Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks comes with claims that it can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and for anyone who has them, such promises sound appealing! Unfortunately, it just can't treat or prevent stretch marks (more on that in a moment), though because it does have some great ingredients to soothe dry skin, it earns a good rating on Beautypedia.
Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks comes in an opaque plastic container with a pump-style dispenser. The lotion inside is rich, thanks to the number of emollients this contains. Complementing the cocoa butter that gives this product its name are mineral oil, palm oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and argan oil (just to name a few). This will definitely soothe dry, cracked skin, making it appear smoother and feel more comfortable.
So what about the claims that this can reduce the appearance of stretch marks? Simply put, it can't, though it can alleviate the skin tightness that comes with them. Stretch marks are the result of an internal process, not an external one, so there is little, if anything, that topical products can do to improve their appearance (see More Info for details on how stretch marks form and why skincare doesn't work on them).
Aside from the stretch marks claims, there's another reason this earns a good rating instead of our highest rank: The inclusion of fragrance ingredients. They're present in an "iffy" amount, and pose a risk of irritation, especially for those who have sensitive skin.
If you aren't relying on this to heal your stretch marks (or prevent them), Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks is a good dry skin moisturizer, and one we recommend for its rich blend of emollients and low price point(just make sure to keep your expectations realistic)!
Stretch Marks: Stretch marks occur when skin is abnormally stretched and expanded for a period of time. Typically, this occurs during pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, or during periods of rapid growth (think puberty). The abnormal stretching causes the skin's support structure of collagen and elastin to break down or rupture. The visible curled ends of stretch marks beneath the skin are actually bands of elastin that have broken—think of elastin as rubber bands beneath the skin that give it spring and its ability to snap back into place.
Essentially, stretch marks are scars that have formed from the inside out, rather than scarring that occurs when skin is externally wounded. Unfortunately, stretch marks are among the toughest skin-care concerns to treat because there are no cosmetic ingredients or products that can make much of a difference in their appearance.
Applying topical products such as plant oils or cocoa butter, or any skin-care product promising to prevent, reduce or eliminate stretch marks doesn't work, and there's no research showing otherwise. Massaging skin with rich emollients and creams may feel nice, but the purported benefits of such products only add up to myths and anecdotal accounts mixed with hope, because stretch marks are not caused by dry skin. The depth of stretch marks —far below the skin's surface—and the extreme strain, stress, and trauma needed to break down the skin's support structure, is damage beyond the reparative or preventative capability of any moisturizer or oil (British Journal of General Practice, 2013). We wish that wasn't the case, but it's what research has shown to be true.
Strengths: Inexpensive; cocoa butter is a good emollient and antioxidant for skin (and Palmer’s typically combines it with other tried-and-true emollients).
Weaknesses: Many formulas are highly fragranced; the products claiming to improve or prevent stretch marks are, well, stretching the truth; most of the body products lack a sophisticated mix of repairing and antioxidant ingredients compared to leading brands sold at the drugstore.
Created by the E.T. Browne Drug Company in New Jersey, Palmer’s is a familiar sight in drugstores across the country, primarily because of its Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick. The brand’s made a name for itself because of its wide variety of cocoa butter-based skincare products, but it’s expanded far beyond its original range to include more than a hundred products in its line!
Now offering products for numerous categories—from hair care to hair removal—the items The Beautypedia Research Team are asked about most often are those claiming to treat and repair stretch marks and scars (Palmer’s has no shortage of them). Unfortunately, there is little topical treatments can do to fix either of these skin concerns, which we detail in the More Info sections of the applicable individual product reviews.
As far as Palmer’s moisturizing formulas go, cocoa butter is a great foundation upon which to build them, as it has rich antioxidant properties in addition to being a great emollient. Palmer’s typically pairs it with other good emollients, which is always a plus—and all of the brand’s products are reasonable priced!
It’s worth noting though that over the course of our reviews, we saw that many of Palmer’s formulas relied almost entirely on cocoa butter for its benefits, omitting some of the additional beneficial ingredients (like more skin repairing and skin-identical ingredients, as well as other antioxidants) that many of its drugstore competitors do.
While some may prefer simpler skincare formulas depending on their skin concerns, for Palmer’s this results in many formulas being near carbon copies of one another, just with different claims. Another concern is that many of their formulas include potentially-irritating fragrances , along with the preservative methylthizolinone, which can be sensitizing to the point where it’s generally recommended only for use in rinse-off products.
Overall, while Palmer’s does have some good products to offer, with just a few additions (and some subtractions) those products could be great!
For more information about Palmer’s, call 877-725-6377 or visit www.palmers.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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