For many women, stretch marks are part and parcel of being pregnant. As your body gets ready for the new arrival, stretch marks can appear all over your body, from your bump to your boobs and beyond. Take a look at our helpful guide on what causes stretch marks and how to prevent them.
Removing stretch marks can be difficult as they’re basically scar tissue, but using a good stretch mark cream during pregnancy could help prevent too many from appearing.
Is it safe to use stretch mark creams during pregnancy?
If you can buy it off the shelf, yes. Although stretch marks are a unisex problem and can occur due to sudden growth spurts or fluctuating weight, most manufacturers are thinking of pregnant women when they create these creams.
If you have any doubts whatsoever, consult a pharmacist.
Do stretch mark creams work?
It’s a cautious ‘yes’ on this one. Reports are mixed but it’s said that massaging the stretched area with cream has a localised affect as it stimulates blood flow and helps the skin repair itself.
There’s no doubt that massaging your bump is a good way of connecting with your baby. And continuing to massage your skin after pregnancy is a little act of self-care, and that can only be a good thing.
What are the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy?
These are our top picks:
This lotion absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the skin like some others on the market. Our panel of mum testers all thought this helped fade and prevent stretch marks. It was shortlisted for the Best New Mum / Maternity Skincare Product in the Mother&Baby Awards 2018.
Any downsides? There were mixed feelings about the aloe vera scent.
Aveeno uses natural colloidal oatmeal proven to intensely nourish dry skin. Widely used for eczema, it's also brilliant for preventing and fading stretch marks, and keeping skin feeling calm and comfortable.
Any downsides? It feels more practical than pampering.
Best stretch mark cream under £10: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks , RRP £8.63, Amazon
A well recognised product, it smells delicious and leaves skin feeling moisturised. It’s quite thick and heavy but is easily absorbed although it does leave skin feeling slightly greasy. It was shortlisted for Best New Mum / Maternity Skincare Product in the Mother&Baby Awards in 2017 and for Best Maternity Product in 2014.
Any downsides? You might struggle to find time for the three applications it suggests on the packaging.
This romped home with bronze for the Best Pregnancy / Maternity Product in the Mother&Baby Awards 2018. It helps to prevent the appearance of stretch marks and boosts the natural elasticity of skin
Any downsides? Some of our mum testers would have preferred it in a tube.
OK, it’s not quite unscented but it’s certainly a lot lighter than some of the heady products on the market. In 2017 it was shortlisted for Best New Mum / Maternity Skincare Product in the Mother&Baby Awards, and in 2015 for Best Maternity Product.
Any downsides? It’s a little lacking in luxury.
This is deeply moisturising and leaves your skin at its softest. Not only does it feel and smell divine, our panel of mum testers reported that it kept stretch marks away during pregnancy. It was shortlisted for Best Pregnancy / Maternity Product in the Mother&Baby Awards 2018.
Any downsides? The balm does take a while to absorb.
Best stretch mark cream for after pregnancy: Cussons Mum & Me New Mum Stretch Mark Fader, RRP £15.95, Amazon
This is an effective, innovative product. The roll-on applicator is brilliant – it’s not messy or greasy and ensures that nothing is wasted. It smells amazing and leaves the skin feeling moisturised, absorbing quickly and easily.
It was shortlisted for Best New Mum / Maternity Skincare Product in the Mother&Baby Awards in 2017 and 2014.
Any downsides? It’s not cheap.
Katie Piper told Mother&Baby online: “I used it not just on the bump, but boobs, thighs, hips and bum, and it worked really well. After Belle was born, I applied the cream to my C-section scar and by the time the baby was two months old I noticed a huge difference.”
Any downsides? It comes in a small stick, so it’ll need replacing often.