The complex series of physiological events that take place in your body when you're pregnant can take a heavy toll on you, especially on your skin. And with the rapid rate at which your belly expands during pregnancy, you're very likely to deal with stretch marks at some point in your childbearing journey if you aren't already.
Stretch marks, also known as striae, not only appear around the tummy but also on the upper thighs, hips, breasts, lower back and buttocks. And while they don't affect your beauty, you may be keen to prevent or get rid of these pesky marks. This article discusses how to choose the best cream, lotion or oil treatment for that purpose and offers recommendations from Amazon, John Lewis, Boots and more.
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Whether your body has developed pink, yellow, red, tan, purplish or brown streaks, this guide will be an ally in finding the best stretch mark cream. Since there's a dizzying number of products, let us help you sort through all the noise with these basic pointers.
Oils and ointments could potentially leave stains on your clothes too, so they may be best for use before bed. Ultimately, you want a stretch mark cream that has the perfect oil-to-liquid ratio for you.
The product you select should be non-sticky and shouldn't be too thick or feel heavy on your skin. Thick creams and oils cause an uneasiness that is difficult to ignore, so go for a stretch mark care product that is smooth and rich in texture, but also light and not slippery or greasy.
Be on the lookout for ingredients with vitamins and other nutrients that help control the breakdown in the elasticity of your skin and promote cell development. Common ingredients used in stretch mark creams contain vitamin C and E. Healthy levels of these vitamins reduce the incidence of stretch marks.
Vitamins rejuvenate skin by improving elasticity and promoting the production of collagen, which is a major protein in your body that functions to give structure to your skin and improves skin health. They also treat uneven skin and discolouration, thereby protecting the integrity of your skin.
Products containing the nutrients your skin needs during pregnancy will include ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, argan oil, tamanu oil, and special plant extracts like green tea extract. Others might have certain healthy acids and proteins that are extremely beneficial to your body.
Next, what's best not to include in your stretch mark care product! Namely, creams with high quantities of chemicals or chemically-altered components which might be unsuitable for a pregnant mother, such as dimethylethanolamine (DMAE), retinoids, tretinoin, and vitamin A derivatives.
Although vitamin A products stimulate collagen production and improve collagen density, they're not recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers in high quantities because they can be too harsh and can pose a threat to a developing foetus.
Plus, you may also wish to watch out for preservatives, colourants and artificial perfumes if you have sensitive skin that has troubled you either in the past or since becoming pregnant.
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The Best for Maintaining Skin Integrity
Mama Bee Belly Butter｜01031-14
Belly Cream With Shea Butter and Vitamin E
Mum & Me Bump Stretch Mark Cream
A Clinically-Proven Cream Made With Tamanu Oil
My Expert Midwife
Fantastic Skin Elastic
A Clever Serum That's Thin and Fast-Absorbing
Stretch Mark Massage Oil
A Simple, 100% Natural Oil to Prevent Stretch Marks From Forming
Massage Lotion for Stretch Makers
A Popular Cream With Cocoa and Shea Butter Formula
Simon & Tom
Yoffee Body Care Repairing Oil
A Light Massaging Oil Perfect for During and After Pregnancy
Mama Marks Cream
A Natural Lotion-in-Tube With Orange Scent
Stretch Mark & Scar Removal Cream
A Cream That Reduces Lines and Redness
Science of Skin
Solution for Stretch Marks
A Premium Stretch Mark Treatment Solution
Bio-Oil Skincare Oil is the UK's No.1 best-selling scar and stretch mark product, so it's easily our top pick! 95% of users reported seeing an improvement in the appearance of stretch marks after 2 weeks, and 92% said they saw an improvement in the appearance of scars after 8 weeks.
Packed in an accommodating 200 ml bottle, feel free to slather it on liberally. The oil has a smooth consistency, with a gentle texture that is suitable for all skin types and does not clog your pores. It also nourishes wrinkled skin and promotes an even skin tone. It's certainly worth every penny!
Mama Bee Belly Butter is made with shea butter, which is known to stop scar tissue from reproducing while encouraging healthy cell growth. This minimises the appearance of stretch marks and scarring. Shea butter is a tree nut product that is very low in allergens so it's appropriate for nearly all skin types, and it smells divine too!
As well as its great mix of organic ingredients, this product has not been tested on animals, which might be a crucial consideration for you when choosing your cosmetic products. With this, you can rest in confidence in a safe, effective product that is 99% natural and cruelty-free.
Here's another excellent way to boost your skin elasticity and keep stretch marks at bay. This product has been clinically tested and approved by dermatologists as a great ally for your burgeoning bump, so you're in safe hands.
It has a unique tamanu oil formula that is highly functional for the skin. Tamanu oil works intensively on your bump to promote healthy skin cell growth and enhances the skin tissue regeneration process, which results in minimal marks and scarring. What a wonderful way to speed up your healing!
Just like facial serums, this formula is a highly-concentrated blend of active natural ingredients with molecules that properly penetrate the skin and hydrate on the deepest levels. This brings about the much-needed healing from the sore dryness and itchiness of stretching skin.
The rich-but-thin serum glides on easily and is absorbed quickly into the skin, providing instant soothing relief without the greasiness. With most of the fluid eliminated, you have a potent but safe dose of antioxidants and peptides, all in a hygienic, airless pump-dispenser system.
Why wait until stretch marks begin to show up on your body before when you can take the proactive step to prevent them in the early weeks of your pregnancy? This is a great oil to stop those annoying marks from even appearing in the first place.
Not only does this 100% natural product work for all skin types to avoid the development of stretch marks, but it's also useful if you already have a few that you want to remove, as it incredibly fades them all away, leaving skin smooth and flexible. From a trusted and respected skincare brand, it's no surprise that this product is bomb!
The Palmer's® brand has remained popular among skincare enthusiasts in the UK for good reason, and this stretch mark lotion adds to their unique line of products. It's reported that over 98% of women saw improved skin elasticity with this vitamin E and collagen-rich massage lotion, which is very impressive.
It has a special cocoa butter formula which stands out. Cocoa butter is anti-inflammatory and is also super hydrating, penetrating deeply into the skin to retain moisture. This is a process that fades stretch marks over time. What's more, you'll really love its buttery texture and sweet, subtle scent.
Here's a soothing, 100% natural oil that repairs your stressed skin during and after pregnancy. It contains a blend of 10 botanical oils and vitamins including almond oil, which is renowned for its soothing properties. Almond oil has been used over the years as a treatment for minor wounds and cuts and is ideal for stretch marks.
In addition, it's also loaded with dermatologically-tested and vegan argan oil which contains vitamin E alongside other nutrients that make the skin more supple. This really light oil has a calming effect on your skin and mind as you massage the affected areas of your body. You should be careful with the open screw-top, though, because it's easy to spill.
This cream in a tube breaks away from the more common jar packaging method that is used for creams, thereby maintaining hygiene and preserving the integrity of the contents from contamination. The elegant plastic container is flexible, portable and space-saving, too.
This super-hydrating product also has a mood-boosting orange scent that smells fabulous. Luckily, this scent is obtained from its bevvy of skin-healing plant-based ingredients, which also include aloe, avocado oil, and argan oil. However, the scent may be a little overpowering for some, especially if your nose has become sensitive during pregnancy!
Those coloured lines that appear during pregnancy and remain postpartum really can be upsetting, but here's Nuonove to the rescue! This cream incorporates hyaluronic acid, also called hyaluronan in its formula, which is perfect for reducing lines, redness and scars.
This brilliant ingredient also binds to water to help retain moisture and to keep your skin well-hydrated. While hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body, there tends to be a decrease in its concentration during pregnancy so applying a product like this bridges that vacuum. However, some mums say it might leave your skin feeling a little greasy.
SOS's Solution for Stretch Marks is super good for your skin. Developed by UK doctors, it has been scientifically formulated to reduce the visible appearance of stretch marks, and is packed with a combination of active ingredients that work to reduce redness and irritation.
Among these ingredients is green tea extract, a potent antioxidant that also has exfoliating properties which helps to keep your skin soft and tender – just like your baby's! This premium oil is, of course, quite costly, but for many, it is absolutely worth the price.
If you've found your way to this article, we're guessing you're a soon-to-be parent, and potentially one in need of some product advice. Scroll down for three more ways to make the amazing journey you're on go by a little more smoothly.
At the end of the day, stretch marks are inevitable and are part of being a mother. Use one of our picks to minimise their effects where you don't want them, but remember that you're beautiful and to love your body regardless!
Author: David Gbe
No. 1: Bio-Oil｜Skincare Oil
No. 2: Burt's Bees｜Mama Bee Belly Butter｜01031-14
No. 3: Cussons｜Mum & Me Bump Stretch Mark Cream
No. 4: My Expert Midwife｜Fantastic Skin Elastic
No. 5: Weleda｜Stretch Mark Massage Oil
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