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Best Stretch Mark Lotion For Pregnancy

Updated January 11, 2021

Pregnant woman embracing her stomach

Do stretch mark creams really work?

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing that can cause some unwanted side effects, like stretch marks. They can appear practically anywhere on moms-to-be, such as on the breasts, hips, abdomen, and thighs. Using stretch mark creams while you’re pregnant may not prevent or eliminate stretch marks completely, but it can help lessen them by smoothing your skin and improving its elasticity. So, which creams are best and safe to use during pregnancy? Don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you.

What to look for when choosing a pregnancy stretch mark prevention cream

Know what to avoid. Certain stretch mark cream ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy, such as retinoids, retinol, and tretinoin.

Hydration is key. Hyaluronic acid, humectants, and ceramides are excellent moisturizing ingredients to look for in a pregnancy stretch mark cream.

Go hypoallergenic. For women with sensitive skin, choose a product without fragrances, dyes, or essential oils that could cause irritation or allergic reactions.

Keep your skin happy. Ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, and aloe vera can calm irritated, itchy skin.

With so many stretch mark creams on the market, we’ve narrowed down the top contenders to use while you’re pregnant.

TriLASTIN Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream

Overview & Features

TriLastin is sold as a two-product package: TriLASTIN-SR + TriLASTIN-HT Hydro-Thermal Accelerator. The SR product is made with a “sustained-release technology” that delivers the cream’s ingredients consistently for increased effectiveness. The TriLASTIN-HT is a vitamin-infused serum that helps maximize overall results.

Silicones and beeswax are the two main ingredients. These both help protect your skin and keep it hydrated. Both products are also paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and unscented, so people with sensitive skin don’t need to worry. Aside from the beeswax, there are no other heavy oils or butters for added moisturizing. This does, however, make the cream lightweight and non-greasy.

Pros

  • Contains vitamins B, C and E
  • Free of parabens and hypoallergenic
  • Made in an FDA-registered lab
  • Risk-free, 90-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Does not contain peptides (proven to help build collagen and restore elasticity to skin)
  • Not vegan (contains beeswax)

Belli Elasticity Belly Oil

Overview & Features

Belli Elasticity Belly Oil is formulated with moisturizing ingredients like vitamin E and cocoa butter, to help prevent and soothe stretch marks from pregnancy. Lavender oil and almond oil nourish and moisturize the skin while leaving a subtle, refreshing scent.

It is dermatologist recommended and is safe for all skin types, plus it’s free of artificial dyes, fragrances, phthalates, and paraben preservatives. It’s formula is purposefully made to be safe for use during your pregnancy and even while nursing, which means you can use it before and after pregnancy too.

Pros

  • Richly hydrating blend of ingredients, including vitamin E and cocoa butter
  • Free of artificial dyes, fragrances, phthalates, and paraben preservatives
  • OB/GYN & Dermatologist recommended

Cons

  • Greasier and takes longer to absorb than a cream
  • Stronger scent that may be sensitive to some

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion

Overview & Features

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion has powerful ingredients to fight against stretch marks, such as cocoa butter, shea butter, natural oils, collagen, elastin, and lutein. This non-greasy lotion is ideal for all over body use, in place of your regular moisturizer during your pregnancy.

This stretch mark cream is free of mineral oils, parabens, and phthalates. The lotion is also hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain any allergens that could irritate your skin. In addition to targeting stretch marks, it doubles as a daily moisturizer that you can use everywhere.

Pros

  • Free of mineral oil, parabens, and phthalates
  • Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, suitable for all skin types and dermatologist tested
  • Inexpensive, ~$8 for an 8.5oz bottle

Cons

  • New formula doesn’t include sweet almond oil
  • Thicker cream can take longer to absorb

Belly Butter by Earth Mama

Overview & Features

This belly butter is lightweight and creamy, aiming to prevent and relieve stretch marks without leaving a messy residue. Free of petroleum, parabens, and artificial fragrances, this lotion contains hydrating ingredients, such as aloe, shea butter, and natural oils, which may help prevent stretch marks.

Earth Mama Belly Butter has been clinically tested and dermatology tested, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin. If you prefer a refreshing, light scent without the harsh chemicals, then this rich cream is a great choice.

Pros

  • Dermatologist tested, clinically tested, cruelty-free
  • No petrolatum, mineral oil, parabens, or artificial fragrance
  • Certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients

Cons

  • Thinner consistency than other butters
  • Doesn’t come in bigger bottle sizes

How to prevent stretch marks while pregnant

1. Limit Weight Gain

Weight gain is normal during pregnancy, but it’s important to work to control body changes from happening too quickly. Stretch marks can happen when your skin pulls apart quickly due to rapid weight gain, so do your best to maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy. Ask your doctor what they consider to be a normal amount of weight gain for you. Eat a healthy diet and exercise to help you manage your weight while pregnant, with guidance from your medical professionals.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water helps keep your skin soft and hydrated, which helps prevent stretch marks. Current recommendations for daily water intake are 104 ounces for men and 72 ounces for women. Also be wary of drinking caffeinated beverages, like coffee. These may actually increase your risk of developing stretch marks. Be sure to balance out your caffeine intake with plenty of water and other caffeine-free drinks.

3. Eat Certain Nutrients

Stretch marks may also occur if you lack nutrition in certain areas. Make sure your diet includes foods rich in:

  • Calcium builds strong bones and teeth. It is found in milk, cheese, yogurt, and sardines. During pregnancy, 1,000 mg is recommended daily.
  • Iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby. Find your iron in lean red meat, dried beans, and peas. During pregnancy, you need 27 mg daily.
  • Vitamin A is needed for healthy skin, eyesight, and bone growth. Foods that contain high Vitamin A levels include carrots, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes. Try to eat 770 micrograms everyday during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and promotes healthy bones, teeth, and gums. Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries are good foods to find your vitamin C. You need 85 mg daily during your pregnancy.
  • Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium to help build your baby’s bones and teeth. Being out in the sun (for safe amounts of time), fortified milk, and fatty fish are great sources of vitamin D. During pregnancy, try to get 600 international units (IUs) daily.
  • Vitamin B6 helps red blood cells to form and helps your body use protein, fat, and carbohydrates. You can find vitamin B6 in pork, beef, whole-grain cereals, and bananas. You need 1.9 mg everyday throughout your pregnancy.
  • Vitamin B12 also helps red blood cells to form and aids your nervous system. You can find only B12 in animal products, such as liver, meat, fish, poultry, and milk. Pregnant women need 2.6 micrograms everyday.
  • Folate (Folic Acid) is a vitamin important in producing blood and protein. It also reduces the risk of neural tube defects, a birth defect of the brain and spinal cord. Folate is found in leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, beans, peas, avocados, and nuts. Doctors recommend starting at 400 micrograms of folate daily before pregnancy and during the first trimester. During the rest of your pregnancy, the recommendation bumps up to 600 micrograms daily.

4. Topical Products

There are an array of topical creams and oils for helping to prevent and treat stretch marks before, during, and after pregnancy. But, there are some ingredients that pregnant women should avoid using.

Ingredients to avoid in stretch mark creams

DMAE (dimethylethanolamine) is a chemical sometimes found in anti-aging creams. Due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and tighten skin, it can also be effective in reducing the visibility of stretch marks. However, some studies have shown that DMAE can be dangerous for embryo development, so it is best to avoid this chemical during pregnancy or while trying to conceive.

Retinoids, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates should be avoided while pregnant. Too much paraben exposure during pregnancy could result in health problems for the baby, including an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes or childhood overweight development. Too much exposure of other chemicals like phthalates and retinoids during pregnancy have been linked to health risks for both baby and mother, too. Avoid any creams or oils containing chemicals like these.

Grape Seed Extract is commonly used in the treatment of conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, poor circulation, and nerve damage. However, there is very little research on taking it while pregnant, so it’s best to avoid it.

FAQs

1. Is it safe to use stretch mark creams during pregnancy?

We can’t guarantee that every single stretch mark cream on the market is safe, but there are certain creams and oils made specifically for pregnant women that are safe for use. If you have any safety concerns, it’s best to ask your healthcare provider for recommendations.

2. Why are some stretch marks red and some white?

The difference in the color of stretch marks shows how old they are. Stretch marks often start off red or purple and slowly fade to white or silver over time. Red stretch marks are easier to treat because they are fresher and the blood vessels allow the stretch marks to be more responsive. White stretch marks are older and more difficult to treat. This is because your blood vessels narrow over time, making it harder to stimulate collagen production.

3. How long does it take for stretch marks to go away after giving birth?

The good news is that stretch marks usually start to fade about six to 12 months after your baby is born. Like any scar, stretch marks are permanent and you’ll never be able to get rid of them completely. However, some treatments and creams can help them become lighter over time.