Background: Many women develop stretch marks (striae gravidarum) during pregnancy. A number of creams have been used to remove these stretch marks.
Objectives: The objective of this review was to assess the effects of topical treatments to prevent the development of stretch marks.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register. In addition, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CENTRAL/CCTR) was searched. Date of last search: April 1999.
Selection criteria: Randomised trials comparing active creams with placebo for the treatment of stretch marks in pregnant women.
Data collection and analysis: Trial quality was assessed and data were extracted independently by two reviewers.
Main results: One study involving 100 women was included. Compared to placebo, treatment with a cream containing Centella asiatica extract, alpha tocopherol and collagen-elastin hydrolysates was associated with less women developing stretch marks (odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.17 to 0.99).
Reviewer's conclusions: One particular cream appears to help prevent the development of stretch marks in pregnancy, but only for women who had previously suffered stretch marks in pregnancy. There is no evidence of benefit for general use.