The 17 Best Stretch Mark Creams of 2023

Kiss tiger stripes goodbye

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Stretch Mark Creams

Byrdie / Kevin Liang

Stretch marks are common and normal for everyone. Technically called striae—they indicate a breakdown in the elasticity of the skin as it stretches, explains New York-based dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla. They pop up when the skin stretches quickly—think during pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, and puberty—and initially have a purple, pink, or red hue, gradually fading to more of a skin-toned color.

The big caveat to treating stretch marks is that there’s no magical lotion or potion that will erase them. Dermatologists unanimously agree that in-office treatments like lasers and light devices are the best solution. That said, over-the-counter creams with certain ingredients like hyaluronic acid can keep the skin well-hydrated and help it remain more elastic. Moisturizers and balms with vitamin A—also known as retinoids—can speed up the fading of stretch marks. Look on the packaging for skin-nourishing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil, which are good options for preventing stretch marks from occurring in the first place or getting worse, as Mariwalla points out.

The bottom line: Stretch marks are normal, and you don’t need to feel pressure to cover them up or change them at all. That being said, it's just as acceptable to feel like you want to try and do something about them.

We conducted hours of research to find the best stretch marks creams on the market, evaluating each option on their key ingredients and ability to hydrate the skin and fade pigmentation. After consulting a dermatologist and considering dozens of formulas, we landed on these top-rated picks.

Best Overall

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

4.9
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

Amazon

What We Like
  • Good for sensitive skin

  • Increases elasticity

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Might not bring fast enough results

This brand has a large following thanks to its variety of cocoa butter-based lotions, and Mariwalla calls this one the “OG of stretch mark creams.” Ideal for your stomach, hips, thighs, and bust, Palmer's signature formula works to treat stretch marks courtesy of a potent, velvety blend of argan oil, almond oil, pure cocoa butter, vitamin E, shea butter, and bio c-elaste (which is a combination of collagen, elastin, and Centella Asiatica). Together, this combo helps increase elasticity in your skin to help ward off new stretch marks (whether or not you're pregnant). And at such a wallet-friendly price, you can slather it on with reckless abandon without having to worry about breaking the bank.

Price at time of publish: $8

Key Ingredients: Cocoa seed butter | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs, buttocks | Free of: Mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, dyes | Size: 4.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

“By moisturizing with ingredients that are well-absorbed by the skin, you can improve skin hydration and potentially the texture stretch marks as well,” explains Mariwalla.

Best Budget

Burt's Bees Mama Belly Butter with Shea Butter and Vitamin E

4.4
Burt's Bees Mama Belly Butter with Shea Butter and Vitamin E

Amazon

What We Like
  • Fragrance-free

  • Smooth texture

  • Made from 99% natural ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Smell might be off-putting

This drugstore staple is proof positive that there’s no need to shell out the big bucks for a good stretch mark cream. Shea butter, cocoa butter, and jojoba give this formula its ultra-rich and creamy feel—plus, it's 99 percent natural. Happy reviewers rave about how well it wards off dry, itchy skin, as well as pregnancy-induced stretch marks.

Price at time of publish: $13

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil | Application Area: Stomach | Free of: Mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, sulfates, dyes | Size: 6.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Increases elasticity

  • Hydrating

  • Can be used while breastfeeding

What We Don't Like
  • Smell might be off-putting

This paraben-free formula earns points for helping to prevent new stretch marks from forming and treating existing ones, too. For prevention purposes, it contains a combination of hydrating hyaluronic acid and emollient dimethicone; increasing moisture in the skin keeps it more elastic and less likely to tear and scar. But it doesn’t stop there. Cepalin, a proprietary botanical ingredient, and Centella Asiatica (another plant extract known for its outstanding skin-soothing and healing properties) help fade the appearance of any current marks. 

Price at time of publish: $29

Key Ingredients: Cepalin, centella asiatica, hyaluronic acid | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs, buttocks, breasts | Free of: Mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, sulfates, dyes | Size: 5.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best All-Over Moisturizer

Mutha Body Butter

MUTHA Body Butter

Violet Grey

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Smells good

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

If you’re on the hunt for a cream that will not only address stretch marks but is also an all-around great body moisturizer, look no further. The brand’s founder and CEO created it when she was pregnant and wanted to fend off stretch marks, so the formula is loaded with all kinds of nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory butters and oils that do exactly that. And despite the name, it has more of a soufflé-like consistency; former Byrdie GM Leah Wyar (a self-proclaimed mega-fan of the brand) notes that it melts into the skin instantly. Translation? You’ll want to slather it anywhere and everywhere.

Price at time of publish: $95

Key Ingredients: Shea butter | Application Area: All | Free of: Mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, sulfates, dyes | Size: 5.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Pregnancy

Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter

4.8
Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter

Walmart

What We Like
  • Easy to spread

  • Smells good

  • Pump bottle

What We Don't Like
  • Smell might be off-putting to some

With a blend of organic herbs and essential oils in a creamy shea butter base, this is ideal for expectant moms to slather on the hips, belly, and breasts. And it's just as safe and effective to use post-pregnancy, too. Not only does it help prevent stretch marks, but it also helps soothe itching, a common side effect that comes with them. And while it doesn’t contain any synthetic fragrance, it does have a slightly sweet citrusy scent.

Price at time of publish: $19

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, jojoba oil, calendula blossom | Application Area: Stomach, hips, breasts | Free of: Mineral oil, parabens, petroleum, dyes, artificial fragrance | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge

Alastin TransFORM Body Treatment

Alastin TransFORM Body Treatment

Amazon

What We Like
  • Increases elasticity

  • Helps produce more collagen

  • Fastens the removal of broken-down fat cells

What We Don't Like
  • Might not bring fast enough results

While this product isn’t geared towards stretch marks (it’s meant to be used after skin-tightening procedures), it does work to stimulate the production of new collagen and elastin. According to Mariwalla, that’s what makes it a good pick; she recommends layering it underneath a plain body moisturizer for extra hydration. “The combination truly does improve the elasticity of the skin and can help address both the depth and width of stretch marks,” she explains.

Price at time of publish: $205

Key Ingredients: Peptides, lipodrone | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs, buttocks, breasts | Free of: Mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, dyes | Size: 6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge, Runner-Up

Peter Thomas Roth Pro-Strength Stretch Mark Cream

Peter Thomas Roth Pro-Strength Stretch Mark Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Treats and prevents

  • Gently exfoliates

What We Don’t Like
  • Can’t be used on breasts

Another splurge-worthy pick, this is a pro-grade product that relies on a few proprietary complexes that help increase the look of skin thickness, preventing the appearance of future and existing stretch marks. It’s also very hydrating, thanks to the shea and cocoa butters in the mix, and also contains gently exfoliating lactic acid to even out skin tone overall.

Price at time of publish: $58

Key Ingredients: Proprietary complexes, lactic acid, shea butter, cocoa butter l | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs | Free of: Fragrance | Size: 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Prevention

Mustela Stretch Marks Cream

Mustela Stretch Marks Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Has a fragrance-free version

  • Increases elasticity

  • Non-greasy

What We Don't Like
  • Might not work on sensitive skin

Pregnant women rave about the preventative benefits of this cream. At work are avocado peptides, which reinforce skin elasticity, and galactoarabinan (say that five times fast), a patented ingredient. Also nice: It comes in a fragrance-free version, too.

Price at time of publish: $22

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, avocado peptides, maracuja | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs, buttocks, breasts | Free of: Alcohol, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Retinoid

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

4.6
differin adapalene gel

Target

What We Like
  • Minimizes pores

  • Doubles as acne treatment

  • Soothes skin

What We Don't Like
  • Can be drying for some

Yes, this retinoid may be marketed as an acne treatment, but according to Mariwalla, it’s worth trying on stretch marks, too. “Retinoids are my top-recommended topical ingredients for stretch marks, and nightly use of this one will help fade red or purple marks over time and also improve the texture,” she says. But FYI, because it's a retinoid, this is definitely a no-go if you’re pregnant.

Price at time of publish: $15

Key Ingredients: 0.1% adapalene | Application Area: Face and body | Free of: Mineral oil, phthalates, sulfates, dyes | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

What Our Testers Say

"After eight days of use, I noticed that my chest felt smoother. I also noticed there were no neck pimples the week before my cycle." — Bianca Lambert, Product Tester

Best Oil

Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil

4.8
Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

Ulta

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Softens skin

  • Good for sensitive skin

What We Don't Like
  • Smell might be off-putting to some

  • Greasy

“Another staple for stretch mark sufferers, this is lightweight, easily absorbed, and can improve not only the texture of stretch marks but also the overall pigmentation of the skin,” says Mariwalla. Credit a combination of PurCellin Oil and vitamin A, which also makes this a good pick for treating scars, too. Plus, you can't beat the drugstore price tag.

Price at time of publish: $30

Main Ingredient: Vitamin A, vitamin E, PurCellin oil | Application Area: Hips, thighs, buttocks | Free of: Parabens, phthalates | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

What Our Testers Say

"I love using the Bio-Oil Skincare Oil: It smells great, isn’t too thick, and doesn't leave too much of a residue behind. It’s also incredibly hydrating! " — Leigh Wingus, Product Tester

Best Non-Cream

Dermaclara Enhanced Siliconefusion Stretch Mark Kit

Dermaclara Enhanced Siliconefusion Stretch Mark Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Reusable

  • Safe for all stages of pregnancy

  • Mess-free

What We Don’t Like
  • Takes a few months to work

Okay, so we know this is a round-up of creams, but if you want to address stretch marks some other way, these easy-to-use patches are where it’s at. They’re made entirely of medical-grade silicone, which is well-known for helping to heal the skin by boosting collagen production and elasticity. Pop them on and wear them anywhere from one to eight hours per day; this kit comes with a cleaner so that you can clean and reuse the patches anywhere from 15 to 30 times. Not only are they totally mess-free, but there’s also nothing entering your bloodstream, so they’re totally safe for all stages of pregnancy. Plus, they work on both new and older stretch marks.

Price at time of publish: $63

Key Ingredients: Medical-grade silicone | Application Area: Stomach, breasts, hips, thighs | Free of: Chemicals | Size: 7 x 7 inches | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multi-Tasker

Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel

Bio-oil Dry Skin Gel

Amazon

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Affordable

  • Non-greasy

What We Don’t Like
  • Not specifically intended to treat stretch marks

A new take on the brand’s beloved oil that also nabbed a spot on this list, this pick acts as a great hydrator, imparting lots of moisture in a fast-absorbing gel formula that doesn’t ever feel greasy or sticky. (While it’s technically not meant to help treat stretch marks in the same way the OG formula is, keeping the skin hydrated can help keep them from forming in the first place.) It does contain a small amount of a retinoid in the formula, but has been tested and shown to be safe in pregnant and breast-feeding women.

Price at time of publish: $13

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, retinyl palmitate, mineral oil | Application Area: Stomach, breasts, hips, thighs | Free of: Alcohol, sulfates, parabens, phthalates | Size: 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Stomach

Maelys B-Flat Belly Firming Cream

Maelys B-Flat Belly Firming Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Safe for post-pregnancy use

  • Warming sensation

What We Don’t Like
  • Has a slight warming sensation when applied

Reach for this tube to treat stretch marks on your tummy. It has avocado oil and shea butter to keep skin moisturized and flexible, plus pink pepperslim, a plant-based extract. Reviewers rave about how well it works post-pregnancy, although do note that it does have a bit of a warming sensation upon application that can take some getting used to.

Price at time of publish: $49

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, avocado oil, pink pepperslim extract | Application Area: Stomach | Free of: Parabens, SLS | Size: 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Butt

Anese Cream Dream

Anese Cream Dream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Gentle

  • Great smell

  • Also treats hyperpigmentation and cellulite

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount

If you're prone to getting stretch marks on your butt instead of your stomach, try this silky smooth cream from booty-care line Anese. Its star ingredient is bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative that has the same smoothing and firming effect but without the risk of irritation. Reviewers noted that after a couple of weeks, they noticed that even their most stubborn stretch marks looked lighter and less noticeable.

Price at time of publish: $32

Key Ingredients: Bakuchiol, coconut oil, camellia leaf extract | Application Area: Butt, hips, and thighs | Free of: Parabens, phthalates, dyes | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Oil for Pregnancy

HATCH Maternity Belly Oil

4.3
HATCH Maternity Belly Oil

Amazon

What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Works everywhere on the body

  • Easy-to-use dropper applicator

What We Don’t Like
  • May take a while to show results

An ideal option to help prevent stretch marks as your baby bump grows, this is made entirely with natural ingredients, think calendula, sweet almond oil, and grapefruit oil. The easy-to-use dropper makes the application a breeze, and it dries quickly so you can get dressed right after. It’s dermatologist- and allergy-tested, can be used anywhere on the body, and also doubles as a moisturizing bath oil.

Price at time of publish: $64

Key Ingredients: Calendula, sweet almond oil, and grapefruit oil | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs, boobs | Free of: Parabens, phthalates, dyes, fragrance | Size: 6.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Natural

Naydaya Body Saviour Stretch Mark Butter

Naydaya Body Saviour Stretch Mark Butter

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works everywhere on the body

  • Treats and prevents

What We Don’t Like
  • Unhygienic container

Understandably, many people prioritize using clean, natural products when pregnant or breastfeeding, which is why this cream earns our vote. It touts a minimal ingredient list composed mostly of plant-based oils and butters, including rosehip oil to help heal and renew skin. Use it to minimize the look of stretch marks and combat dry, itchy skin on your belly, thighs, breasts, and bum—whether or not you’re pregnant.

Key Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, shea butter, rosehip oil | Application Area: Stomach, hips, thighs, boobs, buttocks | Free of: Parabens, phthalates, dyes, fragrance | Size: 3.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Old Stretch Marks

Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

4.9
Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

Amazon

What We Like
  • Potent formula

  • Shows results quickly

  • Non-greasy

What We Don't Like
  • Can't be used if you're pregnant

Many creams that are targeted for stretch marks are able to prevent them from forming, but what if you have stretch marks that have been present for years? Enter this retinol treatment from Paula's Choice, which— although isn't marketed as a stretch mark cream— has dozens of reviews raving how it was able to fade old marks and treat cellulite. It's formulated with 0.1% retinol to smooth and firm the skin, vitamin C to brighten, and glycerin and shea butter to hydrate—the perfect combination to treat dark marks.

Price at time of publish: $29

Key Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin C, shea butter | Application Area: All | Free of: Parabens, phthalates, dyes, fragrance | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

Stretch marks are normal and unavoidable for many—and can be tough to treat with topical creams. But topical creams can at least help, especially our top choices. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks is effective and beloved by many for tummy, thighs, butt, hips, and bust. Pregnant mommas should consider the Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter (which is great for soothing itch, too), the Mustela Stretch Marks Cream (a good preventative pick), or the HATCH Maternity Belly Oil. And if you’re looking for a great all-over moisturizer that just happens to help address stretch marks, too, try the Mutha Body Butter, a splurge-worthy option that Byrdie editors rave about. 

Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Byrdie / Abby Hocking

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Kavita Mariwalla is a board-certified dermatologist and a full-time provider at Mariwalla Dermatology in West Islip, NY. She specializes in skin cancer detection and treatment and is a fellowship-trained MOHS surgeon and a skilled aesthetic clinician.


  • Dr. Hadley King is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, as well as a clinical instructor of dermatology at Cornell University's Weill Medical College.

What To Look For in a Stretch Mark Cream

Hydrating Ingredients

Above all, moisturizing the skin with tried-and-true hydrating ingredients—like shea butter, coconut oil, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid—can potentially help improve the texture of stretch marks.

Retinoids

These vitamin A derivatives are also at the top of Mariwalla’s list to look for since they can help fade the color and improve the texture of stretch marks. Some of our favorite stretch mark creams that include retinoids in their formulation are the Bio Oil Dry Gel, which includes a small amount of vitamin A, and Differin Gel, which has 0.1% adapalene. The big caveat? They’re a no-go if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Byrdie / Abby Hocking
FAQ
  • Do stretch mark creams actually work?

    Stretch mark creams and lotions aren’t magic, and your best bet for fading existing stretch marks is to visit your dermatologist for an in-office treatment such as laser therapy. However, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, massaging in these topicals (especially one that contains a retinoid) may yield some improvements in their appearance. And, as Dr. Mariwalla points out above, products with nourishing ingredients can be an effective option for preventing stretch marks from occurring in the first place or at least prevent existing marks from getting worse.

  • When should you start using a stretch mark cream?

    Dr. King recommends starting to use a stretch mark cream before you have them, treating them as more of a preventative measure. So, if you’re expecting or plan to be soon, get into the habit of applying a stretch mark cream daily. However, if you’re looking to improve the appearance of existing stretch marks and don't plan to visit your dermatologist for an in-office treatment, it’s best to start using a stretch mark cream as soon as you see it form for best results.

  • Do stretch mark creams work on old stretch marks?

    According to Dr. King, stretch mark creams may show some improvements in old stretch marks, but you can expect any results to be on the subtle side. “Topical products or superficial exfoliation don’t have deep or strong enough effects to remodel ruptured collagen and elastin, but they may offer a mild improvement in appearance,” she says.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She slathers on a stretch mark cream nightly for prevention purposes (she rotates among many on this list) and is also hoarding many of these guys for future use once she’s pregnant.

Updated by Shannon Stubbs
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  6. Chien AL, Qi J, Rainer B, Sachs DL, Helfrich YR. Treatment of Acne in Pregnancy. J Am Board Fam Med. 2016;29(2):254-62. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2016.02.150165

  7. Clugston PA, Vistnes MD, Perry LC, Maxwell GP, Fisher J. Evaluation of silicone-gel sheeting on early wound healing of linear incisionsAnn Plast Surg. 1995;34(1):12-15. doi:10.1097/00000637-199501000-00003

  8. Lei Z, Cao Z, Yang Z, Ao M, Jin W, Yu L. Rosehip Oil Promotes Excisional Wound Healing by Accelerating the Phenotypic Transition of MacrophagesPlanta Med. 2019;85(7):563-569. doi:10.1055/a-0725-8456

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