Elastin? Collagen? Retinol? The Terms Around Stretch Mark Creams

When looking for stretch mark creams a lot of terms and ingredients are mentioned but what are they for? Do they promise to help with moisture? Hide my stretch marks? Are they merely used for preventative measures? Is it something my body stopped producing? Rather than leaving you to research everything individually, here we’ve compiled a list of the most popular ingredients and what you want to know about them. 


Now, this is probably the most important term in the stretch mark atmosphere. Collagen is a protein made by your body and helps it to build your skin, hair, and more. Think saggy skin or wrinkles, these form due to a lack of collagen in your skin as the body produces less and less of it as we age. When looking into a firming lotion or anti-aging product many of them contain collagen to help replenish your skin. Another popular use of collage is for healing and this is where stretch marks and scars come into play as collagen assists in helping your skin rebuild itself and ultimately heal faster.  


Another protein found within the dermal or upper layer of your skin, elastin assists in your skin’s ability to stretch or, in other terms, its elasticity. Stretch marks appear when your skin cannot stretch as fast as your body requires it to and it is for this reason elastin is so sought after in the world of stretch mark products. Unfortunately, your body stops producing elastin after puberty which is why other chemicals are used to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin. Other products such as collagen or hyaluronic acid help combat the depreciation of elastin allowing your skin to look smoother, firmer, and more youthful. 

Hyaluronic Acid 

Working in tandem with collagen, Hyaluronic acid is found in the tissues of your skin and helps bind water to collagen, increasing the skin’s moisture content. Utilizing hyaluronic acid, your skin will be more hydrated and protected resulting in smoother more supple skin helping combat fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Due to its incredible abilities to combat dry, damaged skin – hyaluronic acid can significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks and is a great preventative measure as well. 


A vitamin derivative of Vitamin-A, retinol is used to helps skin cells by reducing the breakdown of collagen and assisting cells in their replication process. This results in younger, more firm looking skin while also assisting the skin with its ability to repair itself by encouraging the old upper cells to die off making way for the new, healthier skin cells underneath. Retinol, however, can be dangerous for babies making it a product to stay away from when pregnant and even while you are breastfeeding as the vitamin can be passed on through a mothers’ milk. Helps to deter the formation of stretch marks, retinol is commonly found in products that help to limit the formation of stretch marks as well as help to diminish the appearance of existing stretch marks. Popular in anti-aging, wrinkle, and fine line creams, this promising ingredient should be used in moderation as too much can lead to irritation along with peeling or itchy, sensitive skin.  

Coconut Oil

Raved about in the beauty industry for its multiple uses, coconut oil consists of fatty acids that lock in moisture and can even protect the skin from harmful UV rays and radicals. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and even antifungal properties adding to the many benefits coconut oil possesses. When it comes to stretch marks and wrinkles, coconut oil helps by providing the skin what it needs to plump up – making you look younger and skin firmer. One thing to keep is that even though coconut oil can help with certain skin conditions like eczema, it can have negative effects on those with bad acne or oily skin as the highly fatty substance does clog pores leading to an increase in blackheads.    

Argan Oil

Filled with Vitamin E and antioxidants, argan oil is used in the beauty industry to help combat dry, itchy skin while helping to reduce the amount of sebum present. A naturally-occurring waxy substance, sebum is found on the skin with the highest quantities found on your face and scalp.  Argan oil is an anti-sebum meaning it helps to reduce the sebum content of the skin which helps the skin stay moisturized by locking in hydration as well as combatting acne. Its moisture locking abilities make argan oil a key ingredient in a lot of stretch mark creams and lotions.  Argan oil is able to penetrate the lower levels of the skin helping the skin to become more elastic to help with existing stretch marks while helpnig in deterring the formation of new markings. 


A non-natural chemical found in a variety of beauty products, parabens, simply put are preservatives. Just like we try to avoid consuming them in our foods, it is important to look for beauty products that are paraben-free as well. Parabens can affect hormone levels for both men and women as well as negatively affect reproductive development.  Last but not least, parabens are known for causing skin irritation so it is best to stay away from parabens for many reasons – especially when it is found in your skincare products.

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A chemical used in many cleaning products found throughout your home sulfate is known for its ability to get rid of dirt and oil. Sulfates create that foamy texture that occurs when you apply shampoo to your hair, wash your hands with soap or when you turn the washing machine on with detergent. When it comes to skin, sulfates are known for drying out the skin, causing irritation and when applied to the face can clog pores or cause acne breakouts. If you notice sulfates in more products than you expected do not worry, just make sure they are products that you wash off like toothpaste or face wash.  In terms of creams and lotions that you rub into the skin and absorbs it is best to stay far away and look for sulfate-free formulas for your beauty regimen. 

Throughout life, we are always looking for newer, better products to help with the swings growing old throws at us. Whether you are looking for a stretch mark cream as you go through puberty or are searching for a product to help after pregnancy it is important to understand the ingredients. With so much information out there it can be difficult to navigate. But now you are ready! You know what to look for and what to avoid making the search for the product right for you, a piece of cake.