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Does Bio-Oil work on stretch marks?

Does Bio-Oil work on stretch marks?

Bio-Oil claims to be somewhat of a miracle product, supposedly working on everything from acne scars to wrinkles - but what about stretch marks? The beauty industry is saturated with products claiming to get rid of them, but is Bio-Oil the answer? Let's investigate…

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Does Bio-Oil work on stretch marks?

According to some studies, Bio-Oil can be effective in helping to improve the appearance of stretch marks. It is said to take three months before you start noticing a difference, but some people report visible results after four weeks of consistent use.

Bio-Oil's own healthcare professionals claim that the product "helps reduce the possibility of stretch marks forming during pregnancy, teenage growth spurts and periods of rapid weight gain, and helps improve the appearance of existing stretch marks."

Bio-Oil is also said to aid with the appearance of acne scars, uneven skin tone, signs of ageing, and dehydrated skin.

One study monitored 20 female participants aged between 18-55, all with stretch marks on their abdomen. Each person applied Bio-Oil twice a day for 12 weeks, with assessments conducted at regular intervals. Results showed that 50% of subjects recorded an improvement in the appearance of their stretch marks at the eight-week mark - of course, this means 50% did not.1

Another study involved 38 female participants of varying ethnicities and aged between 18-65, with stretch marks in various places on their bodies, including the abdomen, thigh and hips. After two weeks, 95% of subjects noticed a "significant result."1

However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different and just because Bio-Oil has been beneficial for one person, does not guarantee it will work in the same way for you. This is reflected in the varying results from Bio-Oil studies.

For example, following a 2018 study of 80 people with scars and stretch marks, 17% indicated that the oil had no benefit for them.2

How often should you apply Bio-Oil?

Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, recommends applying Bio-Oil twice daily for three months, remaining persistent and patient, rather than expecting results overnight.

To apply, massage the oil into the affected area in circular motions. Just a small amount is needed to ensure it is absorbed into the skin.

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What causes stretch marks?

"Stretch marks are a result of our skin stretching or shrinking. The sudden change to the skin causes the collagen and elastin to rupture, leaving stretch marks as the skin heals. They appear as red or purple tones when they first appear, fading to white over time," explains Dr Borysiewicz.

The severity of stretch marks is affected by several factors, such as genetics and the degree of stress on the skin, as well as elasticity. The level of cortisol in your body might also play a part - this is a steroid hormone that mainly helps to regulate your body's response to stress.

Can you prevent stretch marks?

You can't prevent stretch marks 100% of the time, especially during pregnancy. Your body is growing a human and is inevitably going to stretch - that is normal. In fact, stretch marks affect around eight out of 10 people during pregnancy.

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Does Bio-Oil prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?

Dr Borysiewicz says to consider using Bio-Oil as a preventative treatment during pregnancy or at times of rapid growth, such as puberty, weight training, or skin shrinking as a result of weight loss. She adds that the earlier you start using Bio-Oil, the more likely you are to see results. But there is limited evidence to suggest that stretch marks can be prevented with products.

It's also important to remember that not all of the creams and oils marketing themselves as stretch mark relievers are clinically proven to be effective. While you can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, so they aren’t as dark, they’re also there for life once you have them, just as a scar is.

Advice for people struggling with stretch marks

It's very easy for us to tell you that stretch marks are normal, but the reality is that society doesn't always speak so kindly about bodies with stretch marks. Therefore, countless people struggle with their body image and self-esteem following the development of stretch marks.

"Something to remember is that your stretch marks tell the story of your life, whether that is becoming an adult or growing a baby. They are nothing to be embarrassed by and are perfectly natural. Stretch marks are not dangerous and you'd be surprised at how common they are at all stages in life," assures Dr Borysiewicz.

If you are battling with low mood or anxiety around your appearance due to your stretch marks, you should try to talk about how you're feeling with a friend or loved one.

Can Bio-Oil have other skin benefits?

As well as claiming to aid with the appearance of stretch marks, Bio-Oil also has potential to reduce the appearance of scars – whether surgical, acne, chickenpox, scratches, or bites.

Bio-Oil can help to plump the skin and reduce fine lines, while also providing hydration thanks to its plant-based oils.

Something to remember is that you shouldn’t use Bio-Oil on broken or wounded skin, or around active acne. While Bio-Oil is generally considered safe, if you have especially sensitive skin, you should double check the ingredients before use.

Further reading:

  1. Bio-Oil clinical studies.

  2. Study on oil and stretch marks.

Article history

The information on this page is peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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