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Best Stretch Mark Creams for Pregnancy to Keep Skin Smooth

Stretch Mark Creams for Pregnancy
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Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Updated March 10, 2024

Pregnancy can be an anxiety-ridden period, full of first-time questions, so I’ve scoured the internet to find the top 12 stretch mark creams for you. Every pregnancy is different, so the recommendations listed here are based on formulation, brand recognition, efficacy, and verified online reviews. Whether you’re looking for an unscented stretch mark cream, luxurious belly butter, peptide-induced serum or a budget stretch mark lotion, here is the tea on the top brands to try. Read on for the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy.

What to consider when buying stretch mark creams for pregnancy

Risks and cautions

“During pregnancy, it's advisable for women to be cautious about the skincare products they use, as certain ingredients may pose potential risks to the developing fetus,” states Dr. Andrew Ordon, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. “Retinoids, including prescription forms like Retin-A and over-the-counter retinol, should be used sparingly due to concerns about high doses of vitamin A contributing to birth defects. Skincare products containing hydroquinone, a skin-lightening agent, and certain preservatives like formaldehyde and parabens should be approached with caution, and pregnant women may opt for products labeled as pregnancy-safe." Always consult your healthcare provider before trying a new product, and perform patch tests on your skin to see if you have any sensitivities.

Efficacy

Look at reviews that tell you how the cream works, but be cognizant of who the people are. You want reviews from people who have skin similar to yours.

Ingredients

Of course, avoid any known allergens that might affect you, and doctors say some should be mindful of retinoids during pregnancy.

Brand integrity

As many consider this the most sensitive time for any topical application, I chose brands with solid backgrounds that are easily purchased.

Application

Check how often you have to use the product and how to apply. Some products also require unique storage capabilities, like refrigeration.

Reviews

I looked for reviews by pregnant women in their first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester (and even beyond!), as well as feedback from obstetricians, gynecologists, and dermatologists.

Price point and product size

The value will vary based on product size and price.

Pregnant women should always consult their doctor before using stretch mark creams or other skin products. Some ingredients can have adverse effects on the fetus both before and after birth.

Our top stretch mark creams for pregnancy picks

Best budget stretch mark cream for pregnancy: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Cream

Best budget stretch mark cream for pregnancy
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Cream for Stretch Marks

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Cream for Stretch Marks

This moisturizing lotion has been the gold standard forever for many reasons. It’s free from mineral oil, parabens, and phthalates, and is designed to prevent and treat stretch marks. Palmer’s has been known as one of the best scar creams for years, and pregnant mamas have passed the rec down for decades. Even better, you can get it at a budget price at pretty much any online retailer.

Specifications:

  • Size: 4.4 Ounces
  • Key ingredients: Cocoa and shea butters
  • Type: Cream
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $7.79

The bottom line:

If it was good enough for grandma and your mom, it’s good enough for you!

Get it here: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Cream


Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy for sensitive skin: Earth Mama Belly Butter

Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy for sensitive skin
Earth Mama Belly Butter

Earth Mama Belly Butter

Earth Mama's Belly Butter has a rich formula made with organic herbs and oil. This creamy, luxurious, lightweight stretch mark cream absorbs quickly, leaving skin soft, smooth, and hydrated. Delicately scented and cruelty-free, this belly butter is excellent for sensitive skin and those with sensitive noses—it won't make your morning sickness worse. With no petroleum, mineral oil, parabens or artificial fragrances, this stretch mark cream is certified to NSF/ANSI 305 and Leaping Bunny standards.

Specifications:

  • Size: 8 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Olive fruit oil, sunflower seed oil, raspberry seed oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter
  • Type: Butter
  • Returns: Free 90-day returns
  • Shipping: Free 2-day shipping
  • Price on publish: $16.36

The bottom line:

A rich, creamy butter that works well for a growing belly and also moisturizes hands, legs, and feet.

Get it here: Earth Mama Belly Butter


Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy for supple skin: Bushbalm Curve Cream

Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy for supple skin
Bushbalm Curve Cream

Bushbalm Curve Cream

Bushbalm’s ultra-firming body lotion, Curve Cream, is designed to improve the texture of your skin, making it noticeably smoother and softer. It helps improve your elasticity, stretch marks, and dry skin with natural ingredients like Arabica coffee beans and Brazil nut oil. The creamy texture ensures easy application and quick absorption without a greasy feel, making it perfect for your growing curves.

Specifications:

  • Size: 3.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Arabica coffee beans and Brazil nut oil
  • Type: Cream
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: 14.25

The bottom line:

This ultra-firming lotion has a light grapefruit scent and thousands of rave reviews.

Get it here: Bushbalm Curve Cream


Best fragrance-free stretch mark cream for pregnancy: Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

Best fragrance-free stretch mark cream for pregnancy
Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

This unscented stretch mark cream from Burt's Bees is perfect for moisturizing your skin during and after pregnancy, and it’s easy to grab at any drugstore. The 99% natural formula is free of phthalates, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Reviewers mention its creamy consistency, and we love that it’s easily absorbed into the skin.

Specifications:

  • Size: 6.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, glycerin
  • Type: Butter
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $12.99

The bottom line:

This mostly-natural stretch mark cream is great for those with smell sensitivities.

Get it here: Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter


Best scented stretch mark cream for pregnancy: The Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks

Best scented stretch mark cream for pregnancy
Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks ~ Safe for Pregnancy - 4 oz.

Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks ~ Safe for Pregnancy - 4 oz.

Buyers trust The Spoiled Mama tummy butter because it penetrates the deepest layers of your skin, creating a protective shield that locks in moisture to help fade scars and stretch marks and prevent new stretch marks from forming. Shoppers love the luxurious orange chocolate scent, but also that this stretch mark cream soothes itchy and stressed skin.

Specifications:

  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Aloe vera, avocado oil, rosehip fruit oil, meadowfoam seed oil
  • Type: Butter
  • Returns: Free 90-day returns
  • Shipping: Free 2-day shipping
  • Price on publish: $49

The bottom line:

A deliciously citrus-scented belly butter that helps prevent stretch marks and C-section scars.

Get it here: The Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks


Best oil-based stretch mark cream for pregnancy: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

Despite its name, Bio-Oil is non-greasy and has a fresh, floral scent. This is one of the miracle treatments recommended by dermatologists and pregnant women for years to prevent stretch marks and treat existing scars. Ingredients like vitamin E, chamomile extract, rosemary, and lavender reduce inflammation and minimize the appearance of stretch marks. This formula contains a type of retinol (retinyl palmitate) that is considered safe for pregnancy, but you should still wear sunscreen during the day if you decide to use this.

Specifications:

  • Size: 2 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin E, chamomile extract, rosemary, and lavender
  • Type: Oil
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $16.99

The bottom line:

One of the most recommended solutions for stretch marks, scars, and postpartum skin treatment.

Get it here: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil


Best organic stretch mark cream for pregnancy: Glow Organics Belly Butter

Best organic stretch mark cream for pregnancy
Glow Organics Belly Butter

Glow Organics Belly Butter

Not only is this belly butter made from pure, 100% USDA organic ingredients, it's also free of parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances. Give your skin the glow it deserves with macadamia oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, and sweet almond oil, which is said to improve skin elasticity and prevent stretch marks. Shopping tip: While it’s available on Amazon, you can also order it from Bump Boxes, a popular subscription box designed for pregnancy.

Specifications:

  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Organic macadamia oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, and sweet almond oil
  • Type: Cream
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $24.99

The bottom line:

A great 100% organic cream made in the USA.

Get it here: Glow Organics Belly Butter


Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy with peptides: Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Cream

Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy with peptides
Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Cream

Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Cream

This top-rated stretch mark cream is dermatologically tested and free of parabens and phthalates. Mamas love that it’s made with 96% plant-based ingredients like avocado oil, peptides, passion fruit polyphenols, and witch hazel extract. The velvety cream texture is a fan-fave and is designed to improve elasticity, prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, improve the appearance of existing lines, and keep skin smooth and supple.

Specifications:

  • Size: 5.07 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Avocado peptides and maracuja oil
  • Type: Cream
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $21.99

The bottom line:

Peptides help this fast-absorbing cream give your skin the ultimate glow.

Get it here: Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Cream


Best stretch mark balm for pregnancy: Munchkin Milkmakers All-Natural Belly Balm

Best stretch mark balm for pregnancy
Milkmakers® All-Natural Belly Balm, Unscented

Milkmakers® All-Natural Belly Balm, Unscented

Reviewers love this soft, velvety balm from Munchkin Milkmakers for its easy twist-style dispenser and quick absorption. The unscented balm is excellent for those whose skin is sensitive or prone to dryness, eczema, or dermatitis. The stick-style dispenser lets you put it right on stretch marks (or burgeoning stretch marks!) and many people report that they also like to use this balm on their elbows, cuticles, and heels.

Specifications:

  • Size: 2.6 Ounces
  • Key ingredients: Coconut oil, rosehip oil, and shea butter
  • Type: Balm
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $13.96

The bottom line:

A favorite for moms-to-be who want a soft, velvety balm.

Get it here: Munchkin Milkmakers All-Natural Belly Balm


Best stretch mark butter for pregnancy: Pipette Belly Butter

Best stretch mark butter for pregnancy
Pipette Belly Butter

Pipette Belly Butter

This super-hydrating belly butter for expectant mothers has a lot of plant-based ingredients and great hydration capabilities. One Amazon reviewer wrote: “I have used the entire Pipette line on myself this pregnancy and their baby products on my daughter. I love their products for how safe they are for your body and how truly well they work.”

Specifications:

  • Size: 3.8 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Plant-derived squalane, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, tripeptide-5
  • Type: Butter
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $27.39

The bottom line:

A super-hydrating, plant based belly butter to help you combat stretch marks.

Get it here: Pipette Belly Butter


Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy for hydration: Mutha Body Butter

Best stretch mark cream for pregnancy for hydration
Mutha Body Butter

The reviews say it all. One future mama exclaimed: “I’m in love with this body butter! I’m on my fourth tub, and I have a full backup waiting. It’s made without water or fillers and is created with 100% of natural origin ingredients. The whipped shea, cocoa, and mango butters along with vitamins A, E, and essential fatty acids, leave skin silky smooth, soft and supple while minimizing the appearance of stretch marks. It’s full of other skin-loving ingredients and has uplifting, subtle notes of citrus.”

Specifications:

  • Size: 5.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Shea, cocoa, and mango butters, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E
  • Type: Butter
  • Returns: Free returns if unopened
  • Shipping: Free Shipping
  • Price on publish: $95

The bottom line:

A fan favorite body butter for its thick formulation and the right amount of coverage.

Get it here: Mutha Body Butter


Best stretch mark cream for postpartum: Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Vanishing Cream

Best stretch mark cream for postpartum
Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Vanishing Cream

Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Vanishing Cream

This cream is perfect for use after pregnancy because of its thick and soothing formulation, which many say reduces discoloration stretch marks. It contains vitamin E, jojoba oil, and shea butter and has a creamy texture that doesn't feel sticky or greasy.

Specifications:

  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin E, jojoba oil, shea butter
  • Type: Cream
  • Returns: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Shipping: Free with Amazon Prime
  • Price on publish: $14.99

The bottom line:

A highly-rated, thick and creamy formulation that helps soothe dry skin and heal stretch marks in the fourth trimester.

Get it here: Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Vanishing Cream


How we selected the best stretch mark creams for pregnancy

To select the products above, the team narrowed down our search by looking at ingredient lists, doctor recommendations, and expert and online product reviews. I selected the best stretch mark creams for pregnant women based on the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: I looked for stretch mark creams that contain nut butters like cocoa, shea, and jojoba, and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
  • Brand recognition: I look for trusted brands that are industry leaders.
  • Price: I recommend stretch mark creams with great reviews on value.
  • Online reviews: To make sure stretch mark cream is effective and gives you good results, I checked honest customer reviews and featured only the highest-rated and easily-sourced brands.

If you found this article helpful, you may also enjoy our guides to the best pregnancy pillows and the best places to buy maternity clothes.

Do pregnancy stretch mark creams work?

There are many stretch mark creams, body butters, belly butters, and stretch mark serums that promise excellent results. However, there is no clinical evidence that stretch marks can be prevented entirely but, instead, are determined by genetics. Hydrating the skin certainly helps push against genetics, and there is no harm in keeping your skin supple and moist.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

When should you start using stretch mark cream in pregnancy?

In general, it’s recommended to start using stretch mark creams early in pregnancy, ideally in the first trimester (or even while you’re trying to get pregnant). Late is better than never on this front, but starting skin care early will help keep your skin moist and firm as your belly grows.

How does a stretch mark cream vary from other lotions?

You wouldn’t ask your gyno for the best eye creams, so don’t ask the lady from spin class who’s never had kids for stretch mark cream recs. Ensure that you’re choosing pregnancy-safe products that avoid certain ingredients that might harm you or your baby. Instead of lumping in stretch mark creams with the best anti-aging eye creams or cellulite-reducing lotions, I focused specifically on creams made for pregnant people and all three trimesters.

What is the difference between stretch mark oil, cream, butter, and balm?

Creams, balms, and oils have different ratios of water and oil. Many mothers choose a formulation based on how it works for their skin type and lifestyle. Stretch mark cream consists of equal (or near equal) amounts of oil and water. The water content promotes absorption, and the oil content traps moisturizing or healing ingredients on the skin's surface, protecting dry or damaged skin.

Balms contain fatty oils and wax instead of water to maintain a thick formula. While they might protect more, they usually take longer to absorb into the skin. Stretch mark oils or serums take more time to absorb than creams, butters and lotions, but once absorbed, they deeply moisturize and heal the skin. Some reviews mention oils staining clothing, but this also depends on the type of clothing and application ritual used. Stretch mark oils are usually noted for their higher levels of absorption.

How do I avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?

Stretch marks are hormonally and genetically determined and can’t really be controlled. Many people want to know how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, but unfortunately, they cannot be completely avoided. There are some things you can do to help prevent them from occurring or minimize their appearance, such as keeping your skin moisturized by using lotion or cream every day. You should also drink lots of water, which helps your body stay hydrated and will make your skin softer and less prone to stretch marks. Many doctors also recommend eating a balanced diet rich in zinc, protein, and vitamins A, C, and D to promote healthy skin.

Does moisturizing prevent stretch marks in pregnancy?

Stretch mark creams cannot completely prevent or eliminate the formation of stretch marks, whether they are in your genetic code or not, but they can help keep your skin optimally hydrated and supple to help prevent them. Applying a great moisturizer early and often can help keep your skin elastic and soft as your belly grows.

How often should I moisturize my pregnant belly?

It is most effective to moisturize early and often–at least once per day, but some mamas recommend it three to five times per day.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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