Dermatologist-approved and available to purchase without a prescription.

By Brittany Gibson
August 24, 2020
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Stretch marks (you know, those long, narrow lines that develop when our skin stretches or shrinks) are beautiful. They emphasize just how incredible we are as humans for being able to endure change. Whether your marks are from gaining weight, losing weight, pregnancy, or another reason, they’re not anything you should feel ashamed of. With that being said, some people don’t like their marks being prominent, which is totally OK—and if that’s the case for you, you’re in the right place.

First, a disclaimer: Because a stretch mark is the result of the collagen and elastin under the skin cell layer rupturing, there isn’t really anything that can “undo” them once they’re there. Plus, clinical research studying how effective topical treatments are in eliminating or preventing stretch marks is minimal. The good news: That doesn’t mean there aren’t topicals that can help minimize its appearance. The best OTC cream products can help brighten the color of your marks and shrink them. We had the founders and board-certified dermatologists of Modern Dermatology in Westport, Conn., Rhonda Klein, MD, MPH, FAAD, and Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, weigh in with their insight on the best products for healing and disguising stretch marks—and what key active ingredients are at work to make it happen.

$34, amazon.com

A powerful topical that combines dimethicone, silicone, and hyaluronic acid, this dermatologist-backed stretch mark treatment is prescription-level strength available over-the-counter. Despite Mederma’s claim-to-fame being scar treatments, its stretch mark creams work just as well. This nourishing paraben-free cream formula promotes healing while also plumping the skin to instantly improve its appearance, says Dr. Robinson.

$79, ulta.com

This moisturizing concentrate does way more than combat stretch marks. In addition to fading their appearance in as little as 4 weeks, it’s also clinically proven to boost skin elasticity and visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles within 2 weeks. By targeting collagen synthesis with its hyaluronic acid and copper tripeptide formula, this concentrate works to instantly plump and fill in depressed scarring, says Dr. Klein. As an added bonus, it’ll leave your skin consistently moisturized for 72 hours.  

$79, dermstore.com

Applying this paraben- and fragrance-free body tightening concentrate twice a day will do wonders for your stretch marks. The concentrate provides an instant cooling effect and tightens, firms, and lifts sagging skin, thanks to its tripeptide and hydrolyzed rice protein (both of which help to improve skin tone and texture). It also includes vitamin E, which helps to deeply nourish and boost the suppleness of surrounding skin, says Dr. Robinson.  

 $29, amazon.com

Most retinoids require a prescription; fortunately, that’s not the case with Differin. This retinoid is the first-ever OTC treatment available for anyone to purchase. While Differin Gel is aimed at treating acne, dermatologists say this retinoid product also works exceptionally well on new stretch marks that are still in the red/purple stage. This particular treatment speeds up skin cell turnover, which stimulates collagen production. The result? Faded marks and filled depressions—sans a doctor visit and prescription, says Dr. Klein.

$38, amazon.com

Say goodbye to stretch marks, micro wrinkles, and fine lines with this hydrating skin booster. Packed with vitamin C and ultraglycans, ISDIN Flavo-C helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and boosts the skin’s natural moisture production, says Dr. Robinson. Pro tip: Vitamin C is super-effective in filling in depressed scarring and supporting collagen synthesis, which means your skin’s complexion will be looking brighter in no time.

$34, ulta.com

This moisturizing leg and body makeup is an overachiever—it can nourish your skin, protect it from sun damage, and camouflage dark marks all at the same time. According to Dr. Klein, this Dermablend cosmetic product instantly makes stretch marks look blended in and adds color to older white marks to visually even your skin’s tone and texture.

$195, alastin.com

The sticker shock is admittedly high with this one, but it’s with good reasoning. This body treatment is formulated to be used post-body-sculpting procedures, like skin tightening. Its TriHex Technology helps to speed up the process of the body’s natural production of elastin and collagen to remove broken-down fat cells, which addresses the appearance of skin texture and crepiness, says Dr. Robinson.