Stretch marks - those pesky red come silvery lines that sometimes appear due to weight gain and sometimes weight loss. Sometimes they are hereditary and others times it just feels like a rotten bout of luck - either way there are certain products aimed at preventing and fading stretch marks. I have been trying out four well priced high street options and here is what I have found along the way.
Avon Stretch Mark Solutions 24 (£4.98 via Amazon - link)
As a teen I was plagued with stretch marks on my hips and tummy and bought the older version of this product - what the exact name was slips me but the texture of the product was similar. I'm guessing along the way the ingredient list will have been improved but the aims will remain the same - to tone and tighten the skin and fade existing stretch marks. As a teen I swore blind that this product worked when in reality my stretch marks most likely faded on their own accord. How do I know this? Well this time around other than cooling and somewhat providing an instant and temporary tightening/firming sensation - this did next to nothing. It is not overly moisturising and has not faded any new-ish marks in the slightest. Save your money there are far better options out there.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks (£4.65 via Superdrug - link)
This thick, luxurious cream has been formulated with deeply nourishing Cocoa Butter, Shea Butters and Vitamin E to not only moisturise but to boost the skins natural collagen levels. This is turn means it will support the skins natural ability to stretch and could result in less stretch marks if applied daily. It has been formulated for pregnant ladies in mind but it is a great preventative method for anyone concerned with stretch marks or generally in the market for a deep body moisturiser. Palmer's do claim that this will aid the fading process to, something I haven't found to be true but it does work as far as preventing goes. I apply this daily to my upper arms and thighs, not only is the skin now smoother then smooth but I have no new marks to date. If I could recommend one product it would be this.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks (£5.75 via Feel Unique - link)
I bought this on a complete whim, the name Tummy Butter conjured up images of a whipped, almost mousse like texture - this couldn't be further than the truth. Much like the above butter version this has been enriched with Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Vitamin E to improve the skins elasticity and moisture levels, along with soothing lavender to calm the mind and skin. All well and good but the solid texture is a nightmare to apply not to mention messy. To deem this a firm texture would be the understatement of the year, you either have to scratch it out with your nails or dig in using a spoon - far from ideal nor relaxing. On the plus side once this is applied to the skin (I use it all over and no I'm not pregnant) it does melt into a deeply nourishing body oil. I'll assume that it will work as it is essentially the solid version of the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream but will confess that I found this too time consuming and messy to use regularly.
Nivea Q10 Plus Firming Body Oil (£3.47 via Boots - link)
My go to stretch mark solution has long been Bio-Oil but at over £10 for a bottle it doesn't come cheap and it feels like I re-purchase a bottle almost weekly. Over the last few months I have began looking for similarly constructed body oils that are slightly more affordable and found Nivea Q10 Plus Firming Body Oil. Is it a dupe for Bio-Oil? In a word, no but it is a great all round body oil - stretch marks or not. Unlike the above options which contain vitamin e this works by quickly and effectively moisturising the skin, allowing it to naturally stretch hopefully without consequences. It apparently also contains powerful Q10 to combine with and further enrich the skins coenzyme Q10 (natural antioxidant) levels which in turn may help improve skin firmness. In my opinion it doesn't do anything other than quickly and effectively moisturise the body much like any decent body oil would, the Q10 seems to be a fancy scientific selling tactic. Other than increasing the skins suppleness (which may prevent stretch marks in the long run) this is a bog standard body moisturiser - the good news is that it is cheap and plentiful.
If I was to recommend one of the above four options to a friend, it would be Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks: quick and easy to apply, affordable and smells great, not to mention it actually works in a preventative sense at least.
I'd love to know any other product recommendations for stretch marks you may have, well other than Bio-Oil that is!
Read a teen's take on stretch marks, here.
Learn more about stretch marks and other products I have trialled for the cause here.