Bio Oil Review: Can It Reduce Stretch Marks?

Bio Oil Review: Can It Reduce Stretch Marks?

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Bio Oil is a cosmetic brand that makes “specialist skincare products.” The company’s products are used for stretch mark reduction, and they refer to Bio Oil as the “world's leading scar and stretch mark product.”

But does Bio Oil contain research-backed ingredients for stretch mark reduction? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? How do real users rate and describe the effects of Bio Oil? And which retailer sells this brand for the best price?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Bio Oil, Bio Oil Natural, and Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel based on clinical studies, to give our take on whether or not these products are likely to be effective for reducing stretch marks.

We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews including before-and-after images, discuss whether Bio Oil can be used on the face, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Bio Oil for the best price.

Bio Oil Skincare Oil Review

Bio Oil ingredients

The ingredients in Bio Oil Skincare Oil, which is the brand's original and most popular formulation, are shown above.

This product has been shown in a clinical trial published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science to reduce scar appearance by 20%.

61% of trial participants using Bio Oil claim that their skin appearance improved.

Sunflower seed oil has been shown in medical research to enhance skin barrier function, and to support optimal skin microbiota (the bacterial colonies that exist on the skin).

Tocopheryl acetate is a form of vitamin E that’s been shown in animal studies to be photoprotective, which means it can reduce skin damage from UV ray exposure.

Lavender oil was found to reduce psoriasis scars by nearly 75% in an animal study. The researchers noted that it has a strong anti-inflammatory effect.

Rosemary leaf oil was documented in a medical review to have a photoprotective effect and also to have anti-acne effect.

Unfortunately, while Bio Oil has many effective ingredients, it also has two additive ingredients that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective.

Fragrance is a broad categorical descriptor that fails to identify the specific chemical compounds used, and some fragrance chemicals are toxic as we documented in our article on is Chapstick bad for you.

Red 17 is a synthetic dye, and there are documented toxicity concerns with artificial dyes in cosmetics.

Overall, we consider Bio Oil Skincare Oil likely to be effective for reducing stretch marks and scars, because it's been proven so in a legitimate clinical trial and has many research-backed active ingredients.

We don't currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of fragrance and artificial dye.

Real People Try Bio Oil

A YouTube creator named Meli Rodriguez has a Bio Oil review that includes before-and-after images from six months of continual use:

A YouTube creator named "Jayantonette" used Bio Oil across her entire body for seven days and includes before-and-after images:

Is Bio Oil Natural Healthier?

Bio Oil Natural ingredients

The ingredients in Bio Oil Natural are shown above. The brand claims this product was developed for pregnant women.

Sunflower seed oillavender oil and rosemary leaf oil are all effective ingredients for skin health and stretch mark reduction, as we documented in the previous Ingredient Analysis section.

Safflower seed oil (listed as Carthamus tinctorius seed oil) is unique to this formulation, and was shown in a 2020 clinical trial to have “skin restructuring” and “regenerating” compounds.

The most important difference between the two oils is that Bio Oil Natural contains no fragrance, no artificial dyes, and no potentially sensitizing or allergenic ingredients.

Overall, we consider Bio Oil Natural likely to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and to improve skin quality generally, and we consider this formulation to be significantly superior to Bio Oil Skincare Oil.

We recommend this product from a formulation perspective.

Dermatologist Reviews Bio Oil

A board-certified dermatologist with a Youtube channel called "Dr Dray" has a Bio Oil review that discusses everything from the claims made by the company to the scent to the ingredients:

Can I Use Bio Oil On My Face?

Bio Oil's website suggests that the products can be used on the face.

However, the original Bio Oil contains “known allergens” according to Bio Oil’s own founders in an Allure interview.

The fragrance and dye may be sensitizing or irritating to facial skin, which is thinner in many places than skin on the body.

We would recommend against using Bio Oil Skincare Oil and Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel on the face. 

We think that Bio Oil Natural is the best option from the Bio Oil skincare line to use on the face, due to its clean formulation.

Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel Review

Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel ingredients

The ingredients in Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel are shown above.

Sunflower oil, soybean oil, vitamin E, lavender oil and chamomile oil are also included in Bio Oil Skincare Oil.

Sodium hyaluronate is unique to this formluation, and is one of the most effective ingredients for reducing signs of skin aging.

It's the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, and has a lower molecular weight, so it may penetrate deeper into skin according to a clinical trial published in the Skin Research & Technology journal.

Hyaluronic acid has been described in a medical study as a “skin rejuvenating biomedicine” which improved “skin tightness and elasticity…wrinkle scars, longevity” and more.

Niacinamide is another effective and well-studied skincare ingredient that's included in the gel but not in the oil.

As we discussed in our Crépe Erase reviews article, niacinamide provides photoprotection and improves skin structure. It can also lighten dark spots caused by skin damage.

Fragrance and Red 33 (an artificial dye) are included in Dry Skin Gel. 

We consider Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel likely to improve skin hydration, resolve dry skin and improve skin quality due to the science-backed ingredients it contains.

However, we don't recommend the product overall due to the fragrance and artificial dye.

Our Clean Body Oil Pick

BODYGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top body oil pick.

This product is formulated using argan oil, which is clinically shown to have an anti-aging effect on skin. 

Green tea was shown to have a “prolonged moisturizing effect” and may have a tightening effect on skin, according to a clinical trial published in the Dermatologic Therapy journal.

This product is fragrance-free and dye-free, and is naturally fragranced with essential oils like sandalwood oil and rose oil.

Where to Get the Best Price

Bio Oil is available at some of the largest online retailers in the US.

Here are the prices for a one-time purchase at the time of updating this article:

Bio Oil (6.7 ounces)

Ulta: $34.99 (plus shipping, link)

Target: $29.99 (plus shipping, link)

Walmart: $29.97 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $29.97 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Bio Oil Natural (6.7 ounces)

Amazon: $34.85 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Bio Oil is currently around 15% cheaper at Amazon than at the second-cheapest retailer.

Amazon is the only official retailer we can find for the Natural version that we recommend.

At the time of updating this article, Bio Oil is not available for sale on the brand's website.

Real Customers Review Bio Oil

Amazon is a better resource for unbiased customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Bio Oil has been reviewed over 90,000 times on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars at the time of updating this article.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from an anonymous "Amazon Customer" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims it improved their skin quality:

“I use it as a twice a day, morning and before i go to bed. Small lines have disappeared. My skin is very smooth and seems to glow.”

The top negative review of Bio Oil from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "majinpoh s." who gives the product a 1/5 star rating, and claims it caused side effects:

"This product has cause me Lot of rashes all over my face chest and my body . At a point I thought I was having monkey pox but no is as a result of this oil . I also have a rashly face for the first time in my life . My mom is also using it and her entire body is a mess . I did know it was the oil till I stop using it plus the body cream I was using at that time. So my mum ask for this oil and I gave to her after about week she was all cover in rash and red patches all over her body. Please stop sell this product and report it to the manufacturer"

Pros and Cons of Bio Oil

Here are the pros and cons of Bio Oil in our opinion:


  • Clinically shown to be effective
  • All products contain research-backed active ingredients
  • Been on the market for decades
  • Relatively affordable
  • Great branding/packaging
  • Highly positive Amazon customer reviews
  • May be used on face
  • Natural formulation is one of the best body oils we've reviewed


  • Original formulation contains fragrance
  • Original formulation contains synthetic dye

Bio Oil FAQs

Does Bio Oil work?

Bio Oil is proven to work in clinical studies.

Our ingredient review also determined that all products sold by Bio Oil are likely to be effective for stretch mark reduction, because they contain ingredients shown to be effective for that outcome in clinical studies.

This does not mean it will work for everyone; no product does.

Does Bio Oil help with acne scars?

We believe that Bio Oil is likely to help with acne scars, because both lavender oil and safflower seed oil have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-scar effects in clinical trials.

However, Bio Oil isn’t proven in clinical trials to be specifically effective for acne scars the way it’s proven to be effective for stretch marks and general scarring.

Is Bio Oil Safe for pregnancy?

Bio Oil Natural seems to be a better choice for pregnant women than the original Skincare Oil formulation.

Not only was Bio Oil Natural specifically formulated for pregnant women, but it's free of questionable additive ingredients like fragrance.

We recommend that pregnant women speak with their doctor or dermatologist before using any new skincare product.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Bio Oil is one of the most impressive body oil brands that we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.

This product line is shown to be effective for reducing the appearance of scarring in a legitimate clinical trial published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, which is the gold standard of product research.

We consider Bio Oil Natural to be the brand's best formulation by far, because it contains many research-backed active ingredients, and no inactive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy.

Bio Oil Skincare Oil and Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel both contain questionable inactive ingredients like fragrance and synthetic dye.

At the time of updating this article, Amazon has the best price on Bio Oil products by a significant margin when factoring in shipping fees.

Bio Oil appears to be safe to use on the face, but the clinical trial focused on its use on the body, so it may be a better choice to use Bio Oil on the body and use products specifically formulated for facial skin on the face.