One of the most common side effects on the skin from pregnancy is stretch marks.
Stretch marks are common skin scars that often have a significant physical and psychological impact.
While there are many topical prescription treatments available to treat stretch marks, none of them have been proven to completely remove them, and many of them contain ingredients that aren’t necessarily pregnancy safe.
There are also many commercially available stretch mark creams. Many of them have not been sufficiently studied, and do not have a high level of evidence that supports their continued use in the treatment and removal of stretch marks.
In this post, we're going to look at one of the most popular stretch mark creams, called Mustela. We'll look at what Mustela is, how it works, and we’ll also review clinical evidence to help you decide if Mustela is a good stretch mark treatment for you!
What Are Stretch Marks & How Do They Form?
Stretch marks are scars that appear on the skin, as a result of the stretching of the dermis. The dermis is composed of collagen, elastic tissue, and other cellular components that can tear when the skin expands. The role of the dermis is to protect and support the skin. When the connective tissues in the dermis are weak and tear due to skin expansion, scars called stretch marks pop up.
Stretch marks are most common in pregnancy or any time there is rapid weight gain. There are two main types of stretch marks: red stretch marks or striae rubrae, and white stretch marks or striae albae.
Red stretch marks are considered the acute phase of stretch marks. These stretch marks are characterized by red and stretched flat scars, that may appear slightly raised. They're often perpendicular to the natural direction of the skin tension. White stretch marks are classified as mature stretch marks that have faded and appear atrophic, wrinkled, and hypo-pigmented. This means they are lighter than the rest of the surrounding skin.
Red stretch marks almost always fade into less visible white stretch marks naturally, over time.
Do Creams Really Help Stretch Marks?
One of the most common methods for treating stretch marks is topical creams. Topical stretch mark creams aim to provide lasting improvements in the pigmentation and texture of both red and white stretch marks, on all skin types. However, according to studies, there's only a limited number of topical creams that have been clinically evaluated and these studies have failed to prove effective stretch mark treatment removal.
None-the-less, if the stretch mark cream increases hydration, decreases inflammation, and includes skin-lightening ingredients, it is possible to fade a red, or colored stretch mark quicker.
How Can I Remove My Stretch Marks?
While stretch marks are mostly genetic and about 90% of women will get them at some point during their pregnancy, the best way to remove stretch marks is to prevent them in the first place.
Topical stretch mark creams are excellent at helping to maintain smooth and hydrated skin. Hydration is essential for healthy skin that can maintain and repair itself from damage.
In order to improve the appearance and the symptoms of existing stretch marks, there are five key requirements that a topical treatment must meet. These factors will determine whether the stretch mark treatment will improve the stretch mark’s appearance and reduce key symptoms associated with the stretch mark (such as inflammation and itching).
1. Collagen production and fibroblastic cell activity must be increased.
2. Elasticity must and blood perfusion must be increased.
3. Cell proliferation must be improved.
4. Skin hydration must be increased.
5. Anti-inflammatory properties must be increased.
Is Mustela Stretch Marks Cream Safe During Pregnancy?
Mustela is a popular, pregnancy-safe, stretch mark prevention cream from France. It can help the skin feel comfortable, nourished, and moisturized while relieving tightness and discomfort associated with stretching skin.
Mustela is hypoallergenic and specifically formulated with natural ingredients to meet the skincare needs of both mothers and their baby. Additionally, it’s been tested under dermatological, gynecological, and pediatric control and it's safe for breastfeeding.
What Are The Main Ingredients In Mustela Stretch Marks Cream?
Mustela is vegan and contains 96% naturally derived ingredients. The main ingredients are avocado peptides, which are patented nutrients that help protect and strengthen delicate skin. Other active ingredients include Maracuja Polyphenols and Hamamelis plant extracts, which aim to improve skin suppleness and elasticity. Other ingredients include shea butter, which is great for lasting moisture and nourishment, as well as Galactoarabinan, a patented ingredient from the Larch tree, which works to promote collagen and skin elasticity.
This stretch mark cream is fragrance-free and does not contain toxic ingredients commonly found in stretch mark creams that are harmful to your baby, such as parabens, phthalates, or phenoxyethanols.
When Should I Start Using Mustela Stretch Marks Cream?
This is a great product to use in the first month of your pregnancy through postpartum to help skin appear noticeably smoother, restored, and refreshed. Use it twice a day, each morning and in the evening. It’s best to apply Mustela in thin layers, onto stretch mark prone areas like the abdomen, hips, thighs, and breasts.
Is Mustela Clinically Proven to Be An Effective Stretch Mark Treatment?
In a clinical test carried out on 22 women with naturally dry skin, 31% of women reported an increase in skin hydration, just four hours after application. Another clinical test performed under dermatological and gynecological control included 64 pregnant women who used Mustela for three months. Ninety-eight percent of those women agreed that the product reinforced their skin elasticity. In the group of women with dry skin, eighty-seven percent of women agreed that the product helped limit the appearance of their stretch marks. Eighty-one percent of them agreed that the product immediately decreased any sensations of discomfort.
What Are Others Saying About Mustela Stretch Marks Cream?
While every woman’s skin is different, as are her skincare practices and rituals, here’s a snapshot of what women who’ve used Mustela are saying about the product on Amazon!
“Worth the money.”
Great consistency. I recently discovered I'm allergic to cocoa butter which became really challenging to find a product that doesn't contain it. But this plant-based formula is great. It absorbs but feels hydrating for hours, putting it on twice a day (before work and before bed) and skin feels great. ~ LM
“Great lotion, doesn't help with stretch marks.”
No smell, which is exactly why I took forever to sift through so many lotions on Amazon. Also, super safe with no harmful toxic chemicals! Unfortunately, this lotion doesn't help with my stretch mark situation. Helped with itching and didn't bleed through onto clothing as vitamin E oil does. Great lotion but not effective for me. ~Anton
“Fantastic cream! No smell, no stickiness - super effective for taking care of pregnant skin.”
Adore this cream. I don’t like unnecessary fragrances, and this is truly fragrance-free. It also soaks into the skin instantly without leaving any sticky, sweaty, or creamy residue. I’m weeks away from my due date and have no stretch marks. Will likely keep using this cream as a moisturizer post-pregnancy.~Anon
“A bit pricey for what it is.”
Bought this as I am allergic to a lot of products on my skin. It's odorless and goes into the skin easily. It's a pleasant product but can't see how this would prevent stretch marks any more than any other body cream. Have bought a similar product (odorless body cream) for a third of the price which - although the other product doesn't claim to reduce stretch marks - is easier on the pocket! ~Hertfordshire Customer
“Don't believe it works.”
I don't think this product works. I've used it pretty much every day and I have a crazy amount of stretch marks still. In my third trimester now and I'm switching to a different cream. But at this point, I think the damage is already clearly done. ~Olivia
Try Enhanced Silicone Fusion™ Stretch Mark System With Mustela!
As mentioned earlier, a topical stretch mark treatment cream is only effective to soothe and moisturize the top layer of the skin. Since stretch marks form because of structural dermal changes, it’s imperative to treat them at the deeper skin layers of the dermis. When moisture is only applied to the top of the skin, and not retained in the deeper skin layers collagen production cannot be increased.
An increase in collagen production, as well as a strengthening of collagen and elastin fibers, helps the skin to heal and reduces the appearance of stretch marks.
A great product to use in combination with Mustela Stretch Marks Cream, or by itself, is the Enhanced Silicone Fusion™ Stretch Mark System from dermaclara.
These 100% medical-grade silicone patches have been used by surgeons to remove scars for over 30 years. Now, this breakthrough technology is used as an effective stretch mark prevention, treatment, and removal solution.
How Does the Enhanced Silicone Fusion™ Stretch Mark System Work?
When silicone is placed onto the skin, it creates a microclimate that locks in moisture. Moisture is drawn from deep within the lower skin layers, to the surface of the skin. This encourages, normalizes, and activates collagen and elastin production, as well as blood flow. It also decreases inflammation in new red stretch marks, helping them to fade quickly!
In clinical studies, after just 1 application the skin showed a reduction in the appearance of stretch marks, a marked increase in hydration, and photodamage repair.
For best results, remember to try and keep silicone patches on for an 8 hour period if possible, and choose 100% medical-grade silicone products from companies that are pregnancy-safe.
Dermaclara formulates their 100% medical-grade silicone patches specifically for pregnant mothers. This means they are developed to contour the skin, they have a larger surface area to cover an expanding pregnant belly, they are reusable, and have increased adhesive properties to ensure that they stay in place no matter what you’re doing or where you are!
The Final Say on Mustela Stretch Marks Cream
When a topical stretch mark cream like Mustela is combined with an effective treatment that addresses the deeper tissue damage in the dermis, it’s possible to prevent, treat and remove stretch marks.
If you’re simply looking to moisturize and soothe a pregnant belly Mustela can help increase skin hydration and reduce itching and discomfort. However, no clinical studies have proven that Mustela, or any topical stretch mark cream treatment is actually effective for the prevention or removal of stretch. marks.
While stretch marks are genetic, they can still be prevented in a variety of ways. By increasing fibroblast cell and collagen production, the skin has the proper framework that it needs to repair and heal itself after it’s been damaged. It’s important to improve nutrition and lifestyle to ensure that the collagen fibers are functioning optimally and that moisture is retained in the skin.
Ready to Learn More About What You Can Do To Prevent, Treat, & Remove Stretch Marks?
To read more about what you can do to prevent stretch marks, check out some of these top articles on our blog: How To Get Rid Of Red Stretch Marks For Good, Stretch Marks: Causes & Proven At-Home Treatments, and 3 Proven Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks!
If you’re interested in committing to a proven stretch mark prevention skincare regimen, check out our suite of pregnancy-safe skincare products.