Tried and tested: Stretch mark creams

Review of best stretch mark creams, oils, lotions and butters for pregnant and new mums

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  • It's all about moisturising...

    There’s no way of knowing if we’ll get stretch marks, but it's hard not to worry as we watch our tummies grow.

    There's lots of advice on what to do to minimise stretch marks, but the one method that skincare experts agree on is to keep our tummies well moisturised.

    There are a range of different products on the market and so we asked our MadeForMums pregnant and brand new mum testers to try out 5 top-selling stretch mark creams, oils, lotions and butters over several weeks...

    Find out which stretch mark lotion did best

  • Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream, £24.99 for 150ml

    Overall score 4.5 out of 5 

    What our testers say... 

    MFM mum Caroline Carpenter

    • It has the perfect consistency, not too thick but not too light. Easy to use and rub in, and if I was in a rush I didn’t feel I needed to wait ages before putting on my clothes. 
    • This is not the cheapest of products but I feel it is worth the price and I think I will use this after my pregnancy.
    • Caroline's score: 4.5

    MFM mum Natalie Brown

    • This cream is excellent – it absorbs quickly and easily, smells gorgeous, makes your skin feel instantly soft and lasts for hours.
    • It comes with an air-powered pump at the top so it’s easy to use and store, and it's difficult to inadvertently waste any of the 150ml by squirting too much out. 
    • Even at £24.99, I think this cream is excellent value and I would continue to use it as a body cream as well as part of a pre and post baby beauty routine. The old adage is true: you get what you pay for.
    • Natalie's score: 4.5

    MFM mum Georgina Rodgers

    • It has a pump dispenser, which means there is minimal waste but it can feel quite hard to use sometimes with slippery hands.
    • It rubbed into my skin easily and was absorbed almost instantly, which is great when you’re in a rush.
    • This is one of the more expensive creams but the bottle will last for a long time. I would definitely use this product again.
    • Georgina's score: 4.5

    Read the full Bepanthen review here to find out why it was voted the best stretch mark cream by MFM testers.

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  • Palmers Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks, £3.80 for 250ml

    Overall score: 4 out of 5

    What our testers say...

    MFM mum Natalie Brown

    • The thick consistency of the cocoa butter lotion makes you feel like you’re actually applying something that’s going to work, and although it does take a while to absorb into the skin – I’d give it five minutes before getting dressed afterwards – it keeps your skin well hydrated and nourished for hours.
    • I don’t have any stretch marks but this lotion certainly helped ease my itchy skin as it stretched during pregnancy – probably due to its vitamin E, shea butter and elastin content - and it smells divine: just like chocolate! And at £3.15 for a 250ml bottle you can’t go wrong.
    • Natalie's score: 5

    MFM mum Lisa Clark

    • The massage lotion is quite a thick cream but it soon thins. It spreads evenly and soaks in well, without leaving any residue behind.
    • I’m really not a fan of the Palmer’s cocoa butter formula products’ scent. It has a weird artificial chocolate smell, which I find pungent and sickly sweet.
    • At around £4 for a 250ml bottle, this product is fantastic value for money and won’t break the bank to use throughout my pregnancy and beyond. I will use it again. 
    • Lisa's score: 3

    Read the full Palmers Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks review here.

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  • Bio Oil, £6.50 for 60ml

    Overall score 4 out of 5

    What our testers say...

    MFM mum Georgina Rodgers

    • It's very easy to apply and absorbs but you need to wait about 3-5 minutes before putting on clothes, so they don’t mark.
    • The fragrance is pleasant but neutral, which is ideal when you are pregnant and your sense of smell can be very sensitive.
    • After using it my skin felt soft and supple and my existing lines slightly reduced.
    • Georgina's score: 4.5

    MFM mum Natalie Brown

    • Non-greasy and rubs into your skin without leaving a sticky residue.  It did make the feel of my skin more comfortable.
    • Wasn’t keen on the smell, which to me is slightly clinical, and with a screw top the bottle and lid got greasy very quickly. 
    • I don't think I'd buy this product again: at £5.99 for 60ml it’s quite expensive and for me it didn't deliver value for money.
    • Natalie's score: 3.5

    MFM mum Becky Gower

    • Easy to use and rubs in easily but it does take a long time to absorb though and my skin felt moist for a while. I had to wait around 10 minutes before getting dressed.
    • I will definitely continue to use it, especially after the birth as it is designed to lessen the appearance of existing stretch marks.
    • I don’t think I could use it daily though as I find the oil takes too long to settle on my skin.
    • Becky's score: 4.5

    Read the full Bio Oil reviews here.

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  • Palmers Cocoa Tummy Butter, £3.99 for 125g

    Overall score: 3.5 out of 5

    What our testers say...

    MFM mum Becky Gower

    • This Cocoa Butter is easy to rub into your skin, but it is slow to absorb. It's much better used as an evening cream so you don’t have to get dressed straight after rubbing it in.
    • It doesn’t claim to work on existing stretch marks and I haven’t found any difference on my existing stretch marks. But it left my skin feeling incredibly nourished and moisturised which is part of the battle.
    • I would definitely use the tummy butter again, it smelt delicious and felt the nicest on my skin. It's great value and easy to find in high street shops and supermarkets.
    • Becky's score: 4.5

    MFM mum Caroline Carpenter

    • I found it quite hard to get a good amount out of the pot, I literally had to dig it out. I had to rub it in my hands to warm it up to be able to spread it on my tummy.
    • Once on, it did give great coverage and you felt if you had dry skin or stretch marks already this would help.
    • For my skin I found this product a little heavy but I know some women experience very dry skin during pregnancy so I would recommend it to them.
    • Caroline's score: 2.5

    MFM mum Georgina Rodgers

    • I didn’t find it the easiest cream to apply due to its solidity. Because you have to scrape it out, it often ended up stuck under my fingernails. It also needs to be rubbed in really well, which can be time-consuming.
    • After application, my skin did feel extremely supple and smooth, so it works very well and I found it does actually reduce existing lines.
    • Another big plus is the low price point; this product offers exceptional value for money.
    • Georgina's score: 4

    Read the full Palmer's Tummy Butter review here. 

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  • Aveeno Moisturising Lotion, £7.65 for 300ml

    Overall score: 3 out of 5

    What our testers say...

    MFM mum Georgina Rodgers

    • This cream isn't targeted specifically at stretch marks or at pregnant women but it is designed for dry and sensitive skin, and many pregnant women use it on their bump.
    • It absorbs quickly and easily into my skin, but I didn’t feel that it offered much more than an ordinary skin moisturiser.
    • I think there are better stretch-mark specific products on the market. 
    • Georgina's score: 3

    MFM mum Lisa Clark

    • After rubbing it on my skin it feels really supple and hydrated, without any hint of residue or greasiness.
    • However, as it doesn’t claim to prevent or reduce stretch marks, I don’t have faith in it alone. Instead, I believe it is best used to compliment a wider stretch mark prevention routine.
    • If you shop around, you can find some great price reductions. 
    • Lisa's score: 4

    MFM mum Natalie Brown

    • Aveeno is really thin, and while it rubs into the skin nicely its effects didn't seem to last for long. 
    • Its oatmeal content, which is supposed to ‘actively moisturise’ dry and easily irritated skin gives it a rather strange smell – more like porridge than a body lotion – and I needed to use a lot to really feel like I was applying anything.
    • Natalie's score: 2.5

    Read the full Aveeno lotion review here. 

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  • Remescar Silicone Stretch Marks Scar Cream, £24.99 for 100ml

    Overall score: 3.5 out of 5

    What our testers say...

    MFM mum Caroline Carpenter

    • A very light, non-scented cream. It was so light that I wasn't sure if I should use more. It is so easy to rub on your skin, as it is quite thin. I am used to slightly heavier creams, especially since becoming pregnant, as I was so paranoid about stretch marks.
    • Not keen on was the scent, it smelt a little odd.
    • I had no fear of this cream marking my clothes or having an overpowering any perfume I was wearing.
    • Caroline's score: 3.5

    MFM mum Neri Sizer

    • It promises to “stimulate the production of collagen” by covering the scar or stretch mark in a thin, invisible film of silicone, but didn't work on my existing stretch marks, but after using it for over three months and can see very little difference.
    • I found that the Remescar didn’t have a nice smell, it was too slight for me, I like to smell of a body lotion.
    • As it is so light i didn't find it moisturising qualities up to scratch and left me feeling like I hadn't applied any cream at all. 
    • Neri's score: 2.5

    MFM mum Sandra Bolla

    • You might not get as much product with Ramescar as other stretch mark creams and oils, but you only need to use it sparingly, so a little goes a ling way – sorry for the cliché there.  I had to fight the urge to saturate my stomach with it, but after using it I noticed my skin felt smooth and really soft. 
    • And if you’re sensitive to smells, which is very likely when you’re pregnant, this is the cream for you as it’s delicate and not overpowering.
    • Sandra's score: 4 out of 5

    Read the full Remescar Silicone Stretch Marks Scar Cream review here. 

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