WHAT ARE STRETCH MARKS?
Stretch marks are formed when the skin is overstretched and the collagen production is disrupted either by rapid weight loss or weight gain. During pregnancy, skin stretches extensively and that’s when you notice a lot of stretch marks. Stretch marks do not have any adverse effect on health, just that people feel embarrassed because of cosmetic reasons. If stretch marks are always on your mind, stretch mark creams can come in handy. With regular usage, some great stretch mark creams can fade stretch marks to an extent that they are barely visible.
WHY DO WE GET STRETCH MARKS?
In the US, almost all pregnant women, 70% of teenaged (adolescent) women, and 40% of adolescent men have stretch marks. Stretch marks appear when the skin gets stretched because of weight loss or weight gain. And a lot of time stretch marks can occur because your body is going through puberty and also when there are physical or hormonal changes. Pregnancy is another major reason why women get stretch marks. continuous tugging and stretching of the skin disrupts the collagen production in that area and that leads to stretch marks. And a lot of time if you have a family history of stretch marks, you would most likely get too. Since stretch marks are a result of collagen damage, products that you should be looking for should help you with rebuilding damaged collagen area on the skin.
IS THERE A WAY TO PREVENT STRETCH MARKS?
You can only do your best to an extent to prevent stretch marks. Keep yourself hydrated, use stretch marks prevention creams and use them quite often. Usually, most women develop stretch marks on their breasts, hips and thighs. In men, you would often find stretch marks, on their shoulders, especially men who are into bodybuilding. Stretch marks appear as red lines (striae rubra) and with time, they turn to silver-y white stripes and are not as prominent as when they appear fresh.
HOW TO GET RID OF STRETCH MARKS?
Laser is one of the most effective ways to get rid of stretch marks. However, if your stretch marks are very old, even laser would not act as a magic wand and make them disappear. If you don’t want to go the expensive laser treatment path, there are some good stretch mark creams available in the market that you can use to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. They would not disappear completely but would turn into light silvery shade that would not be visible too much.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN GOOD STRETCH MARK CREAMS?
Most stretch mark creams should have a base of rich butters such as shea butter, cocoa butter. They help in keeping skin hydrated and, help with elasticity of the skin. Most stretch creams would also have Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Vitamin A is one of the powerful anti ageing ingredients. It helps in smoothing the wrinkles and helps with renewal and repair of the skin. Vitamin E helps in promoting skin elasticity. If you are pregnant, always check if the oil / cream you are using for stretch marks is safe to use during pregnancy or not. If you are using a stretch marks oil, look for ingredients such as coconut oil, evening primrose oil and rosehip seed oil. They all help in keeping skin nourished and moisturised.
BEST STRETCH MARK CREAMS
1. AFRICAN BOTANICS MARULA STRETCHMARK BOTANICAL BODY OIL
African Botanics Marula Stretchmark Botanical Body Oil is an all-natural blend of powerful nourishing oils such as marula oil, avocado oil, apricot kernal oil, neroli essential oil, rosehip seed oil and jojoba oil. They help in production of collagen that helps skin during stress. The main ingredient in this product, marula oil, is known to increase skin’s elasticity and help reduce skin tearing. This oil was discovered by a South African couple Craig and Julia Noik. The couple came across Marula during their travels in South Africa. Julia got pregnant and started using the oil. She was amazed how quickly the oil repaired her post-pregnancy skin. The oil is all natural and that’s what makes it safe to use both during and post pregnancy.
2. SHIFFA HEALING BALM
Shiffa is one of the strongest healing balms out there. It has a powerful blend of fifteen healing plants – shea butter, jojoba oil, avocado oil, cacao seed butter, lavender oil, Evening Primrose oil, mango seed butter and much more. This product also includes St john’s wort which is a strong ingredient to calm irritated skin. So this healing balm not only heals stretch marks, it even takes care of dry irritated skin, eczema, sunburn, psoriasis, sunburn and rosacea. It’s an award winning balm. It is all natural and organic and can be used during pregnancy. Can be used on face, neck, under eyes, and body.
3. CLARINS STRETCH MARK MINIMIZER
It is one of the most popular products when it comes to reducing the appearance of stretch marks. It’s kind of an “oldie but goldie” kind of a product. This cream has been around for a few years and has a lot of success stories to boast about. It is safe to use during pregnancy and afterwards. If we go by their research, after 4 weeks of usage, 96% women reported more supple skin. It is also unscented.
4. TriLASTIN-SR MAXIMUM STRENGTH STRETCH MARK CREAM
TriLASTIN-SR claims to give visible results in 3 weeks for the old, new silver or red stretch marks. This cream is paraben-free, hypoallergenic, unscented, non-greasy, and non-staining. This stretch cream includes some powerful ingredients such as Zea Mays Kernel Extract ( stimulates the production of fibronectin, a key component in the cellular process of tissue repair), a powerful multi vitamin complex, vitamin E, collagen and many such active ingredients. The “before and after” photos of this cream speaks for itself and is favourite among women who are trying to deal with stretch marks induced by pregnancy.
A good ol’ favourite. Celebs such as Kardashians swear by it for using it during their pregnancies. Basically every pregnant woman you might have come across would have given Bio oil a try for sure. It is non sticky, light weight, has gone through a lot of clinical studies that proves that Bio oil helps in reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Bio Oil includes a mix of Calendula Oil, Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil, Chamomile Oil), vitamin A and Vitamin E.
6. BODY MERRY STRETCH MARKS & SCARS DEFENSE CREAM
It is a water-based cream that includes organic aloe, shea butter, castor seed oil, sunflower oil, Vitamin B5, Vitamin e and a whole lot of good stuff. It’s a great body butter for dry skin. They claim that you have to use it consistently for 6-8 weeks to see the results. You can use it along with their Stretch Marks and scar oil or on its own. This cream is also free from parabens, sulphates or phthalates. Can be used during pregnancy, to reduce the scars (old or new) and also for both preventing and reducing the appearance of stretch marks. This cream is also cruelty free. So that gets a big thumbs up from us.
7. MAMA MIO THE TUMMY RUB BUTTER
If there is any cream that every mama or mama-to-be loves, it is this one. You know when four mothers create a brand that’s totally dedicated to pregnancy, they mean business. It is so specific that you have to apply it from bust to bum and continue using it 4 months after baby arrives. The key ingredients are organic coconut oil, organic avocado oil and organic shea butter – all super ingredients to help with skin elasticity and hydration. It’s the favourite bump product if we can put it that way. There are no nasties. Their products are free from parabens, petrolatum, colourants, xenoestrogens, PEGs and phthalates.
8. MUSTELA STRETCH MARKS PREVENTION CREAM
Trust Mustela to create brilliant products for both baby and mama. It is compatible with breastfeeding. So you can use it not only during your pregnancy but also post pregnancy. This cream is available in both fragrance free and lightly fragranced versions. This cream is free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, and alcohol. It consists of plant-based ingredients such as shea butter, avocado peptides and Galactoarabinan that help in boosting the collagen and elasticity of the skin.
9. PAI SKINCARE POMEGRANATE & PUMPKIN SEED STRETCH MARK SYSTEM
It is a two-step system of using cream and oil. You have to apply the cream in morning and oil in the evening. The two main ingredients pomegranate seed oil contains an acid called Punicic Acid, which is an omega 5 acid and helps in reducing skin inflammation and aids in skin repair. The other ingredient, pumpkin seed oil is rich in Vitamin E and mega 3- and 6- fatty acids helps in retaining moisture in skin. The Vitamin E content is super high in pumpkin seed and that helps with elasticity of the skin. It is also a vegan and cruelty free product so a big yay.