Stretch Marks – The Best Products for Prevention and Removal

Stretch marks are the great equalizer – sadly, they affect women of any age, shape, race or size!  These dreaded things moved up to the top of my list of worries (aside from the hormonal changes, mood swings, weight gain, and pushing a possibly huge baby out of my body) when I got pregnant.

I have some stretch marks around my hips and arms because I used to be a chubby kid and I suddenly lost the weight when I hit my teens.  I’ve tried several remedies to lighten them over the years, but I really went into an anti-stretch mark frenzy when I found out I was pregnant last August.

Nobody really knows what causes them, although there is no shortage of theories on what causes stretch marks, among which are the following:

  • Genetics – which I refuse to believe since that means there is no hope for me!
  • Hormone changes during rapid weight gain and/or weight loss and lack of lubrication  which causes small tears in the skin – my preferred theory which may or may not be accurate (hahaha)

I thought I would share some of the products that I’ve been trying out lately and over the years.  My husband kept laughing when I took out my little stash for him to take pictures of (hmph!), but hopefully this will help those of you out there looking for something to banish or prevent stretch marks.

Aveeno Moisturizing Oil

Pros:  Aveeno calls this an oil but its more like a very lightweight lotion that absorbs very quickly with a light, pleasant fragrance.  It’s relatively affordable and easy to purchase worldwide even here in the Philippines in S&R

Cons:  Not specially marketed towards stretch marks, no claims to reduce or prevent stretch marks

Mama Bee Belly Balm by Burt’s Bees

I picked up this product at the urging of a saleslady in the US who assured me that it’s the best thing ever to prevent stretch marks.  Note to self: Always sample products like this before buying.

Pros:  Definitely moisturizing

Cons:  This one smelled weird (not fragrance free as claimed) and made me feel like a greased chicken ready for roasting.  Don’t even try to put it on in the mornings if you’re going out of the house because your clothes will stick to you and have a slight stain.  When my husband put his hand on my tummy I’m pretty sure he was repulsed but he was kind enough not to show it and he just asked what new thing I was trying out again.  🙂

Soothing Therapy Stretch Mark Cream by Thyme

Bought this in Canada when I was five months pregnant.  I tried the tester in-store first because my tummy was itchy and it was so soothing, this is what I use every evening before bed until now.

Pros: Absorbs even more quickly that the Aveeno moisturizing oil, leaves no oily or sticky residue, has a soothing, cooling effect

Cons: I haven’t personally been able to prove that it works, will let you all know in 4 to 5 months (yikes!), may be difficult to purchase for those here in the Philippines although you can order it on the net here

Pure Argan oil

Argan oil from a random store in Canada (left), The Souq Moroccan Argan Oil (right)

I’ve tried 2 types, The Souq International Moroccan argan oil that has been selling in bazaars here in Manila and an argan oil I picked up during a recent trip.  Both are priced at around 30 USD or 1200 Php, I always have a bottle in my bag since I discovered this late last year.  I use it as a moisturizer and it works beautifully although the lightening of stretch marks around my arms is minimal even after months of continuous use.  This is what I use for my face every night.  Souq is present in most bazaars (NBC tent, Rockwell, etc) and they give out sample sizes if you want to try it out.

Pros: Absorbs very quickly, is moisturizing but never greasy, smell is slightly nutty which I like but maybe isn’t for everyone

Cons: Pricey, slightly oily, you have to buy this from a reputable source since it has to be 100% argan oil.  I plan to pick up a bottle of Morocco Argan Oil in Essenses that I read on this blog here which is much cheaper!

Palmer’s Massage Cream for Stretch Marks

Palmer’s is famous for stretch mark prevention so of course I had to pick up a tube of this stuff which clearly claims to improve appearance of stretch marks.

Pros: Light smell that is not cloying or annoying, moisturizing with very slight residue, easy to buy anywhere even here in Manila

Cons: Not as lightweight as I would like

To summarize:

I’ll make sure to update this post after I give birth and let you know whether slathering on all these things has helped in any way. 🙂

36th week update:  No stretchmarks YET!!!  Hopefully none develop between now and when I give birth, will definitely keep you all posted.  Hehehe.

9 months post-partum update:  Very very few stretchmarks!  Fewer than those that developed from my previous weight loss.  SUCCESS!!!