We recently revealed the science behind what causes stretch marks and the different ways you can attempt to get rid of them. Now we’ve handpicked the best stretch mark creams to prevent or remove them at home.
Medically known as Striae or Striae Distensea, stretch marks are the result of extreme skin growth or shrinkage. They’re usually indicative of a key point in your life and it’s why they’re colloquially called Life Lines.
Love them or hate them, stretch marks are part and parcel of our experiences and – while we’re certainly not suggesting you should get rid of them – if you don’t feel confident with them, there are things you can do.
While it’s difficult to get rid of them altogether, there are products that go a long way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the skin. The market is saturated with creams, oils and scrubs that all promise to get rid of stretch marks once and for all, but where do you begin? And which brands live up to their promises?
We’ve put together a list of the best stretch mark creams that minimise the appearance of stretch marks – all of which hit a different price point, so hopefully there’s something here for every budget.
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£33 | Buy now
Why we love it: Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment really is the cream of the crop (excuse the pun) when it comes to the best stretch mark cream in our opinion.
It’s super hydrating and feels silky on the skin while also helping to improve a variety of other skin concerns – from rejuvenating and reviving complexions, to smoothing wrinkles and fine lines and aiding visible sun damage to the skin. Paula’s Choice cuts through the noise, it delivers beautiful results and really does live up to its claims.
A word of warning: if you are pregnant or breastfeeding never use retinol-based products, or products containing retinoid, as it can be harmful. Find out more in our guide to the skincare ingredients that safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding
If this doesn’t apply to you, then retinol is one of the best cosmetic ingredients for rebuilding collagen in the skin and diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. This smoothing retinol body treatment is jam-packed with antioxidants and emollients to reveal softer and firmer-looking skin.
It also contains Vitamin C, which brightens and helps to protect the skin from premature ageing, too.
FURTHER READING: What is retinol and what does retinol do for your skin?
£9.99 | Buy now
Why we love it: If you prefer using oils as opposed to thicker stretch mark creams or lotions, then Bio-Oil is a top seller when it comes to diminishing scars.
It’s clinically proven and dermatologically tested to treat scars, stretch marks while also improve dull, ageing skin.
It’s fast-absorbing and is made up of a blend of Vitamins A and E to soften and hydrate skin.
It’s also suitable to be used during pregnancy as there are no harmful chemicals used in the formula.
Bio-Oil is widely available online and in many high street beauty shops and pharmacies. It’s inexpensive and a little really does go a long way! No wonder it’s most peoples go-to product when it comes to preventing or removing stretch marks.
£70 | Buy now
Why we love it: The science-based skincare brand Beauty Bio has hit the nail on the head with its The Sculptor firming body cream. This all-rounder is amazing at treating problem skin, such as cellulite, dimpling, fine lines and, of course, stretch marks.
This product really does a fantastic job at firming up skin and leaves it feeling highly nourished. The down side is that it’s significantly more expensive than the rest of our roundup.
However, that being said, if you’re looking for a solution that tackles multiple trouble areas on the skin, it’s worth the investment and will save you buying multiple creams that could add up to the same amount.
It’s packed full of beneficial ingredients, such as organic green tea seed oil, caffeine to aid collagen production, and sea algae for skin elasticity. After a few weeks of use, stretch marks seem to appear far less prominent.
£17.99 | Buy now
Why we love it: Creams spiked with retinol are fantastic for reducing the appearance of stretch marks on the skin as the ingredients stimulates the collagen production in the body to generate new and slightly thicker skin over time.
However, be mindful that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use retinol-based products as it can be harmful as we mentioned before.
Face Theory’s treatment oil consists of a blend of 2% retinoid, Jojoba oil plus Vitamin E and C to brighten skin. It also inhabits the generation of melanin and accelerates the synthesis of collagen. It’s vegan friendly, and due to its high concentration of actives, only a small amount is required per use – so it goes a long way.
Elsewhere, it’s also nourishing and light, and absorbs quickly leaving your skin feeling hydrated and the appearance of stretch marks faded.
£35 | Buy now
This Tummy Rub Butter contains what Mama Mio calls an Omega Rich Skin Stretch Complex, which is a blend of different oils.
These include avocado oil, inchi oil, and argan oil – the last of which contains Omega 3, 5 and 6 designed to add moisture to the skin and keep it elastic and supple. Elsewhere, there is coconut oil, sweet almond oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E.
It’s designed to prevent stretch marks from appearing while you’re pregnant (which, for the record are totally normal) but it’s also great for a stretch mark cream after you’ve given birth.
Like the Mio Skincare range, all Mama Mio products are vegan, cruelty-free and its packaging is recyclable.
£13.99 | Buy now
Why we love it: If you’re a mum-to-be, or breastfeeding, it’s essential to use a stretch mark cream that is safe and effective, extra moisturising, has a pleasant smell – so not to kick off any morning sickness or put the baby off feeding – and is easy to apply.
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter is exactly that product.
It’s specially designed with pregnant women as well as new mums in mind and is fantastic at nourishing the tummy area before and after pregnancy. It’s so good, even seasoned Mums can benefit…
This is because it’s enriched with naturally hydrating cocoa, shea and jojoba butter, to help skin recover during rapid weight gain. It also provides relief and comfort to stretched skin.
It has no unnatural added fragrance, so won’t bother sensitive noses, and the formula is non-irritating and made without any harmful ingredients.
FURTHER READING: What skincare ingredients to avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding
£27.50 | Buy now
Why we love it: Not a chemical in sight and completely cruelty-free, Little Butterfly’s stretch mark butter is natural, organic and nourishing. It’s incredible at comforting strained skin and minimises the appearance of stretch marks on the skin.
Blended with an array of hydrating whipped butters including cupuaçu, mango, cocao and shea to deeply nourish and provide long-lasting moisture, it smells divine.
The product melts into your skin upon application and is also suitable for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It leaves skin feeling super hydrated, soft, and glowing and the packaging is also gorgeous too! What’s not to love? Well, other than the slightly high price.
Annie has a degree in Multimedia Journalism from Bournemouth University. Since graduating, Annie has freelanced for a travel magazine and is a senior account executive for a technology PR consultancy based in London, where her main role is content creation.