Stretch Marks (striae distensae) from pregnancy

Stretch marks are a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks quickly. They appear as coloured streaks and are common in pregnancy, particularly in the last trimester.



  • Smooth, raised, irritable and swollen lines.
  • Can be red, purple or bluish in colour.
  • The marks may appear in any of the following areas; stomach, breasts, upper arms, thighs and buttocks.
  • When you touch them, you might feel a slight ridge or indentation on your skin. They could also feel itchy or sore.
  • As the mark ages, it often flattens, becomes pale and irregular in shape with finely wrinkled surface known.
  • Stretch Marks are associated with psychological distress due to their appearance.


  • Stretching of the skin around the growing foetus.
  • Stretching of the breast tissue due to changes during and after pregnancy.
  • A family history of stretch marks.
  • A history of delivering large babies or twins.
  • A higher body weight.

Here is what the evidence says about the treatment options:


Topical treatment cannot prevent the occurrence of stretch marks under specific circumstances such as pregnancy. This has been investigated by many studies and the same conclusion is always drawn. We have therefore looked at studies that have investigated whether you can reduce the appearance of the marks after they have appeared.


Vitamin Aevidence is limited for the use of Vitamin A. THIS study which is quite old had some positive results but it is hard to find any more recent studies supporting it’s use for stretch marks. THIS vitamin A cream has good reviews on Amazon. It is not advised that you use vitamin E products if you are pregnant or breastfeeding however.


Topical creamsevidence suggests that topical treatments have only mild effects on stretch marks. It is questionable, if creams and ointments with “specific ingredients” exert a significant and better improvement than simple moisturisers.


Aloe VeraTHIS study found positive effects from aloe Vera on scar tissue.


Sillicone gel – evidence supports the use of silicone gel for stretch marks. HERE is a silicone gel that we found that has really good reviews and is reasonably priced.


Silicone sheets –  Similarly to silicone gel applications, silicone gel sheets were demonstrated to have a large and positive effect on pigmentation of hypertrophic burn scars. HERE are some gel sheets with really good reviews.


Light & Laser therapyevidence is in support of laser therapy although the evidence isn’t often of high quality. Light and laser therapies have shown improvements in the appearance of stretch marks, although it is uncertain which is best, and at what stage they should be used.


Microdermabrasion – there is evidence for the use of microdermabrasion, although more detailed and larger scale studies are needed to confirm the results.


Affiliate Programme Disclaimer:
Our blog authors will usually include links to relevant products they feel could be useful to the readers. While all products are chosen independently, we want you to know that Pain in the Bump may receive a percentage payment if you make a purchase at the retailer’s site within 24 hours of clicking on one of the links we provide. This does not affect the price you pay, we just get a small percentage of the purchase amount. This helps to keep our website up and running.

Please Note:
Although the posts on this site are written by fully qualified Physiotherapists, the advice is of a generalist nature and could not take into account the particular physical or medical condition of individual audience members. The information given is meant to be practical and informative but is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. The information available is not meant to replace any relationship that exists between an audience member and their GP, hospital specialist or other healthcare professional. If you are after individual advice or you are concerned about any of your symptoms you must consult your own therapist or healthcare provider.

About The Author

Abigail Taylor qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2005. She has a special interest in Women’s health Physiotherapy and research. Abigail is the founder of ‘Pain in the Bump’ which she developed whilst on her maternity leave with her second baby.