Review: Stretch Mark Remedies

I have long suspected that stretch marks would be a familiar part of my pregnancy. You see, I have them already … remnants of puberty-induced growth spurts and, more recently, cookie-induced weight gain. But I was shocked to see them showing up ALREADY in the third month. I was hardly even showing at that point! But there they were, plain as day, on both sides of my belly button. Right there in that “pooch” that I have had for as long as I can remember.

Frantic, I started applying various potions and concoctions. Some seemed to help a little, others seemed to make matters worse. All I can think about is that if this keeps up, I am going to be covered in the red, squiggly lines by the end of this journey!

Here is an overview of the remedies I’ve tried and their results.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter
This was the only “Tummy Butter” I could find the day I was at Wal-Mart. And I kept hearing that the solution to stretch marks was Tummy Butter. So I picked it up. First of all, I am not crazy about the consistency of any of these butters. They look and feel kind of like shoe polish. It even comes in a similarly shaped container. The consistency is thick and greasy, so it is hard to rub in. This particular brand was especially thick and really did not work at all. In fact, I think it might have given me a rash. I ended up with teeny, tiny red bumps all over. I’m not sure if it was caused by the actual butter, or if it was just severely dry skin, but it itched and burned and was all around uncomfortable. Even worse, I saw generally no improvement in the stretch marks. This is my least favorite of the remedies I’ve tried.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil
When the Tummy Butter didn’t work, I decided to try the Body Oil instead. While the irritating red bumps did go away, it really did not help much with the marks. In fact, they seemed to still be getting longer and darker. Like the other oils, this one leaves an oily residue, so you really need to spend some time rubbing it all the way in, but it is not as difficult to rub in as the butter. This one is collecting dust in my closet along with the Palmers Tummy Butter.

Gold Bond Ultimate Soothing Lotion
When both of the Palmer’s options failed me, I turned to my moisturizer stash. This is the lotion I use on my dryest skin, so I thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t very successful. It did help a little with the general dryness, but even the itchiness was still there. I think stretch marks might just be too severe for lotions.

A&D Ointment
This is my mom’s favorite cure-all. You know how when you’re hurt some people say, “Spit on it and rub it in?” Well, my mom says, “Put some A&D on it.” I think she discovered it as a diaper rash ointment, which I believe is its original purpose, but she soon realized that it’s good for lots of other ailments, too. Sun burn? Put some A&D on it. Cuts and scrapes? Ditto. Minor burns? Dry, cracked skin? Chapped Lips? You guessed it. I think if you had a sore throat, she might tell you to put some of this stuff on your neck.

As a result, I pretty much always have a tube of A&D around. So I decided to give it a try. I think it helped — the marks seemed to stop spreading, but it did not stop the deepening of the color. It definitely helped with the associated itching and dryness. On the down side, it leaves a greasy residue, and it smells like … well … ointment.

Vitamin E Oil
I read that Vitamin E was good for the skin. So I searched high and low for this stuff. I could only find it in a small bottle, designed for use on the fingernails and cubicles, so it ends up getting expensive if you plan to rub it all over your body. The result? I think it did help soften the appearance of the existing marks, and I did not get any new marks while I used it. Also on the plus side, it doesn’t really smell like anything at all. But it is difficult to apply (comes with a finger nail polish brush), it’s expensive, and I’m not sure if it will be able to keep up with the marks I will get when my belly is really growing.

Bella B Tummy Honey Butter
This is another butter, and you know how I feel about those, but this one definitely gets higher marks than the Palmers version. It is lighter in consistency, which makes it easier to rub in. However, it is still relatively greasy, and has a weird grainy texture. So you really do have to work it into the skin to make sure that the graininess and the greasiness are gone. Also, the scent is a little strong for me — a little like honey and a lot like a flower. The good news is that it seems to be helping. The marks are not spreading, and they might even be lightening in color. I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, so I think I’ll keep at it and see how it goes.

Otopia Bump to Bub Stretch Mark Massage Oil
I think this one might be my favorite so far. Also an oil, it has a nice, light, lemony scent and while it is still a bit on the slippery side, it is the easiest to rub in of  the oils I’ve tried so far. Right now I am using this one in the morning and the Bella B Tummy Honey Butter at night and the results have been pretty good. My skin is much softer, I don’t have any new marks and the existing marks might actually be lightening a bit.

These are the products I’ve found and tested so far. What have you tried? Did it work?

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