Bio Oil is a highly marketed, popular product, said to help improve scars, uneven skin tones, aging and dehydrated skin, and stretch marks. But does it really work on stretch marks?

According to the advertisements:

Bio-Oil helps improve the appearance of all types of scars […] including stretch marks. Ideal for pregnant women, particularly in their second and third trimesters, Bio-Oil is the product most recommended by UK pharmacists to help reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and pregnancy stretch marks.

So are these marketing claims true? Well, I have tried Bio-Oil religiously on my stretch marks and it didn’t work for me while in online customer reviews it does seem to benefit some people. Also Cocoa butter, Baby oil, and Palmers Tummy Butter didn’t help me prevent my pregnancy marks.

As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone in person whose stretch marks were significantly reduced thanks to Bio Oil. I do admit that it helped reduce fine lines and wrinkles on my face. As it did for lots of other women:

Positive Bio Oil User Experiences:

  • “Makes my skin really supple and soft. Perfect for a dry skin.”
  • “Bio Oil smells really great”
  • “I noticed it reduces the appearance of fine lines and spots”
  • “Lightens my skin tone and blemishes”
  • “It helped fade my small facial scars”

After talking to my friends, asking other women, as well as reading loads of reviews I have come to the conclusion that this product may work for some people but mainly on smaller skin lesions such as minor scars and subtle skin discolorations and or uneven skin tone. Regarding stretch marks the opinions vary much more.

Mixed Opinions, Reviews, and Testimonials

Here are two typical, positive and negative, Bio Oil customer testimonials concerning striae treatment:

I used this on my stretch marks and really saw very little difference. We even took a picture before I started using it just to make sure. This was more of an experiment since I’m not really that self conscious about my stretch marks (they’re mostly covered up) so I’m not upset, but I was hoping for some more dramatic difference.

My niece from France recommended Bio Oil to me as it helped her striae. I loved the feel and the scent of it on my skin. I feel Bio Oil kept the marks down and also helped keep my skin supply during pregnancy.

It’s now 6 months since I gave birth to my daughter and I have been using Bio-Oil on my stretch marks daily. Noticed that my stretch marks look a lot better. I do have one on my side that I always seem to miss and I can see a difference between that one that has not received any Bio-Oil in the sense it is a lot redder than the others.

Bio Oil Dangerous? The Controversy Around Mineral Oil

Although very popular, there has been some controversy around Bio Oil. It is claimed to be a natural skin care product but critics state it could potentially be dangerous because it’s a mineral oil (liquid petroleum or Paraffinum Liquidum).

Clogs Pores?
Mineral oil is said to have numerous side effects, including worsening skin-related conditions such as acne and eczema. Various Bio oil ingredients are claimed to cause allergies and irritate eyes and skin. Surprisingly such complaints are not frequently mentioned in reviews. However, some dermatologists do not recommend using mineral oil because it clogs the pores, aggravating the skin. Many other experts state that cosmetic grade mineral oil is not comedogenic which means it does not cause zits or other breakouts. As was reported in a 2005 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. More in this article: Mineral Oil Won’t Give You Zits.

Causes Cancer?
According to some, petroleum, is a known carcinogen (directly involved in causing cancer). Antagonists of such ingredients suspect dangerous side effects to become clear years from now. They say that no matter how many times you refine it, mineral oil is still petroleum based and thus detrimental to our health. They think it may take years from now but eventually we will become aware of the health risks of petroleum based cosmetics.

Others state mineral oil to be nonreactive and biologically inert (incapable of reacting with anything in your skin). Bio Oil advocates report it to be a genuine miracle oil and frankly, speaking from experience, it does have some really nice, skin soothing properties.

Is there Proof Bio Oil is Bad for Your Health?

I did some research on this topic because there are more cosmetic products containing mineral oil. I wanted to know if it would be wise to avoid these but I can’t seem to get a clear view on it. My conclusion for now; as far as research shows Bio Oil is not proven to be harmful, does not dehydrate, does not cause cancer, and does not extract vitamins and minerals from the skin. Bio Oil (like all other cosmetic products) has to meet stringent purity requirements defined by the US FDA and international standards. But still, I’m not really reassured.

Bio Oil Alternatives for Stretch Marks Treatment

Because the efficacy of Bio Oil as a stretch marks treatment is unclear and disputed I became motivated to find a working alternative. There must be a product that actually works on stretch marks. Personally, I prefer to use natural cosmetics. For one reason because I think (actually I am convinced) that they are safer and healthier. But also because of skin permeability.

Wikipedia says:
“Human skin permeability is the ability of foreign substances to penetrate and diffuse through the skin. Skin naturally has a low permeability, thus protects the body from particles and foreign toxins by not allowing them to penetrate through the surface.”

Therefore, natural products are more easily absorbed which makes them better suitable to treat skin conditions such as stretch marks which are located in the deeper skin layers.

The Problem with Treating Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are difficult to treat and therefore most creams can not remove stretch marks completely. Up to 70 to 90 % of all pregnant women develop this condition. Apart from pregnant women also bodybuilders and adolescents who experience growth spurts are also likely to develop them. They are in fact damaged elastic fibers in the deeper layers of the skin. Or, more technically described, scars that consists mainly of fine, straight bundles of collagen arranged parallel to the surface. Most creams or oils don’t work because the elasticity of the skin depends on elastin proteins in your skin and they don’t have the ability to stimulate dermal elastin protein production.

What to Look For When Choosing a Stretch Marks Treatment Cream?

On the positive side, there are ways to get reduce stretch marks as well as to prevent them. A few things are important when determining which stretch mark product you should use:

  • Does the product contain effective ingredients? And if it does, how much of these ingredients are present? Some products only have very small amounts of an ingredient in order to put on the label the ingredient is present in the product.
  • A quality skin product has a delivery system such as liposomes, micro-sponges, or another type of carrier.
  • Take a look at customer reviews. Are they positive? What are the main complaints?
  • Is the company trustworthy? Does it have a good reputation, how is the customer service, can they be contacted easily?

Effective Ingredients are Key to a Quality Stretch Marks Product

The best ingredients to effectively treat striae stimulate and repair elastin and collagen, creating stronger, smoother and more elastic skin by speeding cell renewal and regeneration. These components are able to penetrate the outer layers of the skin because of its small molecular structure.

Humectants, Occlusives and Emollients

In order to find an effective stretch marks cream it is wise to take a look at the ingredients. Both quality and quantity matter. Suppliers often put very small amounts of certain ingredients in their products only for the sake of adding the ingredient on the label.

Stretch marks creams that really work have to consist of so called humectants, occlusives and emollients. This is rather technical but to put it simplified;

  • humectants draw water from the top skin layers and from outside the skin into the deeper dermal layers. One of the most effective humectants is glycerin.
  • Occlusives are also important. These are ingredients that slow the evaporation of water from the skin. Dimethicone is such a occlusive.
  • And emollients make quality ingredients. They help maintain the soft, smooth, and pliable appearance of the skin. A good emollient is squalene oil.

The Best Stretch Marks Creams 

During my search for information on Bio Oil, mineral oil, side effects, and other creams I stumbled upon one product I thought worthy of giving a shot. According to many reviews and customer testimonials Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention Cream actually works on striae. My examination of its list of ingredients is in line with this.

Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention Cream consists of a unique formula of natural ingredients. This cream is officially called a prevention product but it is advertised to work on existing striae too. And I can confirm because in my experience it did:

After having tried Revitol myself I noticed it did reduce the visibility and texture of my stretch marks. I also learned that the more superficial the striae, the more improvement can be made. Some of my less prominent striae has disappeared almost completely. I’m still treating my other, more harsh stretch marks.

Revitol’s ingredients:

Among this cream’s ingredients are the aforementioned dimethicone, squalene oil, and glycerine. (the humectants, occlusives and emollients that are essential).

Squalene oil enhances dermal resilience. Other ingredients are grape seed extract and vitamin E, A, and D3 which are known to fortify the collagen and elastin in the lower skin layer (epidermis). Grape seed extract contains antioxidants shown to be essential agents in preventing stria. Vitamin D3 can only be produced by the human body under the influence of sunlight. It plays a major role in reconstruction processes of the deeper dermal layers. Since excessive exposure to sun radiation is undesirable alternative sources are useful alternatives. Remember, it’s all about the ingredients, that’s why I was stimulated to try this product.

How Does This Revitol Cream Work?

It works by stimulating skin-cell replacement and enhancing the capacity for collagen development in the skin. The unique blend of various active, natural ingredients in Revitol stretch mark cream penetrate the skin, working its way down to the deeper layers. Because it penetrates the skin into its deeper layers it is able to stimulate its suppleness and elasticity from within. Thus, the epidermis is more resistant to the stretching of the skin thereby decreasing the chance on stretch marks.

By applying Revitol daily collagen production is increased and the skin becomes more pliable and elastic. More info about the ingredients and instructions for use can be found on the Revitol website.

Only a few of the many positive Revitol reviews:

“After about 5 weeks of applying Barmon stretch marks cream without any results, I switched to Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention. You can imagine how suprised I was to see it started working after only a few days! You’re supposed to see results in about 2 weeks, and it’s only been a little over 1, but my stretch marks have already faded I that much, I can barely see them anymore!”

“A friend told me about how Revitol helped fade her stretch marks. She was right! Not only that, but it’s only the third week I’m using this cream and I can already see my stretch marks becoming thinner. I am hoping they will be gone completely within a few weeks because my wedding is coming soon. 😀 “

You can buy Revitol Stretch Mark Prevention cream on the Revitol website. It is safe, natural, and proven and the company is offering a 90 day money back guarantee on the product.