Skin is the body’s largest organ, like a length of silk covering and protecting treasures beneath it. Your skin breathes, and it can repair itself when torn. These repairs, or scars, may not be a problem if they are small or in unobtrusive spots. But if a scar is larger or cannot be easily hidden, there are several types of scar treatments you can consider, including topical treatments like Mederma scar cream.
Mederma scar cream formulas are readily available, and the affordable price makes this brand easy for consumers to buy. But does Mederma work?
What is Mederma?
Mederma is formulated with onion extract. A 2007 study determined that onion extract contained properties that reduce inflammation on the skin’s surface, making scars less noticeable. It also is said to shrink scars. Finally, as a scar forms, excess collagen fibers may form irregular patterns around the scar, causing a raised or hardened area, and onion extract works to naturally inhibit collagen production.
The manufacturer of Mederma claims that all formulas of this topical treatment are effective for both new and old scars, as well as for most types of scars. First, let’s look at the different Mederma formulas.
Mederma Scar Cream Formulas
Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream is designed to work at night, when skin regenerates faster. This formula contains a proprietary complex of antioxidants, peptides, and collagen that are said to promote healthier, better-looking skin. In effect, this formula claims to be skin care for scars.
Mederma Scar Cream Plus SPF 30 contains the same treatment ingredients as the other types, but it also includes a sunscreen, because sunlight is thought to darken the surface of scars, making them more noticeable.
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel is a formula that only has to be applied once daily, as opposed to twice daily with the other formulas.
Mederma for Kids is a gel that goes on the skin purple but dries clear and has a grape scent.
Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy contains ingredients like botanicals and hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin. Mederma markets this stretch mark cream as being able to both prevent stretch marks from forming and treat stretch marks that do form.
Now, let’s look at different types of scars.
Types of Scars
- Burn scars
- Stretch marks
- Acne scars
Keloids: These scars extend beyond the original injury. Over time, keloid scars can become problematic by impeding movement, depending on where they are located.
Burn scars: Burn scars, or contracture scars, tighten the skin and can impede movement. If burn scars are deeper, they also may affect muscles and nerves.
Stretch marks: These scars are caused by stretching of the skin. They are purple, red, or pink streaks that usually appear on the upper arms, abdomen, breasts, thighs, and buttocks. Over time they fade to white or grey. While they are most often associated with pregnancy, stretch marks also can occur due to substantial weight gain, such as seen in adolescents who have sudden growth spurts or weight lifters, medications that contain corticosteroids, and certain conditions or disorders.
Acne scars: Those who suffered from severe acne will probably have to deal with acne scars, which actually have several types. They can appear as deep pits on the skin, or they may be more angular or wavy.
While the makers of Mederma claim it is effective in treating most types of scars, other types of treatment may be needed, especially for deeper scars.
Common Treatments for Scars
Surgical scar treatment or removal for deep scars such as burn scars or severe acne scars include skin grafts, dermabrasion, excision, and laser scar removal.
Injections for upraised scars like keloids often contain steroids to smooth and soften the surface. An increasingly popular option for pitted scars, such as some types of acne scars, contains collagen or other filling compounds.
Topical scar cream contains various ingredients meant to shrink, smooth, and flatten scars and is best for surface scars from cuts and minor burns. These ingredients range from pure silicone to combinations of silicone, cortisone and vitamin E to onion extract, the key ingredient in Mederma scar creams.
With increasing numbers of people looking for more natural health and beauty solutions, onion extract is a popular choice for scar treatment. But Mederma is not the only option for natural ways to treat scars.
Alternatives to Mederma
Vitamin E increases collagen formation, which strengthens skin and promotes healing. Vitamin E oil can be placed directly on scars.
Honey promotes healing and also serves as an antibacterial, which reduces the risk of infection and inflammation around wounds. It can be placed directly on open wounds and actually lessens the degree of scarring that occurs.
Tea tree oil can be placed directly on scars to make them less visible.
Aloe vera can regenerate skin tissue. Place it directly on open wounds as well as scars.
Pros and Cons of Mederma
- Easy to buy, as it is readily available
- Affordable price
- Easy to use
- Topical creams and gel, probably the best treatment for surface scars
- More expensive than other natural remedies that you may already have
- Contains chemicals that may irritate sensitive skin
- Not the best treatment for all types of scars
While Mederma scar treatment formulas may, given time, make some types of scars less noticeable, no topical formula will actually remove a scar, no matter how small it is. For that matter, none of the other scar treatment methods will, either. The area around the broken skin will always bear some sort of mark.
The truth is that time alone does a great deal to lessen the appearance of most smaller scars, and for more noticeable facial scars or the most serious burn scars that could hamper movement if untreated, other treatments such as surgery or dermabrasion are needed.
Good general skin care and a healthy, balanced diet are ultimately the best ways to treat scars. If you want to try one of the Mederma scar cream formulas, it probably won’t hurt. But keep your expectations realistic. It may not help that much, either.