Preventive stretch mark creams "can hydrate the skin and build tensile strength," according to Anne Chapas, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor at New York University School of Medicine. Avoid products that contain the ingredient tretinoin though; they should not be used by pregnant or lactating women.
If you've already given birth, it might not be too late to diminish stretch mark appearance. Dr. Chapas says some products "can rebuild collagen to make the stretch marks less deep and less noticeable."
So whether you're looking to avoid marks or lessen new ones, we've got some product suggestions. Dr. Chapas warns, however, that "using any over-the-counter products on older, white marks is a waste of time and money." So tackle them while they're still red!
Mustela offers a dual solution to stretch marks: The Ultimate Hydration body lotion helps relieve dryness and soothes skin during your pregnancy ($22). The Intensive Action cream helps reduce stretch marks by remodeling skin support fibers after giving birth ($39).
This oil helps strengthen your skin to keep stretch marks away. The Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids help maintain your skin's elasticity. And it doesn't leave you feeling greasy ($35).
Restoring elasticity while keeping your skin supple is how this oil works to minimize stretch marks ($34).
Palmer's doesn't just put the moisture back in your skin -- it tones at the same time ($8.60).
If you're post-pregnancy and battling stretch marks, this cream will help them fade away and reconstruct your skin. Its emulsion-based formula soaks in fast ($20).
Recommended for use before and after baby, this oil helps reduce the possibility of stretch marks and improves the appearance of ones that already exist ($20). It's non-greasy too!
This system works with botanical ingredients and a skin hydrator to improve the appearance of stretch marks ($40). Be patient, and diligent: It will take 12 weeks of daily use to see optimal results.
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