Looking For The Best Stretch Mark Cream During Pregnancy? My Top Ten Faves!

Last Updated: May 13, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Hi Mama (To-Be)!

Are you looking for the best stretch mark cream during your pregnancy? I’m always a fan of keeping bumps looking glorious, so I did a WHOLE bunch of research on stretch mark creams, how they work, and when to start using them!

I started rubbing stretch mark cream on my bump in my first trimester! I wasn’t showing, and I didn’t have ANY stretch marks to begin with, but I really wanted to get into a good routine of rubbing cream on my belly each day!

Avoiding stretch marks is all about PREVENTION (and having the right genes, but we’ll get into that later in the post), so it’s important to start early, and stick with your routine!

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Pregnancy stretch mark overview

First off, what are pregnancy stretch marks?

Stretch Marks are streaks (or lines) on your skin resulting from your skin expanding too quickly. This can be due to obesity, growing (puberty), or pregnancy!

These streaks are a different color and texture than your normal skin (usually kind of bumpy) and they range from white, pink, purple or gray. They also can be itchy! (Your belly, in general, may become itchy for other reasons) Sometimes you may find that stretch marks (especially when they first appear) will feel sore to the touch as well. (source)

Related Reading: 30+ Gift Ideas For Your Favorite Mama-To-Be!

What causes pregnancy stretch marks?

Skin stretching!

And like I’ve said, there are a few different instances people will develop stretch marks (obesity, growing, and pregnancy).

It’s also been proved that an increase in collagen also causes stretch marks to appear. In other words, an increase in cortisone levels can increase the probability or severity of stretch marks by reducing the skin’s pliability. In fact, this is a cosmetic way to reduce the look of stretch marks (collagen injections)!

That’s all I’ll say about that subject, but you can read more about collagen and how it affects your skin here!

Who do they affect most?

Since stretch marks are genetic, they typically affect women MOST who have mothers or sisters with stretch marks. If you noticed you got some stretch marks while you were going through puberty, you’re also at a higher risk for having them during your pregnancy.

In addition, stretch marks also affect women of darker complexion more so than lighter complexion.

If you have any reason for your stomach to be getting larger, quicker, you’re also at a higher risk for development. This would include twin pregnancies, gestational diabetics, and women who carry more amniotic fluid.

Do stretch mark creams actually work?

That’s debatable.

Yes, I realize that this whole article is dedicated to finding the best stretch mark cream during your pregnancy, but I can’t lie to you guys!

Stretch mark creams are marketed to pregnant women as a means of prevention, skin hydration, and overall better skin elasticity. Once you develop stretch marks, however, there is no complete cure. Your stretch marks will unfortunately never go away completely, but you may be able to have treatments or apply creams in hopes that they change their color to white.

The only REAL ingredient that may have some benefit in preventing stretch marks is Retinoids (Vitamin A), but it is unsafe in pregnancy because it has been linked to birth defects. (It’s mainly the oral use of Retinoids that’s been linked to birth defects, but the general consensus is to avoid topical use as well) You may, however, apply a vitamin A based cream on your stretch marks once you delivered (even if you’re breastfeeding).

With that said, why are so many women interested in the best stretch mark cream during pregnancy?

Stretch mark creams still have plenty of benefit to your growing bump, even if they don’t truly help prevent your stretch marks from forming. It’s ALWAYS a good idea to keep your skin nice and hydrated as it’s being stretched, and all stretch mark creams are extremely moisturizing. (It’s even more important to drink lots of water as your bump grows!)

They also smell nice, but not overly perfumed like many moisturizing creams that are marketed to the general population.

Related Reading: 10 Mother’s Day Gifts for Expectant Mamas!

When to start using stretch mark creams during your pregnancy

I started rubbing my favorite stretch mark cream on my bump before it was a bump at all! I actually started in my first trimester, before anything was going through the stretching process. This helped me stay on track, and get into a good routine of moisturizing my bump after bathing.

Not only did I rub cream on my belly, but I also applied stretch mark cream in any place on my body I thought might get bigger during my pregnancy. So, it’s a good idea to have that same mindset too, when applying your cream! Not only do you want to moisturize your bump, you also want to keep these areas in mind:

  • Thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Breasts
  • Calves
  • Booty!

Unfortunately, your bump may not be the only thing GROWING during your pregnancy, so lotion up!

Related Reading: Third Trimester Must Haves

The best stretch mark cream during pregnancy

My favorite stretch mark cream

1. Burt’s Bee’s Belly Butter!

  • Designed for mamas during and after pregnancy
  • Very light smell
  • Non-irritating and 99% natural formulated without phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS.
  • Price – $$

Best organic stretch mark cream

2. Glow Organics Belly Butter

  • 100% Organic Belly Butter- helps prevent stretch marks
  • Organic, vegan, gluten & cruelty-free
  • No Parabens, No Synthetics, No Dyes, No Phthalates, No Sulfates, No Artificial Fragrances.
  • Made in the USA
  • Organic Shea Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Macadamia Nut, Organic Grapeseed Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil
  • Price – $$$

Best stretch mark prevention cream during pregnancy

3. Medela Quick Dry Oil

  • Fast absorbing formulation. Instructions – This quick drying oil should be gently massaged into affected areas at least once a day or as often as desired
  • Formulated to improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, and dry skin
  • Consumers prefer Mederma Quick Dry Oil over Bio-Oil because it absorbs faster and more completely than Bio-Oil
  • Mineral oil free. Fragrance-free. Paraben free. Dye-free
  • Price – $

Most affordable stretch mark cream

4. Burt’s Bee’s 100% Natural Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil

  • Perfect if you just want a body oil for your belly!
  • Made with sweet almond oil, lemon oil, and vitamin E, this all over body oil gives you healthier looking beautiful skin
  • Created specifically for moms to be as it helps recondition and revitalize skin throughout pregnancy keeping skin soft
  • Apply directly after shower or tub for a deep, hydrating treatment that lasts to lock in moisture and help smooth skin
  • Made with natural ingredients, this all over body oil is safe and effective formulated without phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS
  • Price – $

Best oil for stretch marks during pregnancy

5. Mother’s Special Blend All Natural Skin Toning Oil

  • I had this one too, and it’s totally my second favorite!!
  • No chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors or perfumes
  • Tones skin 
  • Rich, natural ingredients
  • Excellent for massage. Please note: Color changes from clear to cloudy are normal due to extremely cold temperatures and easily remedied by placing the bottle with the cap sealed in hot water for 5-10 minutes
  • Apply daily after a bath or shower when skin is warm and moist
  • Price – $$
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Best cream for old stretch marks from previous pregnancies

 6. Bio Oil

  • Clinically proven and dermatologist recommended* for scars and stretch marks 
  • Helps improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, dry and aging skin
  • Non-greasy and won’t clog your pores
  • Safe to use on a scar once the skin’s surface is fully healed
  • Hypoallergenic. Ideal for all skin types, even sensitive skin
  • #1 selling scar and stretch mark product in 18 countries and winner of 224 skincare awards
  • Price – $$

Most moisturizing stretch mark cream

7. Body Merry Stretch Marks & Scars

  • Stretch mark prevention and repair that stops itching and heals dry skin instantly
  • Rich creamy butter promotes elasticity and resiliency in the lower layers of skin
  • Fast absorbing, non greasy: not heavy or sticky, quickly penetrates skin to work deep where damage occurs
  • Safe and effective for pregnancy and nursing
  • Made with natural compounds that strengthen core connective tissue for better skin resiliency
  • Price – $$

A stretch mark cream worth the splurge

 8. Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter

  • Clinically proven ingredients that help prevent and repair stretch marks
  • Peptides and extracts boost collagen renewal for stronger skin that can stretch and rebound
  • Celebrity favorite and editor pick in Fit Pregnancy and Parents Expecting when you want to care for your stretching tummy
  • Rich blend of shea and jojoba butters plus omega-rich oils that nourish skin and stop itching
  • FREE of Parabens and Phthalate and Clinically Tested for ZERO Skin Allergy
  • Price – $$$

Tip: If you are looking for a stretch mark cream that’s not really a stretch mark cream try…

  • It is the same consistency as other belly oils
  • It’s pure, 100% almond oil, no added ingredients
  • Can be used safely for perineal stretching later in pregnancy

It’s also about the same price as most stretch mark creams… (Check current price here!)

An overall good pick

9. Earth Mama Belly Butter

  • Luxurious pregnancy lotion with naturally hydrating shea butter, organic herbs, and organic essential oils to safely encourage skin’s natural elasticity
  • Helps ease the appearance of emerging stretch marks
  • Calms stretching skin, expanding bellies, breasts, and thighs
  • Light, natural scent won’t aggravate morning sickness, perfect for after pregnancy too
  • Price – $$

If you really want to splurge on the best cream


  • Helps protect skin from stretch marks, while keeping it firm and intensely hydrated from early pregnancy all the way through post-childbirth. 
  • SCIENTIFICALLY-DEVELOPED…by the nation’s premier dermatologist and a beauty industry veteran. Both are mamas who believe in safer, better, healthier skincare that works
  • Formulated with shea butter, avocado oil and centella asiatica, a natural super-herb known around the world for its powerful anti-aging and skin tightening benefits. Because of its unique thickness and texture, Stratus Beauty was created to continuously melt into your skin for 12-24 hours after application. This helps with skin’s elasticity, and also helps relieve the itching that comes with a growing belly
  • PROVEN EFFECTIVE…through extensive focus group moms and real-life application from early pregnancy to birth and post-birth. Participants showed little to no stretch marks, and those who used it post-pregnancy reported that pre-existing stretch marks greatly faded. Stratus Beauty works most effectively if used daily as the skin is stretching during pregnancy
  • Price – $$$

How to avoid getting stretch marks during pregnancy: prevention over cure

Okay, remember earlier in the article I talked about PREVENTION? Well, it’s true that there are a few things that you may be able to do to avoid getting stretch marks, even if you have it in your genes. (PS: It has little to do with stretch mark cream)

You see, even though a woman may be super prone to getting stretch marks because her mother suffered from them, there’s always a degree that is somewhat controllable on her behalf.

Let’s go back and remember which certain ailments make stretch marks worse…

Judging by those ailments, it would seem that the best way to prevent stretch marks from happening, is simply by following a healthy diet, staying super hydrated, and exercising moderately.

Just by doing your part in having a safe, and healthy pregnancy, you may be able to prevent stretch marks from reaching the high-end of that scale we talked about.

Of course, a few things are uncontrollable, (you generally can’t control if you’re going to have multiples, and sometimes gestational diabetes is completely unavoidable).

However, the healthier you are during your pregnancy (even more importantly, the healthier you are BEFORE your pregnancy), the less likely you are to develop gestational diabetes. Polyhydramnios generally affects diabetics the MOST, so this one is sometimes controllable, too!

Related Reading: How To Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy

Ingredients to avoid in stretch mark creams

As mentioned earlier, the main ingredient you want to avoid when searching for a stretch cream to apply during pregnancy is Retinoids (Vitamin A). The use of vitamin A (taken orally) has been linked to birth defects, but most references recommend avoiding it topically as well.

What stretch mark cream did you use during your pregnancy? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Happy Bumping!

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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