There are many different products available for stretch mark prevention and removal, but how do you know which is best? One easy way to take certain products out of consideration is to check the list of ingredients for chemicals that are unsafe, untested, or ineffective. The following three common stretch mark cream ingredients have been shown in scientific studies to be harmful—particularly to pregnant mothers. If you find that a cream you’re considering has one of these ingredients listed, it’s best to avoid that product altogether.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract has been touted as a fix for many skin issues, such as stretch marks, eczema, and acne. While it is said that grapefruit seed extract tones the skin and heals skin issues, there have not been many studies proving its effectiveness for these uses. In fact, one study performed by the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas, found that what was being called grapefruit seed extract in several products was actually a chemically-altered derivative that could no longer be considered a natural supplement. The other chemicals found in the products tested were not called out in their ingredients.
Because there is no evidence that grapefruit seed extract works for treating stretch marks and because products containing it may contain other potentially unsafe and untested chemicals, it’s best to avoid stretch mark creams containing grapefruit seed extract.
DMAE is a chemical sometimes used in anti-aging creams because of its ability to increase skin firmness and reduce the visibility of age spots. Due to the same properties, it can be effective in reducing the visibility of or removing stretch marks. However, some studies have shown that DMAE has adverse effects on embryo development, so it is best for pregnant women and women trying to conceive to play it safe and avoid this chemical in their stretch mark prevention or removal creams.
We tend to trust supplements touted as “natural,” but oftentimes these natural supplements are untested and can cause unintended side effects. Almond oil is one example of this. While almond oil is naturally occurring and can soften the skin and prevent stretch marks, a study performed in Italy found that women who had applied almond oil to their stomachs during pregnancy were twice as likely to go into labor prematurely than women who did not. For this reason, it is best for pregnant women to avoid stretch mark prevention creams that contain almond oil.
Find a Stretch Mark Cream
Make sure to talk to your doctor before using any stretch mark cream to determine whether or not the product is safe, especially if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. Many stretch mark creams and lotions contain natural ingredients—such as aloe vera, cocoa butter, and Vitamin E—that may help promote cell development, increase skin elasticity, and reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks. Check out our catalog of stretch mark prevention products.