy. Retinoids (compounds that come from vitamin A) like retinol and tretinoin are scientifically proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, they are not safe for use by pregnant or breastfeeding moms.
- Avoid products containing parabens and phthalates. These are common preservatives found in many skin care products. However, they may pose an additional risk during pregnancy. Some studies have shown a possible link between the use of parabens and phthalates and cancer and reproductive health issues.
Take a look at our list of some of our favorite creams and oils designed for stretch mark treatment and prevention.
Zoey Naturals Body Butter 4 oz. Vanilla Grapefruit
We love this luscious, lightly scented cream! Zoey Naturals' entire line of family products is free of harsh chemicals and gentle on the environment. Zoey Naturals Body Butter 4 oz. Vanilla Grapefruit is great for dry, irritated skin such as cradle cap and also assists in preventing and minimizing the appearance of stretch marks.
Earth Mama Organics Belly Oil, 4oz
If your itchy belly needs a little soothing, look no further than Earth Mama’s cruelty-free Belly Oil! This oil moisturizes and comforts your beautifully expanding (and often uncomfortable) belly — along with your hips, breasts, and thighs — with a proprietary blend of luxe herb-infused oils. Nourishing organic calendula, organic jojoba oil, organic borage oil, and orange blossom pure essential oil combine to soften expanding skin. Light and easily absorbable, Belly Oil helps nourish and encourage skin's natural elasticity and the delicate scent won't aggravate occasional morning sickness.
Earth Mama Organics Organic Skin and Scar Balm, 10oz
A nurse and herbalist formulated this amazing balm using a radical combination of organic herbal ingredients traditionally used to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Made with organic herbs and oils, cruelty-free Earth Mama Organic Skin & Scar Balm will help cheer your skin on as it does its heroic duty.
Earth Mama Organics A Little Something For Mama-To-Be, Gift Box
Looking for a great gift for a new mom? Or maybe you just want to sample a few different products? Check out the Earth Mama Organics A Little Something For Mama-To-Be Gift Box! This set includes both the belly butter and the belly oil, perfect for moisturizing expanding bellies, hips, breasts, and thighs. Use them together for extra comfort and to encourage the skin's natural elasticity.
Looking for more creams and oils sure to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated during pregnancy? Shop our skincare products!
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