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Stretch marks are common and absolutely normal for any human. If you'd like, you don't need to feel pressure to cover them up or try and reduce their size at all. That being said, it's just as acceptable to feel like you want to try and do something about them. Keeping your body skin hydrated and well-nourished is far from a bad thing by any definition.
It's true that, depending on your skin and the age of your stretch mark, you may not be able to smooth them out completely. But thanks to a few really incredible, potent, hydrating, and toning ingredients, you can visibly reduce the look of them. So we found a number of products that provide lasting results.
Below, discover the best stretch mark creams on the market.
Best Overall: Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy
This paraben-free formula earns points for both 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 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 botanical ingredient proprietary to the brand, and centella asiatica (another plant extract known for its outstanding skin soothing and healing properties) help to fade the appearance of any current marks.
Best Budget: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula For Stretch Marks
This brand has a cult-like following for its variety of cocoa butter-based lotions 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 and almond oils as well as pure cocoa butter, vitamin E, shea butter, and bio c-elaste (which is a combination of collagen, elastin, and centella asiatica). Together, these ingredients help increase elasticity in your skin and make sure new stretch marks don't form (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 every time you need to pick up a new bottle. It comes in a lotion version too, choice for those who prefer a lighter texture and consistency.
Best for Prevention: Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
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 that helps skin withstand stretching. In a study of 26 women who used this throughout their pregnancy, a whopping 96% didn’t develop any stretch marks at all. Also nice: It comes in a fragrance-free version too.
Best for Pregnancy: Earth Mama Belly Butter
With a blend of organic herbs and essential oils in a creamy shea butter base, this is ideal for expectant moms to slather on hips, belly, and breasts—and is 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 stretch marks. And while it doesn’t contain any synthetic fragrance, it does have a slightly sweet citrusy scent.
Best Natural: The Honest Co. Organic Belly Balm
What you won’t find in this rich and thick balm: Petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances. What you will find: A simple and straightforward ingredient list of certified organic oils (sunflower, coconut, olive, to name a few), cocoa butter, and beeswax. The hypoallergenic formula is packed with omega fatty acids that help soothe itchiness, keep your skin soft and supple, and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Use it as often as you’d like, being sure to rub it well into the skin; the more you massage and rub in any stretch mark cream, the more effective it will be.
Best for Stomach: Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Butter
Try this supersize tub of deeply moisturizing body butter meant to prevent stretch marks as your baby belly grows. It uses organic sweet almond and olive oils to relieve redness and itching, while rose-hip fruit oil increases cell renewal and reduces excess pigmentation.
Best Multi-Tasker: Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
This one little bottle can do it all, not only helping diminish the look of stretch marks, but also doing the same for scars, as well as evening out skin tone, smoothing wrinkles, and hydrating. Bio-Oil practically melts into your skin, with rich moisturizers to hydrate and nourish for hours post-application. The cult-favorite formula is blended with PurCellin Oil to make the product especially easy to absorb and lightweight to the touch. Plus, you can't beat the drugstore price tag.
Best Splurge: Susanne Kaufmann Detox Oil
Almond oil, jojoba oil, and wheat germ oil are all mixed together in this chic bottle to improve the elasticity of your skin and help it stretch more gently. Then, arnica flower extract, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals work to stop water retention and add suppleness, firm and prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Apply it to your entire body after showering and let it soak in before dressing.
Best Patch: StretchPatch Lotion Infused Hot Patch
It’s not just creams and lotions that can help minimize the look of stretch marks. This innovative treatment features a lotion-infused adhesive patch that delivers 18 different ingredients that help with skin regeneration and aid in collagen production. The mess-free, flesh-colored patches stick to the skin for up to 10 hours, making them ideal to use as an overnight treatment.
The one caveat: Don’t use these while you’re pregnant; save them for post-pregnancy and after you’re done breastfeeding. But if your stretch marks aren’t pregnancy-related, these are ideal and work well to treat scars, too.