Stretch mark creams can contain unwanted chemicals
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Stretch mark creams for pregnant women can contain unwanted chemicals

Stretch mark creams and oils promises to help pregnant women get rid of stretch marks. However, some creams and oils contain suspected endocrine disrupters and should not be used during pregnancy.

Stine Müller · Foto: Getty Images · 6. maj 2022

The stomach is growing and perhaps also a fear of a belly full of stretch marks after birth?

If you are pregnant you can find different products promising to reduce stretch marks. But is it a good idea to use them? Do they contain unwanted chemicals for your skin and the fetus?

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals examined 13 stretch mark creams and oils – all marketed towards pregnant women either in the name or in the description.

Suspected endocrine disrupters found in 2 creams

2 out of 13 creams and oils for pregnant women contain suspected endocrine disrupters. One cream from Pharmaceris and an oil from Bio Oil.

All the substances are legal to use in cosmetics and care products. The cream from Pharmaceris contains an antioxidant – BHA – which has long been suspected of being an endocrine disrupter and is almost never found in comestics or care products on the Danish market.

We cannot recommend either products for pregnant women to use to lubricate the stomach.

It is a surprise to find suspected endocrine disrupters in some stretch mark creams and oils marketed towards pregnant women. The fetus is particularly vulnerable to exposure from endocrine disrupters. During this development stage controlled by natural hormones we cannot recommend lubricating pregnant stomachs daily in creams and oils that contain problematic chemicals contributing to the fetuses total exposure of unwanted chemicals. Stine Müller Project manager, The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

Half of the products are without unwanted chemicals

In the test, several products indicate a reduction of stretch marks if you lubricate your pregnant belly twice a day. However, you should be cautious. The more frequent you use creams and lotions, the higher the risk of exposing yourself to problematic chemicals.

Just under half of the creams and oils in the test also contain perfume, which can cause allergic reactions. If you want to reduce the chance of perfume allergy, you can choose products without perfume. This also applies to products with natural perfumes that can be equally allergenic.

Luckily, there a many good choices in the test. 6 out of 13 belly creams and oils recieve the best grade, the A-rating. These products are without problematic chemicals and perfume.

If you need a cream or an oil for the growing belly, these are the recommended products.

About the test

  • The Consumer Council THINK Chemicals have bought 13 stretch mark creams and oils in Danish stores and online.

    We have selected products that - in one way or another - are marketed at pregnant women. Most of them are marketed as suitable to remove or reduce stretch marks and several of the products indicate or recommend lubricating the pregnant stomach twice a day.

    The ingredients listed on the products are checked for chemicals that can be problematic. For example allergenic chemicals or suspected endocrine disrupters.

    We have not examined whether the use of these products actually remove or reduce stretch marks.

  • These are the ratings for 13 different stretch mark creams and oils:

    • 6 creams and oils get the best grade, the A-rating. These products are without unwanted chemicals. Most of these products are labeled with environmental or allergy friendly labels.
    • 5 creams and oils get a middle grade, the B-rating, because they contain plant extracts that can cause a risk of an allergic reaction.
    • 2 creams and oils get the lowest grade, the C-rating. These products contain suspected endocrine disrupters.

    C-rated products contain these chemicals:

    • BHA
    • Cyclopentasiloxane
    • Cyclohexasiloxane
    • Benzyl salicylate

    B-rated products contain these chemicals:

    • Perfume
    • EDTA connections that can be harmful to the environment.