A study from the American University of Beirut Medical Center in Lebanon found that applying cocoa butter lotion during pregnancy does not prevent stretch marks, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Stretch marks, or striae gravidarum, are a form of scarring on the skin. They result after the skin rapidly stretches in association with growth, such as weight gain during pregnancy that overcomes the dermis’ elasticity.

They usually occur on the abdomen, breasts, hips, thighs and buttocks.

Doctors and midwives have recommended women use cocoa butter lotion during pregnancy to avoid stretch marks, and some women even swear by it despite the lack of scientific evidence behind it.

In the study, Dr. A. H. Nassar examined stretch marks in 210 pregnant women, some of whom applied cocoa butter lotion to the areas of concern during their first trimester of pregnancy. Another group of women applied a placebo lotion to the same areas.

Eighty-three percent of the women completed the study, and 45 percent of the cocoa butter-treated women developed stretch marks compared with 49 percent of women given the placebo lotion, Nassar said.

Although the percentage is lower in the cocoa butter group, statistically, it is not significant, Nassar said.

"Our findings do not support the use of cocoa butter lotion for the prevention of striae gravidarum."

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