Tiger stripes, lightning strikes, stretchies, glitter stripes or just plain stretch marks. Whatever you call them, those silvery lines that silently appear on our tummies, thighs, hips and breasts without us even noticing are marks of motherhood.
We can all relate, can’t we mamas? I mean, about 90% of the female population get them. 90 percent! But it’s how we feel about them that seems to be the real issue. It’s also one of the many “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dichotomies of motherhood. If you’re proud of your stripes society tells you that you shouldn’t be; and if you’re keen to get rid of them, you’re called out for body shaming. What’s a girl to do?
Here at Baby2Body, we think it’s time these naturally occurring scars get a rebrand in a society that has deemed them undesirable for too long. It’s time to view them through a new lens. Let’s look at our stretch marks in new ways and tell a new story. We’d love to know what resonates most with you:
- “My stretch marks tell a story of their own”
- “My stretch marks make my skin unique”
- “My stretch marks are my maternity souvenir”
- “My stretch marks are growth marks and part of my evolving journey”
- “My stretch marks are nature’s tattoos”
Share your favorite in the comments below!
And while we want you to see the beauty in your stripes and wear them with confidence, we also want you to feel empowered if you want to do what you can to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. You’ve earned your stripes, and you (only you) have the power to decide how you get to treat them. So if you’re on the hunt for the best products to help you do that, look no further, because we’ve got you covered.
But before we get to that, let’s take a step back and look at what stretch marks actually are.
Known as striae gravidarum (fancy, right?), stretch marks are tiny tears in the elastic fibers that form the support layer under your skin. These fibers typically help your skin ‘snap back’ but when they are overstretched suddenly they can tear and lose their elastic ability. Then, as those torn fibers are healing you start to see the darkened hue and striping of stretch mark scars.
Since prengancy is a time when your skin will go through significant and sudden stretching, that alone increases the appearance and likelihood of getting stretch marks. Other factors that can impact this include:
- Weight gain: you’ll regularly gain weight during pregnancy (which is normal and healthy!!). However, the more rapid the weight gain the more likely stretch marks are to appear.
- Skin tone: The darker your skin is the less likely you’ll be to see evidence of stretch marks, largely because they won’t be as visible.
- Genetics: Ultimately, one of the top determinants of whether you get stretch marks and how significant they are has a lot to do with genetics; chances are if your mother had them then you will too.
So what can we do, if anything? Well it’s rumored that in ancient times both the Greeks and Romans looked to the powers of olive oil to help make stretch marks disappear on pregnant tummies. And luckily for us, the beauty industry has developed this idea further and we have numerous options to slather on our bumps and behinds.
It’s important to remember that no stretch mark cream is a miracle cure but it can certainly help keep skin supple, ease any dryness and itchiness caused by stretched skin, and that’s really what treating stretch marks is about: preventative care. Giving your skin the hydration it needs ahead of time to support those elastic fibers and reduce the significance of tearing.
Alright, alright let’s get to the best of the bunch, shall we? We’ve rounded up our top 10 picks below. Let us know if you give any of these a try, but no matter what we hope you wear your stripes with pride. You’ve earned them, mama, and all the fabulous things they represent.
Top 10 Stretch Mark Creams on The Market
Belly Oil by Hatch
A quick-dry botanical oil that intensely hydrates & reduces the appearance of stretch marks & scars. Combining Calendula, Sweet Almond & Grapefruit Peel to support skin as it stretches & provide nutrient rich moisture without a greasy feel.
$34 | 30ml
Nourish & Relieve by Natural Birthing Company
A natural blend of oils combined with cocoa, shea butter & wheatgerm to soothe & hydrate. Perfect for sensitive, dry, itchy skin, stretch marks & scar tissue. Developed by midwives.
£10.99 | 100ml
The TummyRub Butter by Mama Mio
Expertly formulated to nourish & soothe growing bumps & clinically proven to increase skin elasticity & moisture. Made from Mama Mio’s Omega Rich Skin Stretch Complex & a unique blend of oils with a 100% natural citrus and bergamot fragrance.
$36.49 | 4.1oz
Belly Butter by Earth Mama
A luxurious lotion containing organic herbs & oils traditionally used to help ease the appearance of emerging stretch marks & encourage skin’s natural elasticity. Formulated with essential oils & shea butter.
$17.99 | 8oz
Almond Supple Skin Oil by L’Occitane
A body oil that effectively fights lack of firmness & dry skin. Enriched with 3 essential oils – peppermint, palmarosa & immortelle – to leave skin firm and more comfortable & with a light, fresh scent.
$50 | 3.4oz
Stretch Marks Serum By Mustela
A formidable concentrate packed with active ingredients including Passion Fruit which is proven to reinforce skin elasticity & tackle stretch marks. Leaves skin smooth & supple.
$25.99 | 75ml
Scar Saviour by Nessa
A vitamin-infused balm, loaded with powerful plant actives Turmeric, Marshmallow & Liquorice root to hydrate & restore the skin, helping to minimise scars & stretch marks.
£25 | 30ml
Fantastic Skin Elastic by My Expert Midwife
A rich massage serum offering instant relief for tight, dry or irritated skin & helps reduce appearance of stretch marks & scars. Contains essential oils Grapefruit, Geranium, Calendula & Lavender to soothe & soften skin Vitamin E encourages elasticity and beeswax locks in moisture.
£23.50 | 100ml
Mama Bee Belly Butter by Burt’s Bees
Specially blended to nourish & moisturise skin, this natural, fragrance-free formula contains Cocoa, Shea & Jojoba butters to keep your belly feeling soft & smooth.
$13 | 6oz
We’d love to hear your thoughts on stretch marks in the comments below!