Stretch marks are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. “Tiger stripes” are super normal, so you’re not alone if you have them. It’s estimated that up to 90% of people have stretch marks. The good news is that the best stretch mark creams can help keep your skin smooth and hydrated, fading their appearance. The problem is that the market is very saturated, making it harder to figure out which product is the best for you.
Stretch marks have typically been associated with weight gain, but that’s not always true. They can appear with any rapid skin changes initiated by pregnancy, weight training, or even growth spurts during puberty. They can be red or brown, and even itchy in the initial stages.
A recent survey has reveals that over half of women feel the need to cover up due to skin insecurities. More results showed that 68% try to take preventative skincare measures just so that stretch marks don’t show up. In fact, women spend around $170 a year trying to find products that work for their needs. While no product will resolve all appearance-related self-esteem issues, choosing the right one can help boost confidence and improve overall skin health.
To help you figure out the best stretch mark creams, StudyFinds did the research for you. We’ve visited 10 sites and created our list based on the top recommendations across every source. If you have a favorite not listed here, let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Stretch Mark Creams, According to Experts
1. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion
It’s no wonder Palmer’s takes the top spot. Started in 1840, Palmer’s is one of the longest standing skincare brands in the United States. While they have products for different purposes, their stretch mark cream has been shown to fade even 20-year old marks. “Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lotion is the gold-standard for stretch mark solutions—for good reason. A powerhouse of simple-yet-effective ingredients—including argan oil, shea butter, and, of course, cocoa butter (the latter is packed with vitamin E)—help hydrate skin without leave a greasy cast,” Harper’s Bazaar writes.
“It’s super affordable, packed with effective ingredients and is dermatologist approved. As well as being non-greasy, it’s also free of mineral oil and parabens,” says Glamour.
“The Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks is our top pick because it provides a soothing, hydrating experience,” writes Very Well Family. “Our tester appreciated that the cream is simple to apply and goes onto the skin smoothly. They also reported that it was easy to rub in, even though it looks thick when you squeeze it out of the tube.”
2. Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
Although not a cream, this oil is perfect if you’re looking for a product that promotes an even skin tone and gives you fast results. “Apply Bio-Oil daily to minimize stretch marks and scars — even if you’ve had the blemishes for a few years. In one clinical study, more than half of testers saw changes to scars after two weeks,” Good Housekeeping writes.
If you’re pregnant, you might want to give this a try. “Two of our testers used Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil during their pregnancies and had no stretch marks, so that’s enough reason to run out and buy copious amounts of this product when you find out you’re expecting,” People writes.
“This product can be applied to your legs to minimize stretch marks, even if you’ve had them for a few years. The oil is packed with powerhouse ingredients like natural oils and vitamin A to hydrate skin, improve its appearance, and even out your skin tone,” says Elle.
3. Differin Adapalene Gel
This product stands out as the only over-the-counter retinoid. “The best at-home product to reduce the appearance and texture of your stretch marks at home is a retinoid. Why? Because retinoids speed up cellular turnover and trigger collagen and elastin production, which can help smooth skin texture and fade pigmentation within a few months. Your dermatologist can prescribe high-strength tretinoin (which works faster but with more irritation), or you can go with adapalene, a gentler over-the-counter retinoid that’s equally effective,” writes Cosmopolitan.
“As the only over-the-counter retinoid, this cream is a great—and potent option—for treating stretch marks,” says Hartman, a dermatologist reviewer at Oprah Daily. “It remodels collagen and speeds cell turnover to improve both the texture and tone of the skin.” This product is not safe to use during pregnancy.
“Research shows that the application of topical retinoids, an ingredient that encourages cell turnover and collagen production, can effectively fade and reverse the appearance of stretch marks over time,” writes Prevention.
4. Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Stretch Mark Cream
This is a professional-grade cream that people rave about for its ability to really smooth out their striped areas. “When you can’t make to a dermatologist for expensive stretch mark treatments, this professional-grade cream is the next best thing. The lactic acid in it gently exfoliates to target the length, density and width of stretch marks and even out skin tone overall. It’s also packed with ceramides, avocado oil and shea and cocoa butters to moisturize the skin, which can help with elasticity and prevent future stretch marks from forming,” Forbes writes.
The packaging is also mess-free, with easy dispensing and application. “Using a couple of patented blends and a 5% lactic acid complex, this unique formula aims to reduce and prevent stretch marks by gently exfoliating and firming the skin. Its pregnancy-safe claims are unclear, so if you plan on purchasing this one and are expecting, have a chat with your doctor first,” recommends Prevention.
“This expert-level body cream will help visibly reduce the width, length, and density of marks on the skin. It’s made with shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado oil, and ceramide NP, which all work to diminish the appearance of uneven tone and texture while moisturizing skin,” explains Elle.
5. Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
If you’re looking for a thick, hydrating cream designed for pregnancy, look no further.”Designed specifically with expecting mothers in mind, this body butter is a game-changer when it comes to stretch marks during pregnancy,” Good Housekeeping writes.
“Despite the name, this butter is packed with shea butter and sweet almond oil, making it perfect for anyone who wants to add hydration while addressing stretch marks,” Forbes adds.
If you’re hesitant about it leaving you with an oily feel afterward, don’t worry! “Despite the thickness of the cream — there’s a reason it’s called butter — it didn’t feel oily at all. In fact, it pretty much disappears into dry skin as soon as you rub it in,” People writes.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Anti-Wrinkle Creams
- Best Face Serum
- Best Body Lotions
- Best Skin Tightening Cream
- Best Wrinkle Patches
- Good Housekeeping
- Harper’s Bazaar
- Oprah Daily
- Glamour Magazine UK
- VeryWell Family
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.