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Bio Oil Review: Can It Reduce Stretch Marks?

Bio Oil Review: Can It Reduce Stretch Marks?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Bio Oil is a cosmetics brand that makes “specialist skincare products.” The company’s specialty is stretch mark reduction, and they refer to themselves as the “world leader in scar and stretch mark product.”

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Bio Oil’s most popular products based on published medical research to determine if we believe they’ll be effective for improving skin quality and reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

Bio Oil Skincare Oil Review

Bio Oil Skincare Oil ingredients

Bio Oil’s most popular product is their skincare oil. It’s been proven in a clinical trial to reduce scar appearance by 20%, so we can conclude it’s likely to be effective.

One of the first-listed active botanical ingredients in this formulation is sunflower seed oil, which has been shown in medical research to enhance skin barrier function. 

In the linked study, sunflower seed oil was shown to improve the microbiota of the skin, which means the bacterial colonies on our skin. Researchers used to believe microbiota were only important in the gut, but now we’re beginning to learn how important they are to healthy skin function.

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. This makes it another effective ingredient inclusion for skin lotion.

Lavender oil was found to reduce psoriasis scars by nearly 75% in an animal study. The researchers noted that it was generally effective against inflammation.

Another effective botanical in Bio Oil is rosemary leaf oil, which was documented in a medical review titled “Plants used to treat skin diseases” to have a photoprotective effect and also to have anti-acne effect.

Clearly there are a multitude of effective botanical compounds in this product which benefit skin, and the individual ingredient review matters less when there is research of a product in a legitimate medical journal proving its efficacy.

Unfortunately, while Bio Oil has many effective ingredients, it also has several ingredients we recommend avoiding for health reasons. The first is fragrance, which is a broad category descriptor that can encompass a wide variety of chemical compounds, some of which may be unsafe.

A medical review of fragranced consumer products published in the Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health journal concluded the following: “Results of this study provide compelling evidence that everyday fragranced products can impose serious risks to human health, environmental quality, businesses, and society.”

We recommend avoiding products with fragrance entirely, and thankfully more products every year are fragrance-free, as consumers become more educated about this topic.

Bio Oil also contains artificial dye Red 17. We don’t understand why an oil used to treat stretch marks would need to have an artificial colorant. There are documented toxicity concerns with artificial dyes in cosmetics, and we recommend avoiding them.

We cannot recommend Bio Oil due to the inclusion of fragrance and artificial dye, even though it’s likely to be effective.

Bio Oil Natural Review

Bio Oil Natural ingredients

Bio Oil also sells a “Natural” version of their popular oil, which they claim they developed for pregnant women. 

This product has a much superior formulation to the original Bio Oil in our opinion. Not only does it contain many of the effective ingredients from the original formulation like sunflower seed oil and lavender oil, it also contains safflower seed oil (Carthamus tinctorius seed oil) which was proven in a recent clinical trial to have natural anti-bacterial and antifungal effect. The study authors also noted that safflower seed oil contained various “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.

It’s made entirely of safe and effective plant compounds along with Vitamin E.

We would recommend this product, not only for pregnant women but for any consumer looking for a hydrating body oil that can reduce scarring. It’s the only cosmetic oil we’ve recommended based on its formulation to date.

Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel Review

Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel ingredients

Bio Oil’s Dry Skin Gel has a somewhat similar formulation to its original product. Like Bio Oil Skincare Oil, the gel contains sunflower oil, soybean oil, Vitamin E, lavender oil and chamomile oil.

It also contains sodium hyaluronate, which is one of the most effective ingredients for reducing signs of skin aging. 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.

Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, and it has a lower molecular weight which allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin to provide hydration and functional benefit.

Niacinamide is another effective and well-studied skincare ingredient in the gel but not the oil. As we discussed in our Crépe Erase reviews article of another skincare product containing this ingredient, niacinamide provides both photoprotection and improves skin structure. It can also lighten dark spots caused by skin damage.

Unfortunately, like the original Bio Oil this product contains both fragrance and artificial dye. The dye used in this case is Red 33

Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel is well-formulated for efficacy, and we would argue even better-formulated than Bio Oil Skincare Oil. It contains not only botanical compounds proven to improve skin quality, but also novel ingredients like sodium hyaluronate.

However, we can’t recommend this product due to the fragrance and artificial dye ingredients.

Can I Use Bio Oil On My Face?

Bio Oil’s website doesn’t provide any instructions on whether any of their products can or should be used on the face, nor do the Warnings on their ingredients label.

This suggests that Bio Oil deems facial use of their products acceptable.

We would recommend against using Bio Oil Skincare Oil and Bio Oil Dry Skin gel on the face. The original Bio Oil contains “known allergens” according to Bio Oil’s own founders in an Allure interview. The fragrance and dye in the dry skin gel may be sensitizing or irritating to facial skin, which is thinner in many places than skin on the body.

If you plan to use Bio Oil on your face, we’d recommend using Bio Oil Natural, and we don’t see any ingredients in that product likely to cause irritation to facial skin.

Bio Oil Stretch Marks Before and After

Since the core value proposition of Bio Oil involves stretch mark reduction, consumers are often curious about before-and-after pictures of real users of Bio Oil. 

One of the most popular YouTube videos on Bio Oil is from a creator named Meli Rodriguez who shared before-and-after images of her stretch marks after 6 months of continuous use after her pregnancy:

Bio Oil Pros and Cons

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of Bio Oil as a brand in our opinion:


  • “Natural” product is safe and effective
  • Backed by legitimate clinical research
  • Been on the market for decades
  • Relatively affordable
  • Great branding


  • Most products contain fragrance
  • Most products contain artificial dye
  • Bio Oil doesn’t make it easy to access research

Bio Oil User Reviews

Real users seem to think highly of Bio Oil. 

Bio Oil Skincare Oil is the best-selling product on Amazon in the “body oil” category. The brand receives a B grade on FakeSpot, which suggests that they haven’t purchased or manipulated their reviews, which is a good sign. FakeSpot uses an algorithm to detect likely fake Amazon reviews.

Of the 120,900 total reviews of Bio Oil Skincare Oil on Amazon, 93,700 are 5-star reviews.

The most popular positive review of this product comes from a verified purchaser named who claims that Bio Oil reduced lines on their skin: “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 most popular negative review states that the product listing is a scam: “COPYCAT. NOT BIO-OIL. Please be cautious, I purchase and wondered what smelt weird, it was the oil.”

We find it highly unlikely that the negative review is accurate, because the product is sold on Bio Oil’s official Amazon Store, which requires proof of trademark registration. If a brand has a Store on Amazon, it’s likely the legitimate brand (we know because we have a Store on Amazon too and went through the process).

Bio Oil FAQs

Does Bio Oil work?

Bio Oil is proven to work based on legitimate medical research. Our ingredient review also determined that all products sold by Bio Oil are likely to be effective on average, because they contain ingredients proven effective in medical 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 medical research to be specifically effective for acne scars the way it’s proven to be specifically effective for stretch marks and general scarring.

Is Bio Oil Safe for pregnancy?

We would only recommend Bio Oil Natural to pregnant women. Not only was the product specifically formulated for pregnant women, but it contains no potentially harmful ingredients.

We recommend that pregnant women speak with their doctor before using any new product, to minimize risk of allergic reaction.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Bio Oil makes well-formulated products and is a brand that takes science seriously. We commend them for funding clinical research proving the efficacy of their products for scarring and stretch marks.

We don’t recommend Bio Oil Skincare Oil or Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel due to the inclusion of fragrance and dye compounds, but we do recommend Bio Oil Natural because it contains many effective botanical ingredients for improving skin quality and no questionable additive ingredients.

Bio Oil Natural seems to be a great non-toxic choice for pregnant women seeking to minimize the appearance of stretch marks.

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