You say stretch marks, we say growing pains…
Weight loss and/or gain, childbirth and hormones can all play a significant role in the formation of stretch marks. In fact, it’s believed that up to 90% of women get them during pregnancy (we like to think of them as battle scars)! And while some of us are happy to wear ours with honour, others want to cover them up and hide them. For those that fall under the latter, help is at hand in the form of numerous lotions and potions. But, with so many on the market, you’d be forgiven for not knowing where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to give you some inspiration. Just remember that no product can guarantee to get rid of stretch marks in their entirety, but it can certainly help to diminish them and give your skin the nourishment it needs to try to prevent them in the first place!
If New Zealand’s Trilogy isn’t already on your radar, it should be! As should its certified rosehip oil, which is a godsend for stretch marks. In fact, the whole brand was created around rosehip, once its founders realised what an effective and potent skincare ingredient it is. That’s because it contains fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9) to hydrate, repair and strengthen. If we told you one bottle is sold every 20 seconds, that pretty much tells you all you need to know! Plus it’s safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, available from Mannings from $298
We’ve been fans of The Body Shop since we were kids (remember the scented bath oil pearls that were guaranteed to leave remnants of the dissolvable outer casing stuck to your tub for days?!) and can generally find something here to suit our needs – stretch marks being no exception! One of our Sassy Mamas swears by its deliciously-scented lime oil to keep skin soft and supple from early pregnancy onwards. It’s made from marula oil, which is full of antioxidants, fatty acids and amino acids. This product is also 100% vegan (tick!).
Thai Makrut Lime Firming Oil, available in-store for $159
Weleda has a whole host of great natural face and body products, so you know what you’re getting with its stretch mark massage oil. Its combination of sweet almond oil and wheat germ oil is full of Vitamin E, which helps to keep the skin’s moisture levels up and increase elasticity. It also contains rose, neroli, frankincense and myrrh, so it smells pretty good too! The company gets bonus points from us for its environmentally-friendly and sustainable production processes.
Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil, available online from lookfantastic for $192.50
We couldn’t possibly do a guide to stretch marks without including Bio-Oil, which is loved by celebrities and Hong Kong mamas alike. It has been awarded way too many accolades for us to list here. The non-greasy formula is packed full of vitamins and plant extracts, and is really easily absorbed. It’s recommended you use Bio-Oil twice daily from the second trimester and rub liberally on any area that may be affected by stretch marks! The best bit is, it’s a budget option that won’t put a serious dent in your wallet.
Bio-Oil, available from Watsons from $93.50
Mama Mio has a great range for mums (as the name suggests) and we think its tummy butter is a good investment for stretch marks. It has a rich shea butter base for starters, so your skin will feel super hydrated. Plus it also contains omega-rich avocado, argan and coconut oils for good measure. It’s recommended for use both during and after pregnancy to help improve elasticity.
Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Butter, available online from lookfantastic for $167
A powerful combination of cocoa, shea and jojoba butters, this fragrance-free product promises to keep your belly feeling soft and super smooth, both before and after bubba arrives. With NO parabens, petrolatum, SLS or nasties, the natural formula is creamy and smooth and will provide plenty of chemical-free moisture for any type of stretch marks and scars.
This butter from New York-based maternity skincare brand Basq has a base of shea and jojoba, but also contains biopeptides, silicas and plant extracts to help promote collagen and elastin production. It promises to protect skin from new stretch marks, while also diminishing the appearance of any existing ones. We love that all Basq products are clinically tested to be allergy, irritant and sensitivity-free.
Basq Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter, available in-store from Linea Negra at 7/F, 118 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong or online for $350
Cowshed has long been a favourite of ours for gifting because its products look seriously chic and smell divine. It has a great Mother & Baby range which includes this stretch mark balm (time for a present to yourself!). It boasts a number of natural oils to help nourish and protect, including sea buckthorn (which is packed with tons of vitamins) so you can rest assured your skin will get the nourishment it needs! It’s also suitable for vegans.
Cowshed Mother Stretch Mark Balm, available online from lookfantastic for $223.50
Creams And Lotions
Hypoallergenic, paraben-free and containing 100% pure cocoa butter, many mums swear by this well-known stretch mark solution (including several of the Sassy Mama team). Its blend of pure cocoa and shea butter, along with other effective ingredients including Vitamin E and Almond Oil, hydrates at the same time as smoothing and plumping. The lotion is perfect for Hong Kong’s humidity as it’s light and non-greasy, but there’s also a cream version if you’d prefer something thicker.
Palmer’s Massage Lotion For Stretch Marks, available from Watsons for $178
Mustela specialises in natural care products for pregnant women and babies. The French brand’s Stretch Marks Prevention cream is one of its bestsellers and contains ingredients such as shea, soy, avocado and nourishing oils to help strengthen the skin and make it more supple (to help withstand some stretching). It’s fragrance-free, making it ideal for those who prefer their lotions and potions unscented.
Mustela Stretch Marks Prevention Cream, available in-store at shop 334-335, 3/F, Landmark Prince’s, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong from $310
Clarins is tried and tested so although this is one of the pricier options on our list, we think it’s worth it. Stretch Mark Control contains crowberry extract (don’t worry, we hadn’t heard of it either) to help stimulate collagen production and rebuild connective tissue. This rich, fragrance-free cream also works hard to fade uneven skin tone and replenish lost moisture.
Secret Saviours is one of the brands pioneering the use of bump bands to prevent stretch marks. It was invented by surgeons and contains Dermal Support Technology. So how does it work? Well, it has little tacky pads dotted over the fabric, which aim to grip your growing belly to help make sure the tension of your stretching skin is evenly spread. If the thought of having an extra layer over your bump in the Hong Kong heat isn’t appealing, don’t worry, it’s made of lightweight and breathable material.
Secret Saviours Stretch Mark Prevention Band, available online from lookfantastic for $350.50
The main use of this product from Belly Bandit is to provide extra support to your back and belly, but it may also help to prevent stretch marks. Made from bamboo fabric that moulds to the shape of your body, this band also works to help increase circulation and blood flow, and relieve pressure on your bladder. So if you’re looking for a pregnancy multitasker that works pre and post-birth then this could be a good investment, as it contains a pouch for you to slide in a hot or cold gel pack (also provided) for some extra comfort.
Belly Bandit Upsie Belly Support Band, available online from Linea Negra for $589
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 5, September 2017 and updated on 30, August 2019.