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Stretch marks are a common side effect of rapid weight gain or loss, and many people develop them when pregnant. Several creams may help moisturize the skin and minimize stretch mark appearance.

Stretch marks, which doctors call striae distensae, appear due to the skin stretching rapidly, such as through sudden weight gain or loss. When a person becomes pregnant, the skin around their abdomen stretches to accommodate the growing baby. This causes the skin’s support structure to break down and form a scar.

Learn more about how the skin changes throughout pregnancy.

Other factors can increase the risk of more visible stretch marks, such as family history, hormones, and stress.

There are several stretch mark creams available for use during or after pregnancy to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. However, evidence on the effectiveness of these treatments is inconclusive.

Hyaluronic acid, silicone, ascorbic acid, cocoa butter, and some forms of oil, such as almond and coconut, may help increase collagen production. However, people need to use these therapies for a long time and may only notice moderate results.

Learn more about how to boost collagen production.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) states that stretch marks, like other scars, do not go away completely. However, they may become less noticeable with time, and treating them with topical applications when they first appear may make them less visible.

People who are pregnant can consult a healthcare professional before using stretch mark creams, as some ingredients can cause harm to the fetus both before and after birth.

For example, retinol, a common ingredient in skin repair products, can cause birth abnormalities, such as growth delay before birth, atypical face and skull shapes, and issues with the central nervous system or the heart.

If a person is pregnant or nursing, they also need to avoid products containing hydroquinone. This is a common ingredient in skin-lightening products, which some may use to try to reduce the appearance of reddish stretch marks.

The body absorbs 35–45% of hydroquinone, so healthcare professionals recommend people who are pregnant or nursing avoid using products containing this ingredient.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best hydrating: Mutha Body Butter

  • Price: $45
  • Size: 50 milliliters (mL)
  • Type: cream
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, mango seed butter, cocoa seed butter
  • Customer rating: no reviews available

This cream contains shea, cocoa, and mango seed butter, alongside vitamins A and E, which may help hydrate, nourish, and repair your skin. According to the company, this product should not leave your skin greasy, as it is highly absorbable.

This cream may help improve skin tone and discoloration. While Mutha recommends applying this product twice a day, if you are pregnant, the company suggests applying it every time you visit the bathroom to build a habit of hydrating the skin.


  • does not contain retinol
  • may reportedly improve the discoloration of stretch marks within 4 weeks
  • dermatology and allergy-tested
  • not tested on animals


  • more expensive than some other products
  • while it is reportedly allergy-tested, people may still be allergic to some ingredients
  • not suitable for vegans as it contains beeswax
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Best for every skin type: Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Vanishing Cream

  • Price: around $17.99
  • Size: 120 mL
  • Type: cream
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, jojoba oil, green tea, and green bean seed extract
  • Customer rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars from over 3,900 reviews

This cream is reportedly suitable for dry, oily, and combination prepartum or postpartum skin. It contains shea butter, jojoba oil, green tea, and green bean seed extract, all of which may tighten and moisturize the skin.

This product contains peppermint essential oil, which reportedly gives it a cooling feel. However, if you are sensitive to essential oils, it may be best to choose another product.

Learn more about using essential oils for stretch marks.


  • customers state the cream is thick and nongreasy
  • retinol free and made in the United States
  • Good Manufacturing Practice-certified and not tested on animals


  • company does not provide a full ingredients list
  • some customers report receiving a different formula that is not as effective
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Best fragrance-free: Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

  • Price: around $13
  • Size: 6.5 ounces (oz)
  • Type: butter
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba butter, vitamin E
  • Customer rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 28,700 reviews

Burt’s Bees claims this fragrance-free body butter contains 99% natural ingredients such as cocoa, shea, and jojoba butter. This may be a suitable option if you have sensitive skin, as it is reportedly nonirritating.

The company states that this product does not contain parabens, phthalate, petrolatum, or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). It also does not carry out testing on animals.

Another benefit is that purchasing from this company reduces the environmental impact. This is because Burt’s Bees is carbon-neutral certified and states it practices responsible sourcing, recyclable packaging, and landfill-free operations.


  • a more environmentally-friendly company
  • does not test on animals or contain potentially irritating ingredients
  • according to reviews, it may help prevent deeper stretch marks during pregnancy


  • some ingredients, such as coconut oil, may cause an allergic reaction
  • some customers state it has a strong smell
  • some people say that it feels greasy
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Best organic: Glow Organics Belly Butter

  • Price: around $27
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Type: butter
  • Key ingredients: organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, organic macadamia nut, organic grapeseed oil, organic sweet almond oil
  • Customer rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars from over 2,300 reviews

This body butter only contains five organic ingredients, which may make it a suitable choice if you prefer to use products with minimal ingredients. The oils and butters may help relieve any itchiness and discomfort from stretching skin.

This product is also free from parabens, sulfates, dyes, and artificial fragrances. Glow Organics also states that this body butter is gluten-free, cruelty-free, and that it makes the product in the United States.


  • USDA-certified organic
  • cruelty-free
  • has a short ingredients list


  • unsuitable for people with a nut allergy
  • some customers state that it has a strong scent
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Best oil-based: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

  • Price: around $24
  • Size: 125 mL
  • Type: oil
  • Key ingredients: vitamin E, vitamin A, essential oils, PurCellin oil
  • Customer rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 57,00 reviews

This product contains vitamins E and A as well as chamomile, rosemary, and lavender essential oils that may help calm, soothe, and hydrate your skin.

According to Bio-Oil, the PurCellin oil makes this product absorb faster and is easy to apply. This body oil may be a good option if you are worried about clogged pores, as it is reportedly noncomedogenic.

People who are looking for a multi-use oil may also prefer to purchase this product. As well as helping improve the appearance of stretch marks, it may also help with scars, age spots, uneven skin tone, and even moisturize cuticles.


  • vegan and cruelty-free
  • does not contain parabens, preservatives, steroids, isopropyl alcohol, phthalates, and phytoestrogen
  • customers state that the amount of product for the price is good value


  • some customers say that the oil has a strong and unpleasant scent
  • some customers report they received a bad batch
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Best with peptides: Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Cream

  • Price: around $23
  • Size: 150 mL
  • Type: cream
  • Key ingredients: avocado peptides, maracuja polyphenols, hamamelis plant extract, beeswax, shea butter
  • Customer rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars from over 1,800 reviews

According to Mustela, this unscented, alcohol-free, and caffeine-free cream is gentle on the skin. It is free from parabens, phthalates, SLS, and phenoxyethanol.

The peptides in this cream may make your skin feel more comfortable, and its ingredients reportedly promote collagen production and skin elasticity. As a bonus, this cream is also reportedly safe for use while nursing.



  • some customers state that the cream caused itches and rashes
  • some people say that it does not moisturize the skin as much as other products
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Best for morning sickness: Earth Mama Belly Butter

  • Price: $21.99
  • Size: 240 mL
  • Type: butter
  • Key ingredients: aloe juice, olive oil, shea butter, oat protein, jojoba oil
  • Customer rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars from 225 reviews

According to Earth Mama, this body butter will not aggravate morning sickness as it has a light scent. The herbs and oils in this product may help moisturize your skin, increasing elasticity and helping prevent stretch marks.

The company also states that this body butter is rich but nongreasy. It contains organic ingredients and is suitable for vegans.



  • some customers say it dries too quickly
  • others say that it does not soak in very well
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Best for a budget: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

  • Price: around $10
  • Size: 250 mL
  • Type: lotion
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin E, collagen, elastin, and lutein
  • Customer rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 43,00 reviews

This product contains collagen, elastin, and lutein, which may help improve your skin elasticity and tone. Palmer’s states that this lotion can hydrate the skin for up to 48 hours.

The lotion is reportedly hypoallergenic and does not contain fragrance, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil. However, you may wish to read the ingredients list before purchasing to ensure it does not contain any allergens.


  • low price
  • reportedly highly moisturizing
  • does not have a sticky texture


  • some customers say it is slow to absorb and leaves residue
  • contains coconut oil, making it unsuitable for people with a coconut allergy
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Best balm: Munchkin Milkmakers All-Natural Belly Balm

  • Price: around $15
  • Size: 1 stick
  • Type: roll-on
  • Key ingredients: coconut oil, rose hip oil, and shea butter
  • Customer rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars from 400 reviews

This roll-on balm may be easier to apply, especially when you are on the go and wish to travel lighter. The balm is easy to apply with one hand, and the roll-on nature may make it simpler to apply as you are nearing the end of your pregnancy.

Munchkin says this balm only contains natural ingredients, such as coconut oil and shea butter. It is cruelty-free and does not contain any petroleum or additional fragrance.


  • easy to apply
  • has a light scent that pregnant people may be able to tolerate better


  • does not rub in entirely, according to customer reviews
  • may have a greasy texture
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Best weightless oil: Pipette Belly Oil

  • Price: around $20
  • Size: 118 mL
  • Type: oil
  • Key ingredients: squalane, vitamin E, calendula, winter cherry
  • Customer rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 290 reviews

This oil contains squalane, a plant-based ingredient that reportedly provides intense hydration with a weightless feel. Alongside calendula and winter cherry, this oil may help alleviate any itching and sensitive areas as your skin stretches.

This product is lightweight and absorbs quickly. Additionally, Pipette states it is hypoallergenic, although you should always check the ingredients list before purchasing.


  • EWG-verified
  • cruelty-free and vegan
  • a suitable option for lightweight hydration


  • some customers report the oil stained their clothing
  • reportedly has a strong smell
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Best for sun protection: Derma E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35

  • Price: around $21
  • Size: 1.5 oz
  • Type: cream
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, panthenol, allantoin
  • Customer rating: 5 out of 5 stars from 8 reviews

If you are in a hotter climate or wish to use a cream all over your body instead of only your stomach, this product may be a suitable option. As well as panthenol and allantoin to help soothe redder and rawer stretch marks, this cream offers SPF 35, helping protect your skin against sun damage.

Learn more about sunscreen for sensitive skin.

As an added bonus, this scar sunscreen is vegan and does not contain lanolin, gluten, soy, parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, or GMOs.


  • provides sun protection, unlike other products on this list
  • vegan and cruelty-free


  • ingredients may help newer stretch marks but may not be beneficial for older ones
  • smaller bottle size
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The following table compares the stretch mark creams in this article on price, ingredients, and more.

PriceSizeTypeKey ingredientsCustomer rating
Mutha$4550 mLcream• shea butter
• mango seed butter
• cocoa seed butter
no reviews
Mommy Knows Bestaround $18120 mLcream• shea butter
• jojoba oil
• green tea
• green bean seed
3.8 out of 5 stars
Burt’s Beesaround $136.5 ozbutter• shea butter
• cocoa butter
• jojoba butter
• vitamin E
4.6 out of 5 stars
Glow Organicsaround $274 ozbutter• organic shea butter
• organic cocoa butter
• organic macadamia
• organic grapeseed oil
• organic almond oil
4.4 out of 5 stars
Bio-Oilaround $24123 mLoil• vitamin E
• vitamin A
• chamomile oil
• rosemary oil
• lavender oil
• PurCellin oil
4.6 out of 5 stars
Mustelaaround $23150 mLcream• avocado peptides
• maracuja polyphenols
• hamamelis plant extract
• beeswax
• shea butter
4.4 out of 5 stars
Earth Mama$21.99240 mLbutter• aloe juice
• olive oil
• shea butter
• oat protein
• jojoba oil
4.8 out of 5 stars
Palmer’saround $10250 mLlotion• shea butter
• cocoa butter
• vitamin E
• collagen
• elastin
• lutein
4.6 out of 5 stars
Munchkin Milkmakersaround $151 stickroll-on• coconut oil
• rosehip oil
• shea butter
4.4 out of 5 stars
Pipettearound $20118 mLoil• squalane
• vitamin E
• calendula
• winter cherry
4.5 out of 5 stars
Derma Earound $211.5 ozcream• zinc oxide
• panthenol
• allantoin
5 out of 5 stars

Medical News Today chooses stretch mark creams for pregnancy based on the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT will only choose products that are safe to use while pregnant and nursing.
  • Lifestyle and diet suitability: MNT will choose a range of products suitable for most lifestyles and diets, such as people who are eco-conscious, vegan, or gluten-free.
  • Fragrance: MNT chooses products that have a fragrance and those that do not to suit people more sensitive to scents.
  • Formulation: MNT chooses products that are oils, creams, and butters to suit people’s preferences.
  • Price: MNT chooses products in a range of prices to suit most budgets.
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While stretch mark creams can hydrate the skin and relieve any itchiness or discomfort, there is not enough evidence to suggest they treat current stretch marks or prevent new ones.

It is always important to read ingredient lists before committing to a purchase. Most common ingredients include shea butter, vitamin E, and oils, which are not harmful to a fetus. However, manufacturers do make some creams that they do not market specifically for pregnancy that may contain harmful ingredients, such as retinol.

It is also important to avoid any products that contain ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. For example, a person who has a tree nut or coconut allergy needs to avoid products that use coconut oil.

People may also wish to consider the scent of the cream. Anecdotally, those who are pregnant may have a higher sensitivity to smell. An unscented cream may be more tolerable throughout pregnancy.

Many unpreventable factors contribute to the development of stretch marks, such as a family history of this condition and hormones.

However, there is some evidence that hydration and consumption of fruit and vegetables may help prevent stretch marks. A 2018 study of 288 pregnant found women that a higher intake of water, fruits, and vegetables led to fewer stretch marks over the course of pregnancy.

Learn more about preventing stretch marks.

Here we answer some common questions about these products.

When should I start treating stretch marks during pregnancy?

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends starting treatment for stretch marks as soon as they appear.

Do stretch mark creams work on old stretch marks?

Stretch mark creams appear to work best on newer stretch marks, according to anecdotal reviews.

Is coconut oil suitable for pregnancy stretch marks?

Coconut oil hydrates the skin, which may help ease discomfort and improve skin elasticity.

Stretch marks are visible scars due to the skin stretching quickly. While these marks fade over time, stretch mark creams may help prevent further scarring as they hydrate the skin and may help elasticity.

However, pregnant people need to consult with a healthcare professional before using stretch mark creams, especially ones that manufacturers do not market for use during pregnancy. Some ingredients can cause birth abnormalities.