Beauty Clinic: Can anything help stretch marks?

Q. I have some stretch marks on my tummy and hips after giving birth and wonder if there is anything you can suggest to help fade them? A. As you have probably discovered by now, applying product such as oils during pregnancy is the best way to prevent these pinky-purple striations on the surface of the skin. In fact, stretch marks are very common and don't just occur in pregnancy. They happen whenever the skin is stretched, for instance during puberty or when we put on or lose weight. In pregnancy, the skin is of course stretched a lot and also the hormonal changes make you more prone to stretch marks.

For some women, stretch marks make an unwelcome appearance at menopause. So our diligent Beauty Bible testers trialled a range of targeted products for The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible (NB there is a new edition out this autumn) and were agreeably surprised to find that some products really did make a difference.

There are two products we suggest you try:

Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body OilAromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Oil/£42 for 100ml, has consistently scored highly with our testers in this category, both for its effect on marks and for its overall skin benefits. Based on evening primrose oil and fragrance with rose and orange blossom, it is a truly feel-good product– which is important for something that relies on regular use for an effect. Comments included ‘new stretch marks seem to be less angry and visible – overall it helps my perception of them as I feel I am making a difference’. Another tester said ‘marks less prominent and it helped to fade the smaller stretch marks; has a lovely fragrance’ and another said she ‘used it on my stomach and marks look softer and skin feels smooth’.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 11.05.43The long-established natural brand Weleda offers Stretch Mark Massage Oil/£15.95 for 100ml, which was intended for use in pregnancy, but our testers trialled it on existing marks and found that the rich blend, based on almond oil and fragranced with geranium, lavender and orange, did soften the appearance of old ones and newer ones showed signs of fading.