10 best stretch mark creams and oils that reduce lines and leave skin feeling soft
Tackle blemishes, scars and marks on the body with the help of one of these tried-and-tested lotions
Whether you’re experiencing them due to pregnancy or simply weight fluctuations, there’s no denying stretch marks can be unsightly and sometimes knock our confidence.
While they’re completely harmless and there’s no quick fix to eradicate them, there are plenty of products on the market which promise that elusive smoother skin and the chance to fade these marks away.
But what should you be looking for and what is realistic to achieve? Siva Kumar, a consultant plastic surgeon at The McIndoe Centre, explains: “Topical creams and oils may help the improvement of stretch marks and make them less noticeable but the key is to use them as a preventative tool as soon as you notice them and use them regularly.
Creams can hydrate the skin and allow it to stretch easier but topical treatments have minimal effects on mature stretch marks” he adds.
We put a range of the latest stretch mark products to the test on skins of all ages, types and needs – from mums-to-be looking to banish emerging stretch marks around their bump to those later in life who wanted to tackle blemishes, scars and marks. Here’s 10 of the best.
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Natural Spa Factory organic baobab oil: £13.95, Natural Spa Factory
Husband and wife team Emma and Jeremy started Natural Spa Factory over a decade ago; with a focus on spa products that use natural, botanically sourced ingredients. The key one here being baobab oil: an omega-rich oil that’s also high in skin-wonder vitamins A and E. This oil works with a dropper; meaning it’s very easy to apply and avoids spillage and overuse.
But how did it fare on the all-important stretch mark test? Well, our tester (who had a significant amount of stretch marks due to rapid weight gain) gave it top marks; finding it dramatically reducing the redness and appearance of their stretch marks in just a few short weeks. The only drawback was it had less of an impact on our testers scars, but given that these were from historic surgery that is perhaps to be expected.
Another benefit to this nutrient-rich oil is its multi-functional, with our tester noting it also did wonders for their dry skin patches on their face.
Lloyds Pharmacy body care oil: £7.99, Lloyds Pharmacy
This budget-friendly stretch mark oil from Lloyds Pharmacy garnered impressive results from our heavily pregnant tester. A little of this specially formulated oil (which includes a blend of sweet almond oil and argan oil) goes a long way and whilst it does take a while to fully absorb, our tester was impressed with the silky soft feeling it left behind and its sweet scent. Most importantly, it managed to make a real difference to their stretch marks, simply using it once a day over several weeks resulted in significantly fainter marks.
Mama Mio the tummy rub butter: £23.50, Look Fantastic
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure – and that applies to stretch marks too. For mums-to-be who are looking to ensure their skin is in tip-top shape throughout their pregnancy, this tummy butter from Mama Mio is ideal. We loved how luxuriously rich this cream felt when applied to our bump; which is down to the combination of natural ingredients such as shea butter, organic avocado oil and rosehip oil.
Along with keeping our bump smooth, it also kept its promise of preventing stretch marks from popping up. In fact, this butter has been proven in trials to protect against future stretch marks appearing and helps improve the elasticity of skin by 20 per cent in just two weeks. Whilst we can’t promise this one will banish your existing marks, it is great for those who are on the hunt for the perfect preventative.
Made for Life Organics restorative body balm: £48, Made for Life Organics
This 100 per cent organic, Soil Association approved range of skincare is ideal for those looking for a spot of truly indulgent pampering. In fact, one of our testers summed this award-winning restorative body balm up perfectly as “simply a spa in a jar”. The balm’s rose geranium fragrance and nourishing properties meant it left skin feeling truly pampered (and this effect lasted well until the next day).
Whilst our tester was particularly impressed with how long this left her skin feeling impressively smooth and taut, it’s worth noting that it didn’t have as much of a significant impact on the actual appearance of their stretch marks as others on this list. We’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for an indulgent, natural treat but not for those looking to banish larger or redder marks.
Valmont Val D. solution booster: £182, Harrods
If you take your skincare seriously, you’ve no doubt heard of Valmont: a Swiss anti-ageing brand who are known for their high-performing, science-based skin products. Their solution booster is no exception; using high concentrations of potent ingredients such as caffeine and forskolin (a natural plant compound thought to help with weight loss).
Our tester found it worked incredibly quickly: noting the serum-like consistency felt rich and nourishing, glided on and absorbed in moments and worked wonders on her areas of cellulite. The delightful apricot-like scent filled the room and the intensive moisturising properties of this one is another huge plus point.
Kit and Kin stretch mark oil: £9.99, Ocado
Co-founded by Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Kit and Kin offer a range of natural products for both babies and mums alike. Their stretch mark oil, which won bronze in this years Mother & Baby awards, offers fantastic credentials for under £10: its dermatologist approved, certified by the Soil Association and contains a blend of 15 natural oils (such as apricot kernel oil, lavender oil and mandarin oil).
The non-sticky formula applies smoothly without feeling remotely sticky and our tester was a big fan of the natural scent. It does a great job of keeping skin feeling smooth, itch-free and improving the appearance of milder skin blemishes and marks.
Beauty Bio the sculptor: £60, Current Body
Science-based skincare brand Beauty Bio make big claims on their skin firming body creams, but does this it live up to the label (and the price tag?). The answer is a resounding yes. The sculptor promises to tackle stubborn thigh areas and dimpling through ingredients such as sea algae and arginine and it does deliver. Our tester noticed with consistent use skin was firmer, cellulite on the thighs was much improved and stretch marks faded quickly.
The cream is thick but easy to spread and apply. The only downside is you’ll need to keep using it consistently to continue the effects, our tester noticed a change in their skin in the days they forgot to apply it. A testament to how quickly this cream works wonders but a reminder that you might just need to keep stocking up should you want the impact to be long-lasting.
Palmer’s stretch mark cream: £4.75, Superdrug
A non-greasy, soothing lotion with quick absorption and a great price tag – making it the ideal product to use multiple times a day. It’s paraben-free and suitable for pregnancy and, despite being under a fiver, this one did manage to make a difference to our tester’s stretch marks too. Whilst it didn’t banish their appearance altogether, our tester was impressed with how less raggedy her stretch marks felt on the surface after using this for a few weeks. It might not match the strength and pampering factor of some of the pricier products on our list but it’s still a great all-rounder.
Balmonds rosehip scar oil: £18.99, Balmonds
Balmonds originally grew out of the owner’s desire to find suitable products for her daughter's chronic eczema; making this range ideal for anyone who suffers from extremely sensitive skin, eczema or psoriasis. Their scar oil uses cold-pressed rosehip; a great source of omega fatty acids and vitamins A and C.
Our tester, who was in her fifties, found the oil extremely nourishing (although a little on the thick side) and reported that it helped reduce both the redness and sensitivity of recent scars and marks. However, it didn’t have an impact on historic stretch marks from pregnancy many years ago. This rosehip oil is a great option for those with sensitive skin who are looking to tackle new stretch marks.
My Expert Midwife fantastic skin elastic: £23.50, My Expert Midwife
Created by midwife Lesley Gilchrist and baby massage specialist Claire Charlton, My Expert Midwife offers a range of products for mums-to-be to use during every stage of their pregnancy. Their fantastic skin elastic is a daily cream for all parts of the body during pregnancy and it promises to help with skin elasticity, prevent stretch marks and help with the appearance of existing ones.
Its lightweight formula glides on beautifully and it can also be used as a massage cream to promote bowel movements during pregnancy. It does a better job of keeping new stretch marks at bay than it does in tackling existing ones but it’s still a great multi-purpose cream that takes you through every trimester.
The verdict: Stretch mark creams and oils
Natural Spa Factory’s baobab oil delivers on price, ingredients and multi-functionality, making it our top pick. If you’re looking to splash out, Beauty Bio’s the sculptor delivers impressive results and is worth the investment. Finally, those on a budget should opt for Lloyd Pharmacy’s no-frills body care oil that still manages to do a great job.
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