With the exception of glycerin, you have to wade through 27 ingredients in Trilastin-SR Stretch Mark Complex ($89) to get to anything that might remotely be said to be an active ingredient in the treatment of stretch marks. This alone is enough to reject this overpriced cream out of hand. But worse than that, the composition of those 27 ingredients are a cause for concern.

Stretch marks can appear on the breasts of new mothers, but for this Trilastin should most certainly not be considered as a solution. Trilastin contains two preservatives that the FDA has specifically warned breastfeeding mothers to avoid using: chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol as they “ can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea”. On the subject of preservatives, Trilastin also contains most of the parabens known to man. As these are estrogen mimicking, they – and Trilastin-SR – should also be avoided by pregnant women seeking preventative solutions for stretch marks.

But what of the actives – are there things in Trilastin-SR that could help prevent or treat stretch marks?  First up there is azelaic acid. This is typically used as antibacterial treatment for acne. It is likely include in Trilastin-SR because it also bleaches the skin. However, it is generally used at 20% concentrations to be effective and as the 28th ingredient on the list there probably isn’t enough here to have much of fading effect on stretch marks.

Isoflavones, which have chemical structure that is similar to estrogen, are here thanks to a plant called pueraria lobata, more commonly called kudzu. A native of Japan, this plant is now rampant in North America (if you see trees covered with some invasive vine, it may well be kudzu). So if nothing else, Arbonne is probably doing the Environmental Protection Agency a favor by finding a use for it.

Trilastin’s schtick is that stretch marks are the result of breakdown of collagen and elastin, so the most important ingredients here are probably the atelocollagen, hydrolyzed collagen and hydrolized elastin.

The main issue with the topical application of collagen is that the particles are generally too big to penetrate upper layer of skin (only molecules of weight 5000 daltons or less can penetrate the skin, and collagens have a molecular weight of 15,000-50,000). Nanotechnologists claim to have made some strides here, but we aren’t given any information about the collagen used in Trilastin-SR.

Hydrolized elastin is a protein of either bovine or plant extraction. It is typically described as an emollient, or something that provides a protective barrier for the skin. I haven’t found anything that confirms that hydrolyzed elastin helps produce elastin in the skin.

Trilastin requires a stretch of the imagination and it will certainly stretch your wallet. Whether it will efficiently fade stretch marks is another matter.

Ingredients in Trilastin-SR

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-3 Benzyl, Ether Myristate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric, Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Beeswax, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin Laureth-7, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl, Stearate Citrate, Sodium Dicocoylethylenediamine, Peg-15 Sulfate, Zea Mays (Corn) Kernel Extract, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Propylparaben, Azelaic Acid, Pueraria Lobata, Root Extract, Algin, Sodium Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Atelocollagen, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Polyglyceryl 3 Methylglucose Distearate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Ethylparaben, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Disodium Edta, Bht, Tocopheryl Acetate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Ubiquinone, Palmitic Acid, Thioctic Acid, Beta Carotene, Phytonadione, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract