Most of the treatments have no basis in science, and no product on the market can repair the elastic skin fibre damaged in childbirth.
Professor Frank Wang, of Michigan University in the US, advised women not to believe the hype when they see creams and ointments promising to prevent or reduce pregnancy stretch marks.
He said: ‘Most of the existing products aren’t based on solid scientific research and very few to none of the items touted to prevent or fix stretch marks really work.’
Up to 90 per cent of mothers are left with stretch marks on their stomach, which are caused when deep layers of the skin are stretched or torn.
Professor Wang said: ‘It may make more sense to focus on preserving the elastic fibres you have rather than repairing damaged ones.
‘Regardless, it’s more complicated than just rubbing something on your stomach.’
The study has been published in the British Journal of Dermatology.