My Favorite Stretch Mark Cream

When it comes to pregnancy, stretch marks can come with the territory. While they are certainly well earned and shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of, most women I know would rather avoid them, if at all possible. (Myself included.)

stretch mark prevention cream in a glass container

Stretch marks may be inevitable if they run in your genetics, but I do think they can be helped with diet and some special skin care. As it happens, stretch marks do run in my genetics– my mom got them during her pregnancies and I developed plenty of them around my hips in my early teens while I was going through puberty. Naturally, I expected to get more of them during my first pregnancy, but to my happy surprise, I didn’t.

I think my skin care routine might have had a lot to do with it, because goodness knows my diet wasn’t perfect. While pregnant with my son, I craved junk food for nearly the whole 9 months… and though I tried to eat plenty of salads and smoothies, I certainly gave into my cravings pretty often, too. Luckily, my cravings haven’t been quite as crazy with this pregnancy, but I’ll still be using a nourishing skin cream as a preventative measure.

What stretch mark cream should you use? I think the following ingredients are key:

  • Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can help protect the collagen fibers in your skin. It promotes skin elasticity, which is important when your skin is rapidly stretching and growing.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil naturally contains some vitamin E, which enhances its skin-nourishing properties, and it also contains proteins that can contribute to cellular health and tissue repair.
  • Shea Butter: Shea butter is ultra-moisturizing thanks to its vitamin content, along with oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids which help prevent drying. It’s great for smoothing and softening the skin, and also promotes collagen production.

I personally prefer to make my own cream, so I know exactly what I’m putting in my body. As you know, everything we put on our skin gets directly absorbed into the body– hence why nicotine and birth control patches are so effective– so I prefer making my own lotions with 100% nourishing ingredients.

stretch mark prevention cream

For best results when using this cream, or any cream for that matter, it’s important that your skin is already moist– ideally, you’ll rub it on while your skin is still wet from taking a shower, before even toweling off. Creams like this “lock in” moisture, so it’s important that there is moisture there to begin with! You’ll notice that some moisturizing creams have water as the first ingredient (which I’ve always felt is a little bit of a rip-off), but as soon as you add water to a homemade lotion it will require an added preservative– which is an extra step and ingredient I’d prefer to avoid. Instead, just rub this thick, emollient cream into wet skin and gently pat dry to remove any remaining moisture.

DIY Stretch Mark Prevention Cream
Makes about 8 ounces

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unrefined shea butter
1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
4 droppers full of vitamin E oil (about 4 teaspoons)

Directions:

In a double boiler, melt together the shea butter and coconut oil until completely liquified.

making stretch mark prevention cream in the stove

Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes, then add in the vitamin E oil. Pour the mixture into a glass storage jar and store it in the fridge to cool completely. The resulting mixture should be thick and creamy, but its texture will vary depending on the temperature of the room its stored in. (It will be firm in a cold room, and softer in a warm room.)  For best use, apply to wet skin immediately after getting out of the shower, then gently pat yourself dry.

This lotion should keep well for up to 6 months, if you don’t use it all before then. Be sure to keep it free of excess moisture for best shelf life.

Note: This cream has no added scents because several essential oils are not considered “pregnancy safe.” If you would like to add an essential oil to this lotion to create a more pleasant scent, be sure to research which oils are safe to use during pregnancy.

Reader Feedback: Have you used a homemade stretch mark cream before? Many of my friends have simply used coconut oil with great results, but I think this version is even better. My skin has never felt so soft!

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Comments

Sekg

This is great thank you!! I’m allergic to vitamin e. Do you think there’s something else I could substitute? Or would it be still effective if I just leave it out? Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    Does the amount of vitamin E found in coconut oil affect you? You could probably just use the combo of shea butter and coconut oil as a good alternative.

Tara

Thanks for the tip about needing to apply the moisturizer to wet skin. I’ve been making my own lotions for about a year and have had trouble with itchy, flaky skin. I was confused and frustrated since the products I use are very good quality and go on so creamy. I actually bought some store bought lotion recently because I was tired of having dry skin. I took your suggestion and applied some home made lotion immediately after my shower the other night and my skin was so soft the next day. I’ll be using this method from now on!

Laura ~ RYG

I love the idea of making this for a pregnant friend and including it with her gift as a topper. Like you said, what woman would want stretch marks? I used to have the worst stretch marks and was shocked that with heathy eating and exercise…they did go away!!! yipppeeee.

Marcus

If you’re luck they haven’t turned white. If they are still red or pink then you have some time to heal them slightly but as others have said – they won’t be completely gone.

Francine

Could I use cocoa butter instead of Shea butter? Have some of that I need to use up.

Erin

Made this! Then bought some BPA free jars on Amazon and split it 4 ways for gifts (one jar was for me and it was significantly less than the others). My first time using the finished product I noticed the texture was grainy like sand. I had previously bought a product that had the same texture so I wasn’t worried just bummed it wasn’t smooth. BUT I traveled and my jar melted and then some. When I was finally able to chill it to re harden the texture is now smooth. I’m thinking next time I will let it cook a little longer, get a little hotter in the heating process to get rid of the grainy texture from the start!

Yani

Awesome! I tried the recipe and it works great. The skin marks are still there but I feel the skin is alot smoother. I am thinking of switching to a normal coconut cream – not sure if that is ok.

Jenna

Is there a substitute for the coconut oil that can be used instead? I want to make for a friend but she is allergic to coconuts.

Taruna

Hi,
I used coconut oil all through my 2nd pregnancy, and also made my own creams with shea butter and cacao butter which i applied on my belly throughout. But happen to bear stretch marks post this pregancy, vs. my 1st one, in which i used the commercial stretch-mark cream

Would you have any suggestions to get rid of these stretch marks right around the navel ?

    Megan Gilmore

    I think stretch marks are more likely to happen with subsequent pregnancies. I had no stretch marks during my first pregnancy using this cream, and the second time around I did get a tiny one around my belly button. Stretch marks will naturally fade over time (after 3 months mine is already significantly lighter), so I would just keep the area moisturized and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet to help keep the skin nourished.

Katie

I am 20 weeks pregnant, and have used a boughten natural cream on my body that is great.. but it smells awful! I seen this recipe and I can’t wait to try it, but I was wondering what it smelled like. Have you ever added essential oils to this recipe?

Bethany

Hi Megan,

I made this cream last night and I love it. I had a question for you: I am two years postpartum and while I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight through healthy diet and exercise, I continue to have significant loose skin in my belly area. Do you happen to have a recommendation for a homemade cream that would target this issue specifically? I figured the stretch mark cream would not hurt, but if you have any ideas specifically to target the loose skin issue, I would appreciate it.

My Mom and I are huge fans of your website and your two cookbooks. We always enjoy talking about your new recipes, ideas, etc. Thanks for being a great resource for all of us!

Elizabeth

Hey Megan,

I have a quick question. I ordered the vitamin E oil you linked to on Amazon (the Grest Full Skin Vit amin E Oil). The recipe states “4 droppers full of vitamin E oil (about 4 teaspoons).” I went ahead and measured my droppers and it took 4 full droppers to make 1 teaspoon. Which measurement should I go with, the 4 full droppers or the 4 teaspoons?

Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’d go with the droppers! I think the bottle I used said 1 full dropper = 1 teaspoon, but I don’t think I took the time to actually measure them out.

Maria

I’ve had terrible stretch marks for years now and nothing really works that well. I think dermalmd stretch mark serum is a good product, i do think it’s not for people with sensitive skin. i’ve notice little red bumps/ a slight rash every time i apply. but nothing terrible.

Amy

Mine is pretty liquidy. Is that ok? I added some raw cocoa butter but its the same consistency as shea butter so i didnt think it would change anything .

Nadia

I wanted to thank you for this amazing recipE. I’m pregnant for the second tiMe. I didn’T get any stretch marks with my first about 4 years ago and i didn’t use anything, but about ten weeks ago i saw my first stretch mark. I freaked out. I had seen thiS recIpe Before so as soon as i got that first mark, i ordered what i needed and made the cream. The tiny atretch marks that i got didn’T disappear but they got fainteR and i dIdn’t get anymore. I love how much this lOtion helps with the itchiness and dryness too. I have none of It! I just made my second baTch for the 6 or so weeks I have left carrying thia baby. Thanks again!!!

paulat

I was in my second month, and throughout the whole pregnancy I used the Somaluxe Stretch Mark Cream because its 100% chemical free. I used it twice a day, and three times per day during the last trimester. I continued to use it for one more month postpartum. I don’t have stretchmarks at all! It works perfectly. (I also drank a lot of water during my pregnancy (at least 10-12 glasses per day), I read it also helps you with stretchmarks and swolleness.

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